The Long History Of Yoga


What is the definition of yoga?

the definition of yoga


 Yoga is a Sanskrit word that comes from the ancient Vedas. It has multiple meanings including communication, unity, connection and union. The root word from which it is formed is yuj, which means to connect or communicate. Anyone who knows anything about the practice of yoga can understand why this definition suits that. However, the long tradition has so many different facets and deep meanings and concepts that the definition falls short of the true experience. Yoga also includes self-discipline, a spiritual journey and restoring connection with the ultimate source. It is not a simple word, but instead a term for a vast system of spiritual development.


The ancient wise man Patanjali wrote in his Yoga Sutras that yoga is “the cessation of mental fluctuations.” This speaks to the idea that a yogi experiences freedom from thoughts and subconscious mind activity and reaches a level of control over his mind, body and even the external world that surrounds them. A yogi is a long-time, serious practitioner of yoga. The goal is to achieve enlightenment, called Samadhi, by calming the mind and perfecting the spirit. The teachings say that achieving this is impossible if the focus is on physical matter, which exists on a lower energy level in the Absolute.


When a yogi is able to control his mind to such a degree that is senses are under his jurisdiction, his mind I was able to view spiritual reality of everything. This facilitates the return to the Source of everything or God.


What Was the Origin of Yoga?




Yoga was written about extensively in the ancient Indian records called the Vedas. Written approximately in 2500 BCE, the Rigvede book of the Vedas, scholars can read about the beginnings of yoga and its initial laws that pertains to social, environmental and ethical parts of civilization.


Some historians track the beginnings of yoga to 3000-2000 BCE and the early civilizations of Harappa and MohenjoDaro. Archaeologists excavating a location in the Indus Valley found pictures of people resting in yoga poses. As they explored further, more detailed collections of physical asanas emerged. As the centuries went by, these activities were tested and tried for a wide range of people. An ancient Indian proverb tells how the most useful asanas were kept and combined into what people consider it yoga today. It was and remains a pathway to help people achieve physical and mental improvement.


The traditions that surround yoga in India and other Eastern nations state that a teacher or guru is necessary to pass on the yoga teachings to the student under the guidance of yogis. This means that everything from the simplest pose to the more complex exercises are learned in their entirety with precise attention to correct detail. This results in fewer errors and less disintegration of the pure form. In other words, the teacher of yoga must have experienced all of the complexes himself before passing them on to new practitioners. This means the entire education process is long and sometimes artifice, but it maintains purity of the unique combination of physical benefits and ethical purity that yoga is concerned with.


Modern western yoga practices frequently violate this requirement and abandon the slower methods in favor of quick-start ways that lead from one exercise to the next without deep thought. This separates the mental and spiritual development from the physical improvement that is taking place and thus deprives the practitioner of the full depth of yoga benefits.


Yoga survived for thousands of years as a very unique and article method for self-benefit and improvement. Passing on the perfect form from yogi to students again and again demonstrates yoga’s perfection. In order to reap the benefits and maintain correct form and function, yoga should be taught as it always was.


There are two varieties of yogis in India: yoga practitioners and yoga philosophers. The practitioners focus on primarily Hatha yoga and can either be professional or still amateurs. The amateurs are those who practice yoga in order to gain health and holistic development, peace and harmony and also spiritual balance.


As time continues on, different collections of physical yoga exercises, or asanas, are appearing in the practice. People from many walks of life and locations are testing them and the most effective are being adopted into the overreaching practice of yoga today.


The government of India accepted regulations and guidelines for yoga study and practice in the army, police forces and schools in 1965.


The historical development of yoga practices and philosophies follow three main stages:


Stage #1 – Ancient Yoga Practices and Philosophies


From the ancient times of far history to approximately the year 1000 BCE, the initial study of classical yoga begins. This philosophical school is called Sankhya Yoga. At this time, the only practices were being done in India and the surrounding the central Asian lands.


Stage #2 – Eastern “Middle Ages” Yoga Practices and Philosophies


After 1000 BCE and stretching all the way to the early 18th century CE, the “Middle Ages” of Eastern cultural developments and yoga occurred. This is not associated with Western Middle Ages and does not match up with any of their cultural or political advancements. In these times, practice of yoga spread from India to China, Japan, Tibet and a more extensive surrounding area.


