What comes into your mind when you hear the word Yoga?
Well, if you think of women in seemingly impossible poses, then you may have an inkling of what Yoga is. But that’s just it – an inkling. You’ve got a long way to go before fully understanding Yoga.
Yoga is an ancient Indian body of knowledge that dates back more than 5000 years ago. The word “Yoga” came from the Sanskrit word “yuj” which means “to unite or integrate.” Yoga then is about the union of a person’s own consciousness and the universal consciousness.
Ancient Yogis had a belief that in order for man to be in harmony with himself and his environment, he has to integrate the body, the mind, and the spirit. For these three to be integrated, emotion, action, and intelligence must be in balance. The Yogis formulated a way to achieve and maintain this balance and it is done through exercise, breathing, and Meditation – the three main Yoga structures.
In Yoga, the body is treated with care and respect for it is the primary instrument in man’s work and growth. Yoga Exercises improve circulation, stimulate the abdominal organs, and put pressure on the glandular system of the body, which can generally result to better health.
Breathing techniques were developed based on the concept that breath is the source of life. In Yoga, students gain breathing control as they slowly increase their breathing. By focusing on their breathing, they prepare their minds for the next step – Meditation.
There is a general misconception that in Meditation, your mind has to go blank. It doesn’t have to be so. In Meditation, students bring the activities of the mind into focus resulting in a ‘quiet’ mind. By designing physical poses and Breathing Techniques that develop awareness of our body, Yoga helps us focus and relieves us from our everyday stress.