it is known that yoga has been practiced for thousands
of years, there is no one individual who can claim
the credit. The practice of yoga has evolved dramatically
through the centuries, with greater changes in recent
years as it has gained popularity. Nowadays one is
likely to practice a type of yoga attributed to one
of a dozen men. These contemporary yogis, while accomplished
in their own rights, should not be mistaken as "founders"
of yoga. Rather, Indian tradition points to the sage
Patanjali who probably lived some time between 400-220
name would certainly befit a founder of yoga. It is
said that, desiring to teach yoga to the world, Patanjali
fell (pat) from heaven into the open palms (anjali)
of a woman. He is said to be the author of the Yoga
Sutras, as well as a commentary on Panini's Sanskrit
grammar, both works that are considered authoritative
on yoga even today. Many ayurvedic texts are also
attributed to him. However, nothing else is known
about the life of Patanjali. While various ancient
texts refer to Patanjali, he is usually portrayed
as half-human, half-serpent. There are texts dating
several thousand years earlier that even refer to
Patanjali as an incarnation of the serpent god, Ananta.
For these reasons, many scholars believe Patanjali
is entirely a mythical figure. (Wikipedia)
the practice of yoga cannot be attributed to an individual,
it does find ample reference in Indian literature.
Yoga as philosophy, religion, science and art, is
covered in every detail in the Vedas (books of scriptural
knowledge), the Upanisads (philosophical speculations),
and their commentaries; the Puranas (ancient cosmologies),
and the two epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata,
which contains the Bhagavad Gita.
Over this long history of yoga four basic schools
have emerged, ranging below from the most religious
to the most scientific:
Bhakti Yoga: This type of yoga emphasizes one's
devotion to an ideal, the attainment of union through
love. Those who adhere to this type of yoga would
devote themselves to a special deity or a guru.
2. Karma Yoga: This may be called the yoga
of good deeds. Control of one's actions from unselfish
motives is the goal of those who follow this path.
The key is control or restraint. Picture an individual
experiencing calm in stressful surroundings.
3. Jnana Yoga: In this type of yoga the individual
withdraws consciousness from the outer world of the
senses and achieves union by control of thought.
4. Raja Yoga: referred to as the yoga of good
will, this is the classic form of yoga and involves
eight steps (sometimes called the eight limbed system
of discipline.) These are Yama (adherence to the five
universal commandments aimed at creating a better
world), Niyama (practice of the five personal disciplines),
Asana (postures), Pranayama (breath control), Pratyahara
(detachment from worldly activities), Dharana (concentration),
Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (trance, or state
in recent years yoga has become popularized as an
alternative form of fitness or relaxation technique,
it is important to know that the postures are but
a small part of what yoga is. The word yoga comes
from the Sanskrit root "yuj" meaning to join or unite.
The principal aim of yoga is to integrate every aspect
of the human soul with the Supreme Being. In short,
true yoga is more a way of life than an exercise routine
one practices so many days per week. At the basic
level, yoga combines exercises of the mind, with body
and spirit. Yoga has been practiced for millenia as
a means to enlightenment, and is central to Hinduism,
Buddhism, and Jainism. While it is not a religion
per se, it has influenced religions and spiritual
practices throughout the world, and can benefit people
from all walks of life, including those who do not
consider themself religious at all.
Daniels is a long term practitioner of Yoga and Pilates
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