Stage #3 – Modern 19th, 20thand 21st Century Yoga Practices and Philosophies


The introduction of yoga to the Western world occurs during these centuries. As the 20th century begins and advances, yoga and Eastern philosophies are increasingly popular to Western populations. New exercises are being developed, such as Agni Yoga which combines Eastern Masters, Mahatma, with the spiritual Roerich family of Russian culture. Yoga enters Russia from the south and spreads quickly up through Europe and then into the Americas.


Yoga’s History in Various Countries Around the World




Many countries around the globe encourage curiosity about yoga and its benefits to practitioners. Various societies, organizations and laboratories have taken on the task of quantifying the medical benefits with the use of scientific equipment and testing. Some work in conjunction with Indian yogis or invite other experts to assist with the experiments. Workshops on Hatha Yoga have also become more popular as Western people’s curiosities were aroused.


Hatha Yoga was even adopted by some military groups, especially submariners and pilots, as required physical training to be carried out before their missions. Astronauts and cosmonauts frequently practice yoga and professional and amateur athletes also find the exercises quite beneficial. Many television stations around the world showcase Hatha Yoga classes so the general public can learn as well.


The World Yoga Alliance, in Stockholm Sweden and the European Association of Yoga in Budapest Hungary have helped bring the ancient yoga arts to the Western world.


The Main Goals of Yoga





Yoga is a Sanskrit word that means communication, discipline, unity and connection. This directly relates to its main purpose of achieving Samadhi, which means a dissolution into Brahman identity.


You can’t prove their body health, strength and beauty. These reasons make perfect sense and yoga can help you achieve all of these goals. However, it is also important to ask yourself if you receive any of the benefits as well such as relaxation, better focus or less stress and anxiety. This will tell you that yoga is a wonderful holistic approach to improving herself.


Some people adopt the practice of yoga when they are faced with a disease or disorder that they have not been able to improve in other ways. In most cases, yoga can improve your quality of life with you suffer from a physical or mental ailment.


Yoga was designed to help you with relaxation, better ability to focus, stronger willpower and other positive mental energies and abilities.


Adopt this habit can also help you interact more positively with the world at large and the people you are in relationships with. As you become more self-aware, less stressed and more focused, you will be able to understand your spouse, family members, friends, coworkers and strangers more fully. You will be able to empathize with them, understand their strengths and weaknesses and learn what type of interactions would be the most positive.


Yoga can also improve the quality of sexual relationships. Not only will your body be fitter and more energetic, but your mind will be more receptive to demonstrations of love and affection. Unsatisfactory sex life or romantic relationships can cause a high degree of stress and frustration in your life. Yoga can eliminate obstacles to a more fulfilling sexual relationship.


People of any religious or spiritual belief can become involved with yoga. Some people consider themselves religious but do not have a strong spiritual life while others consider themselves spiritual but do not attach themselves to a particular religion. Perhaps you have neither and the physical benefits or mere curiosity have led you to explore and yoga.


It does not matter what you do or do not believe, what your main life goals are or what you are currently struggling with. Yoga can help you change in positive ways, shift your attitude from negativity to positivity and allow you to reap the benefits of your life.


Yoga’s ultimate goal is to open your eyes to the possibilities, expand and open your mind and be prepare you to take a journey both internally and externally to greater contentment and health.


Practicing Yoga is Very Important


Practicing Yoga is Very Important



No matter how much you read or listen to about yoga, no great changes in your consciousness or health will occur if you do not take action. Philosophers can talk for hours about a subject and can teach you many things, but new knowledge will not expand your consciousness. Instead, it is an accumulation of memories, ideas and evidence. At before you begin the practice of yoga, it is important to have the mindset of a vessel waiting for the washers of higher consciousness to fill it. Sri Aurobindo explained this as, “The cup must be clean and empty, filled to its divine drink.”


Put the focus on individual effort and always remember to practice. Without this action, you will not be able to build an appropriate natural response to what is external to yourself and within you as well. Start small and slow with the basics and only move on to more complex activities and ideas when you are ready. If you try to skip ahead to quickly or push yourself expecting greater results, you may end up disappointed.


One example is when people first began meditating without truly understanding it. They may lounge and a comfortable chair, close their eyes and regulate everything but without knowing how to focus the mind, they simply stay engaged with the outside world and their inner issues. Two things may happen: they get a brief moment of relaxation without truly solving any problems or they may fall asleep. This may lead them to believe that meditation offers no benefit and they give up. Without proper training meditation, like yoga or any other art or science, will not work to its fullest extent.


