What is Yoga also elaborate its benefits to the Yogi?
The word YOGA originated from the Sanskrit word ‘yuj’ meaning to integrate or to unite. Here it connotes the unity of an individual’s consciousness with that of Universal Consciousness. In other words, ancient rishis believed that our body, mind and the soul have to join together or integrate with the environment in which a person is living. For this to happen meaningfully, it is essential that an individual’s emotions, actions and intelligence have to be work in cohesively. For integration of the three (body, mind and soul) with environment in which a Yogi is living, various well coordinated exercises with breathing, experienced over a period of time for their applicability; besides meditation are undertaken ultimately for deriving ultimate benefit.
IMPORTANT FEATURES OF YOGA
- OUR BODY. It is understood that our body is an important component for carrying out different functions and if it is hale and hearty and possessing more energy we can transact more functions with it. For this to happen, we’ve to have to have balanced diet besides proper exercise to keep it healthy.
- OUR MIND. We have to rein in our mind so that the senses (sense of sight, sense of touch, sense of smell, sense of taste and sense of hearing) that it possess coordinate all the functions of our body eloquently and works in sync with the requirement of a Yogi. Wavering of senses from one object to another just makes our task of focusing more difficult. That is why we have to mind our mind. This is easier said than done but with internal resolve and by making the environment conducive, nothing is impossible.
- SOUL/SPIRIT. The soul is self which lives in the body and does its function through it. When there is no soul in our body our body becomes lifeless. It is just like a rudderless boat floating aimlessly in the vast sea without destination. Or it is like a bulb without electricity to give energy to it to run and do its function. Hence we are living, having emotions and perceiving things intelligently or our mind is functional because we’ve got a soul which is giving our body life. A soulless body is a lifeless body. When body and mind are in fine fettle then our soul too functions accordingly. It is also well said that our soul or spirit is not apart from the Super Soul.
Breathing in O2 and breathing out CO2 is one of the most important need of our body and if it is closely regimented and systematically done then it proves to be divinely provided sustenance to our body and Yoga bestows us opportunity to enhance breathing methodically which could be proved scientifically. When breathing control is ensured meticulously then we proceed with the next step focused meditation or prayer. While doing so, our mind’s quietness or stillness state is termed as passive activism.
YOGIC EXERCISES & ITS BENEFITS
In Chapter 2 of Bhagwad Gita, it has been very emphatically mentioned that our responsibility is only to perform our prescribed duty, but we never are entitled to its fruits. We should not be motivated by results of our activities and also we should not have any attachment for not doing our duty. While performing our duty, we should remain even minded both in success and failure. Such a calm temperament and our expertness in performing our task is called YOGA.
Only detached actions (selfless actions) and performing that action with best of our capability will make our pursuit purposeful and meaningful in the long run. We can choose the various duties but it is not in our hands to choose results as we desire. But practically, it has been found that if our pursuit of action is sincere and done with calm temperament then result cannot be disappointing. In this state of mind, even if the results are not good, we shall not be disappointed.
The Yogic exercises or Asnas done persistently makes it possible to regulate our breathing thus making it possible to improve the entire metabolic system of our body; in that blood circulation, abdominal organs function perfectly besides keeping all the organs of the body function wonderfully well because every limb of body is benefited with the regulated exercises. When our body is functionally healthy then we can perform various tasks cohesively.
Benefits of Yoga
Ban Ki-moon has rightly said:
“Yoga does not discriminate…all people can practise, regardless of their relative strength, age or ability.”
- Yoga instills discipline in the Yogi.
- Yoga is a scientific method which unites soul with the Super Soul (God) – we rise above delusion and reunite with our Creator.
- It enhances our concentration through focus on the omniscient spiritual eye (between the two eyebrows) thereby memory.
- It controls our stress and strain thus we can function perfectly since we learn how to keep our mind under control besides controlling our emotions which keep us adversely affected.
- As in Yoga, we give more credence to ‘self’, we can thereby can attain self realization first and subsequently God-realization.
