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What Is Yoga and What Does It Do?

Updated on December 24, 2017
Chuck Bluestein profile image

At age 16 I was a volunteer at a hospital bacteriology lab. I became a chemist for U.S. government. Then I studied health & related fields.

Yoga Music Video and Yoga Comes From India

Woman in Yoga Girl Video: This is a funny, entertaining video to watch. Namaste means peace.
Woman in Yoga Girl Video: This is a funny, entertaining video to watch. Namaste means peace. | Source
Yoga comes from India. Benteng Chittorgarh, India.
Yoga comes from India. Benteng Chittorgarh, India. | Source

What is Yoga

This was written on January 10, 2012. It tells about the many benefits of yoga. It also explains what yoga is and how the yoga poses fit into yoga. I have been doing yoga (the yoga postures) since age 12. I learned about it from a book not a person.

My other article 23 Celebrities That Do Yoga, tells many things. But on some Christian websites they say that Christians should not do yoga because it is part of the Hindu religion. Actually the Hindu religion is a part of yoga but so is the Christian religion.

The Hindu religion includes other religions since it recognizes other masters in other places. This is why even though Buddha lived in India, Buddhism did not become popular there since it just became part of the Hindu religion. But Buddhism became popular in the countries around India like China. One who does yoga is called a yogi or yogini.

Jet Li is a Buddhist. According to Men's Health magazine (September 2004), Jet Li is the only five-time national wushu (martial arts) champion of China. Because of this, China has declared him a national treasure. He meditates at least one hour a day and has meditated 14 hours in a day.

So what is yoga? Well I am going to use modern English to explain it instead of using a translation of ancient Sanskrit. Yoga is actually a science of raising consciousness the way psychology is a science of the human mind. What is raising consciousness? There is a happiness that comes from getting things in the physical world.

Wikipedia used to say "In all branches of yoga, the ultimate goal is the attainment of an eternal state of perfect consciousness."

Psychologists did a study and found that 2 years after people had won millions of dollars, they were no happier than before they won the million dollars. Katy Perry, who does yoga, recently divorced Russel Brand, who does Transcendental Meditation. So this means that they are no happier with their relationship now then before they met each other.

But they were extremely happy and euphoric when they first met and realized that this is the person that they want to spend the rest of their life with. So this is a description of worldly happiness. Another example is a woman gives birth to a child and she is ecstatic over having a child. Then at say 3 years old, the child falls into a swimming pool and dies and she is depressed.

But Russel Brand is doing meditation not to get certain things in the world to make him happy, but for the other type of happiness that comes from inside of him. You can call it true happiness. Also life is designed to teach people so that their true happiness grows. So Katy Perry and Russel Brand have had an invaluable (valuable beyond estimation : priceless) experience being in love with each other and married that teaches them. This increases the true happiness as long as they have dealt with it in a good way.

Since this happens in life naturally, doing yoga and meditation is supposed to accelerate this process. People associate yoga with the postures. This is one type of yoga or one way of raising consciousness. It is called hatha yoga. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines hatha yoga as "a system of physical exercises for the control and perfection of the body that constitutes one of the four chief Hindu disciplines ."

This last part of the definition is incorrect. But if it was correct, then that would mean that the Christian groups are correct and Hillary Clinton is practising the Hindu religion. But she is doing it for the physical, mental and emotional benefits of yoga. Say that someone is anxious, angry and depressed most of the time for no reason. Then they become someone that is relaxed and happy most of the time for no reason. That is an example of raising consciousness.

Here is a 4 minute video of a middle school that tried doing yoga. Suspensions were down 60% and test scores went up. If you want to skip that video, then that is fine. But make sure to watch this 4 minute video about yoga acting like a therapist. It tells about people doing hatha yoga that had a release of negative emotions from past traumatic events.

Is the purpose of going to a good therapist to learn to make more money or find a woman like Katy Perry? No the purpose is to help raise your consciousness. So what are the other types of yoga? One type is bhakti yoga. Merriam-Webster defines it as "devotional yoga." The devotion is to a higher power like the Son, the Father or the Holy Ghost. What is the purpose of bhakti yoga? To raise consciousness. So that is the purpose of the Christian religion-- to raise consciousness.

Now Mother Teresa practised bhakti yoga but what her made her so different that she won the Nobel Prize for Peace? She practised karma yoga. Merriam-webster defines karma-yoga (why do they use a hypen-- I do not know) as "yoga through disinterested service or the selfless performance of duties ." This can also be called "paying it forward", "good deeds", "random acts of violence" or altruistic acts. Actually it is "random acts of kindness."

Now Positive Psychology has studied altruism-- "unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others." A group of college students went out and did it and came back and reported the results. Many described it life changing. But Mother Theresa already knew that. They reported a euphoria. Now on the way back from it in the van, one guy asked to let him out a mile before they got to his house. He got out and took the shovel from an elderly woman and started shoveling her walk for her.

A woman in the van saw this and started crying. She fell in love with the guy instantly and wanted to marry him. Positive Psychology studies how people can be happier. There are Christian groups that help people starving in Africa. So karma yoga is raising your consciousness by doing good deeds. See video below about Gandhi.

People read the bible and other scriptures. What is up with that? Merriam-Webster says jnana-yoga is "spiritual discipline attained by philosophical knowledge." I learned about psychology at age 10 by reading a book. Our family would go to a free library every 3 weeks. We would leave with around 8 books. If you do not go back in 3 weeks, you are fined. I found out about yoga from reading a book. I only took out non-fiction books from the library.

In Hindi or Sanskrit, raja means king. So here is the king of yoga. Merriam-Webster says that raja yoga is "a yoga discipline that consists of eight stages leading to self-realization and liberation — compare asana, dhyana, samadhi ; hatha-yoga, jnana-yoga, karma-yoga." In modern English raja yoga is meditation. Please note that the yoga postures or poses are called asanas and in America there is jokes about it like get off your asana.

Above it tells about Jet Li doing meditation. I read that saints like St. Theresa of Avila did a lot of meditation. The former Pope used to do an hour and a half of meditation a day. I have an article called 29 Celebrities That Do Meditation. Clint Eastwood has been doing meditation (TM) for 40 years. Jerry Seinfeld has been doing TM meditation for most of his life.

If an expert on yoga that is miserable defines yoga, it will be a depressing and miserable explanation. That makes learning more difficult and also detestable (arousing or meriting intense dislike). I feel that learning can be fun. I also have the article Many Health Benefits of Hatha Yoga.

Sitting is not good for health. So by doing the yoga postures it gives you great health so you can sit for hours in meditation without being uncomfortable. Also there were Buddhist temples in China that did martial arts. This was good for the monks to defend themselves and kept their bodies in good shape to do hours of meditation. Remember that Jet Li said that he has meditated 14 hours in a day. At age 12 I was also learning martial arts like Chinese kenpo karate and tai chi. They call tai chi moving meditation.

9 minute video by a teacher of meditation. It is about how incredible you are.

The Secret of Yoga: Give Love

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