If you start at the beginning and learn at your own pace before moving on to more complex exercises, you will be able to achieve things that you previously thought impossible. Specific asanas and physical health by regulating autonomous bodily functions, increasing flexibility and building strength. Various pranayama techniques teach you how to breathe correctly in order to maximize her health and relax the mind. Proper meditation will allow you to excise subconscious difficulties.


There are many popular books and documentaries that speak about different types and practices of yoga. Some of these include Pranayama, Raja Yoga and Kundalini Yoga. Ultimately the decision about how to learn these things is up to you. There are very in-depth studies on yoga with long exercises to practice and also short classes that allow for more convenient practice in a few spare moments. These may be more ideal for busy people with families, careers and other interests. We recommend that you begin your yoga studies through a professional yoga class taught by an authentic teacher. Beginners will get the greatest benefit from direct instruction.


The popularity of yoga in both the Eastern and Western worlds can have something to do with the great number of varieties and options to choose from. No matter what type of problem you have or what your goal is, yogis will recommend a different type of yoga based on breathing, food, your career, fitness, health problems and other relevant topics.


Perhaps more attractive in these high-tech times of hurry, stress and anxiety is yoga’s ability to help you find mental balance and peace.


If you wish to adopt the practice of yoga in your life, it is vastly important to follow the rules of step-by-step training, all the advice and recommendations given by experienced practitioners and quality guides such as this one and to commit to a gradual development of yoga skills and practices. This is not a “get fit quick” trick. Trying to rush through yoga and push yourselves more complicated practices too soon will be more likely to result in physical injury or negative side effects such as frustration, lack of confidence and despair.


Hatha Yoga exercises are not permitted in the following situations:


  1. When you have a fever or high temperature
  2. When chronic diseases are flaring up
  3. During menstruation
  4. During the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Practice may start up again 3 to 4 months post birth.
  5. Individuals over 60 should practice only with extreme care.
  6. No child under 6 years old should practice at all.


Certain diseases may be negatively affected by the practice of certain types of yoga, so it is important to understand what the contraindications may be before beginning.


Do not believe that yoga is the cure for everything that tells you. It does have a complicated and usually beneficial effect on organ systems, endocrine glands and the nervous system that can help alleviate diseases and disorders for people who suffer from them.



How is Yoga Structured?




Maharishi Patanjali traveled through the in the in the land of Enrof approximately 2000 years ago. This date is not exact because there are many different stories about him, but we can assume he was active around 200 CE. He was an elite sage who established a detailed definition of beauty, inspired philosophy and religion and reached amazing heights of Shadanakar, and thus began what we now call yoga. These ideas at the very beginning stem from Dvaita, which is the idea that the world exists in two parts: matter and spirit, and have greatly affected the entire developmental process that went into creating yoga as we know it today. Patanjali himself achieved near mythic status and has had many legends and tales told about in. His “Yoga Sutra” has long been studied and explained by wise men in the matters of philosophy and religion.


Patanjali first developed his unique sutras based on the eight stages of understanding the wisdom of yoga, and how it was created to strengthen the mind, body and spirit. These can be scientifically explained by speaking about both physical and mental development.


These eight steps include a complicated recipe for living a happy and full life as well as growing closer to God and the divine. He included doctrines for the development of ethics and morality, a prescription for mental and physical health and guidance as to how people should approach and adopt spiritual traits that are intrinsic to human nature.


In order to advance to the next stage, you must first understand and correctly practice the one before it. This is very similar to school work or the natural progression of things in the world. First you learn letters, then words than reading and more. Yoga presents eight steps that will guide the practitioner on the Way to Eternity.



The Eight Steps of Yoga


1. Yamas




Your entire life should be managed by one rule that is found in most major philosophies including yoga, the Christian Bible and others: The Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”


These are the restrictions placed upon the yoga practitioner:


Do not hurt anyone, including yourself, physically, mentally or spiritually. You should never resort to violence and avoid being greedy in action, thought or words. Do not yearn for things that belong to other people, stay pure in your thoughts and actions, do not indulge your weaknesses and desires, do not waste energy, do not get lost in fantastical thought processes or bustle about with unnecessary action.


Control your sexual passions except for purposes of marriage and building a family. Affairs outside of marriage are not allowed.


Always be sincere when speaking, acting or thinking. Do not tell lies or deceive yourself.


Keep your thoughts, actions and words pure and kind at all times. Do not borrow or accept favors that will put you into debt and obligation.