- Breathing control ensures sound metabolic process of our body thus we have proper circulation of blood besides all the internal organs like heart, liver, lungs including all abdominal organs of our body function in fine fettle because of this regulated breathing and exercises.
- Meditation in rigorous and with focused manner ensures that we move forward spiritually with a view to connect with our Lord/Creator in a disciplined way. It should always be remembered that systematic meditation makes a true Yogi.
- Yoga helps us in facing challenges of life boldly and with equanimity.
- Yoga helps us to imbibe the trait of love and acceptance for everything and everybody.
- Yogic exercises through various postures enhances our self control thus self confidence because of opening the door of intuitive consciousness – sixth sense which makes it possible to anticipate the coming events!
- While stress is on self (as is done in Raja Yoga), it enhances the Yogi’s self esteem and self control besides enhancing self reliance in everything a Yogi ventures.
VARIOUS TYPES OF YOGA
HATHA YOGA (YOGA OF POSTURES)
In this branch of Yoga, the Yogis use physical pose or asana with proper breathing exercises or pranayama and subsequent meditation in a focused manner for ensuring good health besides ensuring our spiritual forward march.
BHAKTI YOGA (YOGA OF DEVOTION)
Bhakti word originated from Sanskrit word Bhaja meaning to contemplate, pray, love, worship etc. Here a Yoga meditate persistently thus integrates heart and body functions wherein body, mind and soul just combine for integrating with Super Soul. Yoga of Bhakti makes us aware of ONE DIVINE by undivided concentration and thus helps us see ONE DIVINE in everyone and everything. While Karma-yoga becomes Bhakti-yoga, it is done with God consciousness.
RAJA YOGA (YOGA OF SELF-CONTROL)
Raja means associated with royalty. In other words, it is KING OF YOGA. It is based on teachings of the EIGHT LIMBS OF Yoga which is based on YOGA SUTRAS. In this, A Yogi considers self as a central to all and thus considers animate and inanimate the same – no difference in living and non-living things. If you wish to learn discipline, then Raja Yoga would perfectly suit that need.
JNANA YOGA (YOGA OF THE MIND)
Jnana Yoga is related with the mind and therefore its focus is on intelligence of a person. Here Yogis lay more emphasis on wisdom and intellect and try integrate the two so that it works for the self optimally. Also Jnana Yogis are after knowledge, they acquire the knowledge from any source or religions because they work on the principle that knowledge could be gleaned from any sources – religions and philosophies. It is universal in nature. Jnana Yoga proponents are rational in their approach for getting knowledge and thus believe that in order to get connectivity with a SINGLE ONE any path or any religion could be followed. Religion or caste or creed is not limiting factor in acquiring knowledge.
Tantra Yoga or Yoga of Rituals
Tantra Yoga deals with head and heart. While pursuing Tantra Yoga one has to have the quality of purity of mind, devotion, humility, love etc. Here some rituals are observed for obtaining benefit for the body, mind and spirit.
There are still a lot of misconceptions about Yoga, for instance, Yoga being a religion. Yoga is not a religion. It is more of a set of techniques for us to find spirituality. In fact, Yoga is being practiced by a lot of people from different religions and benefitting from doing this.
Another misconception is that Yoga is merely an exercise, a way for us to keep fit. It is partly true, but if you think that Yoga is just that then you are greatly mistaken. Yoga develops the body since a weak one is a hindrance to spiritual growth. It does not simply focus on the physical but on the mental and spiritual aspects as well.
KARMA YOGA – THE YOGA OF ACTION
Karma Yoga is relation to our action that we transact. Before any action is undertaken, it has to be based on some sound thought. The thoughts for action ought to be positive in nature besides being selfless and detachment from the fruits of that action. Karma Yoga has been amply mentioned in Bhagwad Gita stresses that we should transact our actions and detach from the fruits of those actions. Meaning when our actions are based on sound and rational thoughts then their results will have to be good. Also by detaching ourselves from the fruits, we’re able to concentrate/focus on out actions besides offering those actions to God rather than frittering our energies by attaching ourselves with result of our action.