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Yoga: History, Science, Benefits & the Instructions for Doing Yoga

Updated on March 17, 2017
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My father is a Yoga Acharya who practices Yogas. I've learned its different aspects and benefits from him since childhood.

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Yoga can be best defined as a practice for realizing the ultimate reality in life. It is a workout for acquiring a healthy body free of any illness. On one side, it delights your soul spiritually whereas on the other side it contours the body to attain fitness. ‘Yogis’ live long with a coordinated soul and body.

History of Yoga

Yoga was originated in ancient India, a major discipline followed by the saints who used to meditate in tranquil and sacred places. It comprised of various body postures that would make the body flexible. The environment where they practiced Yoga could empower the soul also. This gave them mental as well as physical pleasure and they led an ideal life which we aspire to get in this speedy, comforting, electronic age.

Shri Guru Purnananda Paramahansa
Shri Guru Purnananda Paramahansa | Source

The Science of Yoga

The four popular Yogas in India are classified as Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga, Bhakthi Yoga and Raja Yoga. Raja Yoga or Yoga of royals is treated as the king of all Yogas. Concentration, intelligence, firmness, good habits and discipline are required for an individual to attain Raja Yoga. In B.C. 300, the great scholar and proponent of Sanskrit grammar and Ayurveda, saint Patanjali collected and analyzed all the Yoga practices that existed during that period. He revised them and on the basis of science of health and mind, he built the textbook of ‘Yoga Sutra’ or ‘Ashtanga Yoga’ for Raja Yoga. Present day’s Yoga poses are based on those from the text book of Ashtanga Yoga.

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Benefits of Yoga

It is said that practicing Yoga is beneficial to everyone irrespective of age. Youth, old-aged, diseased and the weak all can reap the benefits of Yoga if practiced under the supervision of a Yoga expert. Yoga helps

  • Destroy all diseases
  • Contour body shape
  • Digest and eliminate poison
  • Digest any strong poison like the fluid of life
  • Save life from snake bite
  • Improve braveness, health and enhance the beauty of body parts

The eight contents of Ashtanga Yoga


  • Yama
  • Niyama
  • Aasana
  • Pranayama
  • Prathyahara
  • Dharana
  • Dhyana
  • Samadhi

If the first four contents are for physical and mental rejuvenation, the rest are for spiritual awakening. According to the Hindu sage Swatmarama, Hatha Yoga is the ladder for climbing up to reach the acme of Raja Yoga. The Sanskrit term Hatha refers to use of force. Hathayoga is described as doing Yoga by force or abstract meditation such as standing on one leg or holding breath for a few moments. It is based on Asanas or postures and Pranayama or breathing techniques.

The guidelines and instructions for doing Yoga


1. Yoga needs to be practiced in a Yoga mat. All the Yogasanas and Pranayamas should be performed by standing facing towards East or North direction. The best time for practicing Yoga is the morning. Getting up early and taking bath is also preferred before doing Yoga. For those who’ve inconvenience in the morning can do in the evening before sun sets.

2. Yoga should be performed in a place where wind and light can enter. It can be a clean room or the open terrace. Note that the place you choose is calm and quiet.

3. It is stated that fan or air condition should be switched off in order to avail the benefits of Yoga. But you can make changes to this condition if you stay in a place where climatic conditions are not favorable.

4. Prayer is most important to begin Yoga. You can choose the prayer you like. Then meditate for about 2 minutes. Prayer and meditation can remove any tension of minds. Do ‘Savasan (lie down posture)’ for another 2 minutes to remove the tension of the body. Afterwards only you should start practicing the Yoga postures.

5. Sit quiet for sometime after you finish your Yoga programs. Don’t get into some other matters soon.

6. Those who have undergone any operation or that are diseased should consult their physician regarding practicing Yoga.

7. Don’t practice Yoga applying stress or competing. Asanas that are viable for the body and body parts only should be performed. Firm determination and regular training are the walking steps for gaining success in doing Asanas or Yoga postures.