Reject all violence, physical altercations and murder. This term has more to do with practicing kindness and peaceable behavior rather than simply avoiding getting in a fight. Always be considerate, friendly and reasonable. In order to do this, it is important to learn how to look at a particular situation and assess what is going on truthfully. This does not necessarily mean you cannot swat a mosquito, eat meat or defend yourself physically if necessary. Instead, it speaks to an attitude of consideration for others and yourself that leads you to act reasonably in every situation.




Always be fair when you are judging others and yourself. Always be conscious of the fact that the things you say and do affect other people. This does not command you to be perfectly honest at all times, however, because some truths may injure or upset someone else. In these cases, silence is a more considerate tactic.




Although this is similar to the biblical commandment not steal, it also extends to not taking nonphysical items that do not belong to you. For example, if someone trusts you with information, you cannot use it as your own, and if someone relies on us to accomplish something for them, we will not seek extra benefits.




This terms literal definition is purity. It does not translate directly into a call to be celibate however. Instead, you should recognize your sexual energy and regulate it responsibly. Do not waste or use it without consideration. Indians treasure the family unit and respect it above many things.


Tradition tells us that there is a time and place for everything. The four stages of life include: childhood, apprenticeship in which truth and understanding is sought, creation of a family unit and finally the liberation from worldly responsibilities and the ability to pursue knowledge and enlightenment.


This concept speaks more toward utilizing your natural hungers and powers appropriately for whatever stage of life you are at.




This calls upon us to not accumulate things we do not need, but instead use only as much as is necessary for each situation.


The idea is summed up well in the idea of a graduating students bringing his teacher a present:”Knowing let dharma guru gives nothing in advance; but in preparation for the last bathing, with the permission of the guru should be present, he may, as a fee for training guru. It is pleasing to present guru, field, gold, cow, horse, umbrella, in extreme cases – shoes, grain, clothing or greens “(Manusmṛti 2.245-246).


2. Niyamas




The second stage of yoga focuses on the spiritual aspect of each person. It speaks about maintaining appropriate discipline to meditate regularly, take thoughtful walks and consider the divine lessons frequently.


All rituals must adhere to these rules:


  1. Cleanliness of both body, mind and spirit
  2. Contentment and acceptance of reality and a level of patience as you do what is necessary change for the better.
  3. Consciously limiting particular desires or comforts. It is beneficial to expose yourself to discomfort, bad weather or deprivations on purpose.
  4. Development of intellect as it pertains to the divine and spiritual teachings. Texts should be studied, self-discovery should be undertaken and a dedication to the ongoing pursuit of self-awareness should be done regularly to form a lifelong habit.
  5. Dedication to God and acceptance of him as the source of all human consciousness.




This term translates directly into the maintenance of bodily and environmental purity.


It includes such topics as proper diet, fitness, avoidance of bad habits, self-discipline and righteousness in all things. Both external and internal sides of this concept are included. For example, external purity means you wash yourself and maintain proper hygiene. Internal purity means you maintain proper health through drinking and eating clean food and not introducing pollutants to your body. This stage is important for properly employing certain asanas and pranayama.




This concept deals with acceptance and contentment of how things turn out and what we end up with. Humility and patience are also included in this description. If we expect a particular outcome and it does not come true, it is important to accept what happened and move on rather than to dwell on it and invite excess negativity.


In the “Yoga Sutras,” the principal listed here is explained with the following quote: “Contentment is better than all sixteen heavens together.”


Acceptance of a negative outcome does not mean you do not strive to make things better the next time or give up. Instead, it has to do with not whining or complaining about it because that puts our mental and physical energy into a nonproductive action. This concept applies to both physical work, mental work such as learning and careers.


When you are able to achieve a certain level of acceptance and serenity no matter what happens, you are on your way to accepting all of life and transcending the earthbound difficulties and hassles that achieve each stress and separation from the divine.




This concept deals with the physical body and the self-discipline and conscious effort it takes to maintain or improve vitality, to practice strong willpower and to improve health and purity inside.


The direct translation of the word means “to cleanse the body by heating” but this is not a call to sit in a sauna or stand out in the sun. Instead, it tells you to eat healthy food only when you are hungry, practice good posture and deep breathing and other physically healthy habits that can keep us fit and the body healthy.




The different parts of this word mean private research or study. When put together to form this unique concept, it indicates the particular way that you approach life and learning everything you need to know in order to have a good one. It encompasses any type of thinking, communication or learning that opens doors to greater understanding of self.




