The Basics of Yoga


Yoga is an ancient system of health and wellbeing that has become extremely popular in the west. Traditionally, yoga was used as a means of spiritual enlightment, nowadays, yoga is generally considered as a form of healthy exercise.

The word "yoga" originates from the Sanskrit language root yuj meaning to yoka, join together as one, union.

Hatha yoga, is the generic term used to describe the different types of yoga and is the most popular type practiced in the west. The word "Hatha" is made up of "Ha" - sun and "that" - moon. So, Hatha yoga literally means sun and moon joining together as one. The sun and moon represents the masculine (sun) and feminine (moon/lunar) principles as the opposing polarities of life. For example, black and white, heaven and earth, active and passive, expansion and contraction, in and out. This emphasis on polarising opposites represents the duality of nature and the human desire to seek union, wholeness and balance between the mind, body and soul. When these are in balance, you have perfect health, energy and vitality

In the west, Hatha yoga is generally concerned with the more physical aspects of yoga, the postures (known as asana) Classes include relaxation, postures, pranayama (breathing practices) and deep relaxation. Some teachers also include meditation and chanting in the class

Comments 4 comments

vrajavala profile image

vrajavala 8 years ago from Port St. Lucie

I might want to mention that while there are various forms of yoga, one of the best ones and simplest ones is bhakti yoga. This form of yoga allows your to simply offer all your activities in devotion to Krsna. there are a number of sites that you can examine for answers and  You can also order books from the 1st website to help you understand the process.

Ntathu profile image

Ntathu 8 years ago from SE London Author

A man of my own heart. Bhakti yoga is my favourite form of yoga. I am a Sivananda Yoga Teacher and spend many happy hours chanting. Can you recommend any sites/dvds?

Karma yoga (selfless service) is also another important "type" of yoga. I hesitate to use the word "Type of yoga" in relation to karma yoga, as i feel karma yoga is the essence of yoga and common to all schools of yoga.

Prascina 7 years ago

Inaction in action ... karma yoga.

Total surrender to god ... bhakti yoga.

RK Sangha profile image

RK Sangha 7 years ago from USA

Baba Ramdev ( these days is popularising Pran Yoga by stressing on Pranayama part of Yoga. On AASTHA CHANNEL, he is demonstrating daily how Pran Yoga is beneficial to many people recovering from so called incurable diseases. So, its due to benefits in health matters that Yoga is becoming popular although ealier spirituality was the main target of Yoga. Spirituality is the natural outcome of doing Yoga as Yoga in essence is the union of mind and body. So Yoga is a complete therapy.

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