8. Ladies should be careful of their times while practicing Yoga.

9. Yoga poses require high concentration. Distraction of minds results in losing whatever has been achieved so far.

10. Doing Yoga is equally important as taking food. Spare 1 hour each day for it and don’t interrupt it unless due to some unavoidable reasons.

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What the science of Yoga aims is “bring out the miracle of strength, power and light hidden inside each human being and nourish them in order to make him perfect”. Yoga is union. It is the union of the individual soul with the Supreme Self. Yoga delivers the ultimate pleasure of realizing reality with sound health.


At Pathanjali Yoga International, Rishikesh, Himalaya

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    • radhikasree profile image
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      Radhika Sreekanth 3 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Thanks choosetolive for the votes and rates. You're always welcome.

    • choosetolive profile image

      Ravi and Swastha 3 years ago from London, Canada

      Very interesting article. Simple & very informative. No doubt that those days of Yogis were leading a life of enlightenment & creating wonders. Thumps up & rated !

    • radhikasree profile image
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      Radhika Sreekanth 3 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Thanks Sushma Webber for making such a nice comment. Glad to hear that you liked it.

    • Sushma Webber profile image

      Sushma Webber 3 years ago from New Zealand

      A well written article on a complex subject. Congrats! Keep up the good work. Many people focus on the physical benefits of yoga, I like the fact that you have mentioned Patanjali's Yoga Sutras and the Yama and Niyamas. Because without character development nothing can be accomplished, not even physical well-being.

    • radhikasree profile image
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      Radhika Sreekanth 3 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Thanks Eddy!

    • radhikasree profile image
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      Radhika Sreekanth 3 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Thanks Mike Robbers for such a valuable comment.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      A great hub and thanks for sharing.

      Eddy

    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London

      Interesting, informative and well written hub! Definitely learned some new things here! Many thanks.

    • radhikasree profile image
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      Radhika Sreekanth 4 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Thanks Vellur for the likes. Yoga is always great!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      Yoga is great for the body and the soul. Thanks for sharing this great hub. Voted up.

    • radhikasree profile image
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      Radhika Sreekanth 4 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Thanks emerycurrin for telling your experience here. I'm glad that you found Yoga amazing.

    • emerycurrin profile image

      emerycurrin 4 years ago

      It is such an amazing thing, to actually quite the mind. We do it so little in our busy lives. We even sleep with the T.V. on. I teach a very basic Hatha Yoga class at my gym. We don't chat or do any crazy poses, just focus on deep breathes, balance and stretching and it has done so much for my clients. It's truly an amazing practice.

    • radhikasree profile image
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      Radhika Sreekanth 4 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Thanks AudreyHowitt for the positive feedback. Yoga is a spiritual cum physical workout that keeps relaxing you with its magical powers!!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      Very useful hub! I love Yoga although I am not very good at it. But I always feel better after a practice.

    • radhikasree profile image
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      Radhika Sreekanth 4 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Thank you Nicole S for reading and for passing a favorable comment.

    • radhikasree profile image
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      Radhika Sreekanth 4 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Thanks adity5!

    • radhikasree profile image
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      Radhika Sreekanth 4 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Hi Peggy W,

      Thank you for such a wonderful feedback. The setting in the second video is Rishikesh in Uttarakhand that is a scenic beauty. The place is suitable for practising Yoga because of the tranquility experienced here. Thank you for the votes and share.

    • Nicole S profile image

      Nicole S Hanson 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Very neat! I do yoga at least once a week and it is so calming and relaxing. Plus it loosens up my body. Great hub!

    • adity5 profile image

      adity5 4 years ago

      Very informative post !!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Wow...those videos were incredible! Wish I had started learning about yoga when I was younger. I can see that by practicing it regularly it would certainly increase strength and flexibility of one's body and also allow time to think about one's spirituality. I loved the beautiful setting in that 2nd video. Voted up, interesting and will share.