This is a connection between the self and the divine and a devotion to that connection. It is part of the phrase that says, “bring all your actions before the footsteps of God.”


3. Asanas




This word is said with the accent on the first A. it is the term used for all the different physical postures that people use in yoga. Yogis believe that the body is the temple that houses the soul and it is important to care about it and treated well in order to engage in proper spiritual growth. All of the movements should be balanced and comfortable.


Although people may find some of the poses difficult or awkward to begin with, comfort is maintained because of the mindset you adopt that is very beneficial to the practice of yoga itself. Do not strain yourself to do and asana and always try with a good attitude to the best of your current ability. The idea is not to work against your body or build up your muscles, but instead to find your center of balance and relax. These poses eventually allow the body to maintain position in a state of peace without fatigue or negative stimulation from external factors.


In “Yoga Sutras,” Pantanjali’s asana should be done with the traits of sthira and sukha.


          Sthira — Vigilance and persistence.


          Sukha — The capability to feel comfortable in any position.



4. Pranayama




This concept in the practice of yoga focuses on breathing, control of inhalation and exhalation and consciousness. As you learn to regulate the breast you take, you come to realize that breathing is connected to your mind and your emotional center. Proper breath control and oxygenation can revitalize your body’s energy and improve health and longevity.


There are three parts to this breath control step: puraka (inhalation), rechaka (exhalation) and kumbhaka (holding your breath). Holding your breath is a very important aspect of this whole process. In old tales of yogis, their lives were measured in the number of breaths they took. Therefore, breathing less rapidly or holding their breath led directly to a longer life because they took fewer of them. Besides meaning breath and breathing, the word prana also refers to power and energy. In this way, the term indicates not only your personal breath, but also how it flows together with the universal spirit.


The point of pranayama is to coincide your earthly need to breathe with the cosmic breath of the universe. Hatha Yoga guru Pradipika states “Right pranayama all diseases are destroyed, irregular – are generated. Exhale gently and inhale gently and hold your breath properly – so you reach success. Streams are cleared, and external signs of success can be seen: the body becomes light and muscular, the color is clear and clean “(About Pranayama Slokas 16, 18, 19.).


This stage of yoga can be done individually, such as doing a few breathing exercises while sitting at your office chair, or as a more extensive yoga program on its own. Because you will will be dealing with different breathing patterns and holding your breath, it is important to make sure you are healthy enough physically to undertake this practice before you begin. Some elderly people or those with compromised breathing to begin with should consider this carefully as mistakes can have detrimental effects. After all, the path to enlightenment does not involve violent breaking of internal walls but instead a slow and steady progression that leaves you comfortable and improved.


5. Pratyahara




This term means detachment or abstraction in Sanskrit, and indicates that you are not attached or controlled to stimuli around you or things taking place in the outside world. Essentially, it means you can focus on the internal or the spiritual no matter what happens nearby.


This is the beginning stage of an extensive effort to focus on the internal rather than responding to external events or happenings. People who are at this stage frequently allow their mind to wander wherever it wants to go in order to help them learn about themselves and their subconscious thought processes. This can also help identify blockages to spiritual growth.


Because the eight steps of yoga build upon each other naturally, pratyahara begins to introduce concepts and create abilities to master dharana and dhyana beyond.


6. Dharana




The definition of this word is contemplation. This is the first part of learning to focus solely on your inner light or a positive quality that will bring you closer to the divine consciousness. You will be able to regulate your thinking through deep and unwavering concentration. As pratyahara allows us to see inside, dharana allows us to focus on a single thing.


7. Dhyana




The second to last stage of yoga involves a lengthy concentration period about a particular inner strength or virtue. The practitioner must fill themselves with thoughts only of this thing for an extended period of time. When a person focuses on their divine light, internal pleasures and contentment or other positive traits, they be in to become one with the concept and not see it as something separate from themselves.


8. Samadhi




Yoga’s ultimate goal is to become one with the divine, otherwise known as true enlightenment. It is impossible to buy this, take shortcuts or control it in any way. This final stage of yoga allows your consciousness to rise above all previously known limits and become one with God, universal spirit, the Absolute or whatever term you wish to use. This results in a perpetual sense of peace and joy. Pantanjali uses the term bliss for this state.


When this enlightenment is achieved, the practitioner of yoga transcends himself and expands beyond the borders that formerly contained him. Not only is the connection forged with the divine, but also with all living things on earth. This incredible sense of oneness can only be achieved with dedicated and fervent efforts towards this lofty aspiration.


The eight steps of yoga create a more pure, spiritual and holy self. As you progress through the stages, there will be temptations and difficulties that they feel like blocks to advancement. Some say that the path of eternity is as narrow as the edge of the blade, which means that only a select few who struggle against difficulties will make it there. If you do want to achieve enlightenment and unity with the powers of the universe, you must not be distracted by money, power and other carnal desires. Instead realized that the only power that matters in the end and shall grow throughout the process is love.


People who embark on this eight step path of yoga with the ultimate goal of God-like enlightenment must have considerable mental, physical, moral and spiritual strength. The vast majority of people who practice yoga do not strive for this goal or achieve it. In truth, there are exceedingly few people who are able to give their lives for the truth of this path. Only the small number is proved worthy by their dedication and efforts, but it is important to understand that each and every person has the power to them to do the same.




With dharana, Samadhi and dhyana focused on a singular object, the state of sanyama takes that focus to a deeper and more profound understanding. The word comes from san, which means together, and yama, which means curb or discipline.


If you wish to understand the movement of cars, for example, you need to start by understanding all aspects of the subject self. First learn what a star is and why it moves across the sky from the east to the west. After covering the basics, deeper and more probing questions will come to mind. If you feel a particular passion for the subject and delve into it deeply, you will gain extensive amounts of knowledge about a very particular subject. This is called sanyama. In essence, it is a way of controlling your lack of focus and curiosity for other subjects. When you become interested in one topic, such as yoga, you should quickly and thoroughly learn all you can.


Some say that the state of sanyama can wake up supernatural forces, but these are not why you practice this. Instead, they are like a byproduct of the process and also a tempting distraction if your attention shifts to them instead of the topic you are perusing. The goal is to focus so strongly on the subject that you will not even realize these forces or beings are there.




This term is used for a state of being that a person achieves when they are in Samadhi. It means internal freedom. There were 34 complete verses in the “Yoga Sutras” about this topic. The word itself comes from “kevala” which means to be with yourself. Some people further define this as isolation or becoming a hermit, but it can be used in a more metaphorical sense as well. A person in kaivalya stands apart from the world perhaps not physically but through his understanding and knowledge. He is able to influence the external around him, but is not internally affected by it.


This is not some form of transcendence in which the ordinary needs of a person are no longer pertinent to life. Those who have attained Kaivalya are essentially ordinary people, except for the fact that they can effectively distance themselves from the stressors of the outside world. They live in the world but are not controlled by. They have a physical body and senses but are not enslaved by them. Confidence and comfort are natural states of being. They have extensive knowledge about the outside world, but this knowledge does not affect how they live in Kaivalya.



Twenty-Two Different Yoga Varieties


Different Yoga Varieties


Since yoga has been around for thousands of years, it makes sense that different practitioners and gurus would branch out from the original methods and create new exercises and processes that they have found gave good results. Each technique is no longer precise and unique as people were guided by their particular needs. Some practitioners focus on the physical aspects of yoga while others abandon the physical and focus on meditation, breathing and mantras. After all these years, 22 different yoga schools have been differentiated.


1 – Anabhava yoga


This term means the practitioner has achieved state of nothingness in which they can dissolve into themselves and cease to exist as an encapsulated entity.


2 – Ashtanga Yoga


Although this practice of yoga can be difficult and challenging, it is exceptionally popular around the world. It combines series of asanas, pranayama and vinyasas, or repeated movement series, to improve physical health and increase focus on the three main Bandha and Drishti, or focus on specific body parts or systems.


3 – Bhakti yoga


This is a very religious form of yoga practice that focuses on belief, prayer and divine love in order to realize ultimate salvation.


4 – Japa yoga


If you wish to expand your consciousness and connect with God or the Absolute, this type of yoga can help you achieve higher spiritual states. It differs from Mantra yoga because it does not lead you to perform asanas or pranayama, Dharana or Dhyana.

5 – Dhyana Yoga


A focus on meditation and concentration helps you achieve enlightenment.


6 – Guru Yoga


This term speaks to the true state of nature of a room or teacher that can maintain a state of unity with all.

7 – Gyan (Jnana) Yoga


When you use this set of exercises, you are able to discern your true self, identify a past personal freedom and focus on reality instead of whatever illusions you created for yourself.

8 – Karma Yoga


This type of yoga utilizes natural knowledge of the spirit to maintain your willpower and satisfy all needs.