    • radhikasree profile image
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      Radhika Sreekanth 4 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Thank you cyndi10 for endorsing this hub to be well-worth. Yoga is a great way of attaining peace and health in this electronic age.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 4 years ago from Georgia

      Great article about yoga, which I love. A lot of information packed in a few words. Anyone who didn't know a lot about the practice would come away well informed. Well done.

    • radhikasree profile image
      Author

      Radhika Sreekanth 5 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Hi Nellieanna, thanks for commenting. Your will power and hope can keep you stand in your own legs in this age. Yoga is a bonus that can fetch you long life with sound health. I'm honored when you said that you're going to study about it more from my hub. Thank you.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      Yoga is something with which I feel an innate kinship even though I know little about practicing it. I have a feel for the Pranayama. The value of breath and correct breathing has been a mainstay of mine for years. And I often stand on one leg just when opportunity arises, for the sake of honing balance. So many folks my age (I'm 80) fall and break bones, leading them to lose independence and to slip hopelessly downhill. I see no valid reason to allow that to happen. I think I'm a good candidate for yoga and your hub really inspires me! Thank you, radhikasree! I'll be returning to study this more.

    • radhikasree profile image
      Author

      Radhika Sreekanth 5 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Yes thumbi, Yoga can relax you from the present day busy life. Thanks for commenting.

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 5 years ago from India

      Yoga and Pranayama are relaxing and improve concentration.

      Thanks for an enlightening hub

    • radhikasree profile image
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      Radhika Sreekanth 5 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Thanks shoreoflove...

    • radhikasree profile image
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      Radhika Sreekanth 5 years ago from Mumbai,India

      @CreateSquido

      Yoga helps shaping your body as well as soul to a long extent. Thanks for the comment.

    • radhikasree profile image
      Author

      Radhika Sreekanth 5 years ago from Mumbai,India

      @ Shaun75

      I'm glad that you liked this hub of Yoga. Doing Yoga regularly can make you healthy.

    • CreateSquidoo profile image

      CreateSquidoo 5 years ago

      I have tried Yoga and I observe that my body posture change a lot.

    • Shaun75 profile image

      Shaun75 5 years ago from Edison

      Hi Radhikasree, Thanks for providing us such a useful tips on yoga. It's true yoga is the great way to relax your body from tension and it make body healthy.

    • radhikasree profile image
      Author

      Radhika Sreekanth 5 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Hi sen.sush,

      Welcome to my hub and thanks for making such a nice comment. Highly appreciated. Yoga fans should be grateful to Saint Pathanjali for spreading the knowledge of Yoga.

    • radhikasree profile image
      Author

      Radhika Sreekanth 5 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Hi Ruchira,

      Welcome to my hub and am glad that you found it useful. Yoga is knowledge about God and you realize it when you succeed.

    • radhikasree profile image
      Author

      Radhika Sreekanth 5 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Hi Nell, so great of you for recommending everyone practice Yoga. It can enrich minds as well as the body.

    • sen.sush23 profile image

      Sushmita 5 years ago from Kolkata, India

      Radhikasree, this hub is so compact. Usually, people talk a lot about Yoga but are not able to give a concrete idea. But in the short span you have clarified the most important theories. I am sure those interested will find it useful. Voted up and shared.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      wow...such a beautiful and full of insight hub. radhikasree, loved it.

      i am big fan of yoga and there were some blanks in my knowledge...you filled them :) Thanks!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi, radhikasree, Yoga is a great way to relax and realign the body, I think we should all do it, especially in the rush around world that we live in today, thanks for sharing!

      up and shared! cheers nell

    • radhikasree profile image
      Author

      Radhika Sreekanth 5 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Welcome theking to my hub and thanks for reiterating the same fact. Real Yogis can find God in themselves. Thanks for the vote and rate.

    • profile image

      theking2020 5 years ago

      Yoga a great way to release stress and finding one true self. There's yogis in their late 80s or more that have incredible stamina, and strength. Voted your article interesting.

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