9 – Kriya Yoga


This yoga focuses on the tapas, svadhyaya and isvara-pranidhana. It allows you to reach a level of control and realization that can either expand your consciousness beyond yourself or even to focus on God.

10 – Kundalini Yoga


Frequently called the King of yoga, Kundalini operates on all different facets of classical yoga. Yogi Bhajan states that it is so powerful and all encompassing, that results can be achieved up to 16 times more quickly than with other efforts, in as little as 11 minutes.

11 – Laya Yoga


All conscious recognition of body and mind dissolve into the Absolute and you will emerge on the other side understanding newfound energy that you did not know you had.

12 – Mantra Yoga


Here meditation is combined with the accurate representation of sacred hymns in order to lead you to a pure spirit, ultimate freedom and true joy.

13 – Naad Yoga


Using different sounds allows the practitioners of this yoga to purify their mind and achieve true bliss both mentally and physically.

14 – Raja Yoga


This yoga helps lead people to true enlightenment by granting them the ability to master both physical and mental capabilities.


15 – Samkhya yoga


The goal is to understand the truth about all things through a system of meditation, enforced solitude and deep concentration techniques.


16 – Siddha Yoga


This yoga type focuses on developing human abilities that are outside the norm and are truly extraordinary.


17 – Sahaj Yoga


Rather than focusing on physical health or balance, this type pairs you for an epiphany of consciousness to achieve mental and spiritual balance through meditation and self-realization.


18 – Tantra Yoga


One of the oldest forms of yoga, Tantra assists with the development of the spirit, creativity and the unique combination of the material with the spiritual, the rational with the irrational and the masculine with the feminine. It does not seek to suppress the natural energy that occurs with physical desire.


19 – Traatik (tratak) yoga


It combines physical techniques with psychological focus that allows people to explore their consciousness.


20 – Hatha yoga


This most common type of yoga is popular in modern gyms, learning centers and in classes. It is a series of exercises that focuses on physical health and building a strong body as a temple to the spirit.


21 – Shakti Yoga


This style is frequently practiced by young people because it improves strength, health and harmony. It is an active silent yoga and helps you to find meaning within yourself.


22 – Yantra Yoga


This Tibetan yoga style combines a bit of Hatha yoga with Qigong. It focuses on how the body moves rather than maintaining perfect posture. Its goal is to contribute positively to the movement of our interior energy or prana. Proper breathing techniques are also important.


Modern styles of yoga come in many varieties as well:


Bikram Yoga With the addition of heat, this variety of yoga puts the body and mind to the test. It is often practiced in tropical regions of the world, but other places use unnatural heat sources to get the same results. The goals are frequently weight loss and detoxification.


Iyengar Yoga – This incredibly soft, static yoga method focuses on body positioning during the asana exercises with the help of various tools such as blankets, bricks and rollers. This makes this form of yoga very safe and comfortable.


Tri Yoga – Both Eastern and Western cultures and traditions are combined to create this “meditation in motion” form of yoga exercises. It is great for beginners and people who are not as interested in delving into the deep philosophies or traditions of history.


Brahmachari Yoga –A traditional form of yoga performs different asanas in a similar static format to Hatha yoga, but also combines dynamic exercises such as Sukshma-vyayama and sthulayayama. Special attention is given to balancing and leveling the Nabhi or navel center and also the cleansing practices of Shatkarmas.


Patanjali Yoga – This Hatha yoga style is the closest one to the original ways outlined by Rishi Patanjali, the well-known yogi. Yoga therapy master Jitendra Das states that, “By acquiring popularity, yoga is losing its authenticity.” This form does not suffer from that problem.


Kripalu Yoga – Also called “meditation in motion,” this variety of yoga offers three tiers of different exercises first discovered and practiced when the founder experienced a spontaneous kundalini rise. It combines free-form movement, attention to the body’s own sense of freedom and wisdom and a letting go of the mind’s control.


Sivananda Yoga – This focuses on the five “correct” principles of all yoga practice and a dozen of the most important asanas, pranayama, mantras, meditations, scriptural studies, world service, mental concentration and the balance of physical and spiritual health.


Sri Sri Yoga –The international fund “Art of Life” deals with this type of unique Hatha yoga in such a way as to place the focus on a whole-world consciousness that includes both service and love to others and the planet. It is a unique combination of properties and exercises that combine both modern and traditional styles.


Power Yoga – As the name implies, this variety of yoga is a much more physical pursuit that has a goal of increased fitness combined with breathing management and balance. Concentration and relaxation techniques are also taught.


Ananda Yoga – Effective meditation and focus on the minute energies inside as well as the chakras is the main focus of this type of yoga. This mental practice can increase the beneficial effects of classical yoga poses.


Svastha Yoga –This type of therapeutic yoga, or Yoga Chikitsa, is a gentle approach to helping people with health conditions use their own body and mind to achieve healing and comfort. Essentially, the practitioner uses static asanas, detailed otsroykoy and more dynamic VinyasaKrama. A particular focus includes Pratikriyya-asana or compensating postures.


Vini Yoga – This elaborate system combines yoga practices and exercises with indigent Ayurvedic teachings. This versatile style has become quite popular in the Western world and is often considered a full therapeutic approach.


Jivamukti Yoga – This whole-life practice focuses on living vinyasa. It includes musical appreciation, dancing, chanting, meditation, study of scriptures and becoming a vegetarian.


Steam Yoga –Through the completion of traditional yoga exercises with a partner, you and he or she can have a unique Hatha Yoga experience that combines meditation, improvisation, spontaneous dancing and poses to help each other understand your higher self.


Satyananda Yoga –The focus is on therapeutic purposes, which makes this a variety perfect for beginners and senior citizens. It is very soft and gentle and focuses primarily on the physical aspect of yoga. This can be considered by some who learn from the more cultural and philosophical Bihar School of Yoga traditions from India to be a watered-down or incorrect type.


Sahaja Yoga – This variety focuses on meditation, realization of self and a focus on human consciousness that leads to inner balance.


Yoga for Children

Children’s yoga is designed to introduce them to self-awareness, attention and respect for their bodies in the form of an animal game. Not only are these exercises fun and promote physical health, they can also improve mood, focus and self-esteem. When children are involved in practicing Hatha Yoga, they often find a greater benefit much more quickly than adults do. This is because children are not yet inflexible when it comes to the mysteries of the mind and have much fewer misconceptions and preconceived notions about life and how to live it. If a child begins his or her yoga practices early, it can help them grow up harmoniously with others and self. Yoga helps children build creativity, foster integrity and understand their own uniqueness in the grand scheme of things.




Happy yoga


Yoga education and practice can now be found all around the world. Many different nations host to yoga schools with unique and individual characteristics. No matter how these diverge from each other, the ultimate focus of yoga as a whole is not changed in hundreds of years: people.


There are no set in stone guarantees with yoga. If you do the exercises diligently and with focus, it does not mean you will necessarily achieve a particular benefit. Yoga is not intended to end all suffering both physical and mental. Instead, it assists you in rediscovering or changing your impressions and attitudes. Yoga is ultimately about examining your habits, attitudes, behaviors and how all of these things manifest themselves in yourselves and your lives.


As you participate in yoga exercises, you are attempting to create the best conditions possible to allow your mind to control your life in the best way possible. This is a long process and there are no shortcuts. Development towards this end goal must be done one step at a time. Along the way, you must explore all the different possible techniques and exercises that can help you specifically target changes you need to make. “Yoga Sutras” can recommend some beneficial practices to you.


Each person on earth has his or her own unique experiences, issues and attitudes. This is why one individual yoga practice cannot be recommended to everyone. Everyone who seeks out new opportunities for understanding, discovery and correction can find a personal path to help.


No matter how proficiently you do the asana, no matter how strong and flexible your body becomes, you have not truly done yoga until you find a close unity of mind, breath and body.


Yoga is not an experience that deals solely with the external. Instead, it is something that delves into the deep internal spaces of our existence.


Yoga is ultimately about self inquiry. When you do the asanas and pranayama, you will realize new things about yourself, although you should not trust these blindly. As we build the habit of doing this, it gives us the ability to look at things in a new way and helps reduce the limits we put upon our self as we experience new things.


Careful planning is necessary to properly engage in the regular practice of yoga. Whether you have a large or small amount of free time, certain exercises must be scheduled in such a way that you can finish a set. It is important to balance the exercises you do on a regular basis.


Yoga as a philosophical and religious system primarily provides tools and techniques that allow practitioners to achieve the ultimate goals.


For most modern individuals who practice yoga, the spiritual aspect is not the focus. The expected results have more to do with physical and mental health and boosting of your natural abilities and qualities rather than sensational therapeutic outcomes.


History of Yoga

Why We Breathe

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