Yoga is an ancient Hindu exercise for relaxation and self discipline. It includes various postures, breath control exercises and simple meditation. Yoga originated as a form of ancient rituals conducted by the Brahmins of nearly 5000 years ago. The modern yoga that we practice today has developed through centuries, moving from ancient classical yoga to the modern yoga.
Long Essay on Yoga in English
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Long Essay on Yoga (1650 Words)
Yoga is a culmination of various breathing and postural exercises aimed at providing relaxation to the practitioner as well as giving him good health and vitality. Yoga originated in northern part of India, during Indus-Saraswati civilization around 5000 years ago. Since then it has evolved through many stages. Modern Yoga that we practice today is widely practiced throughout the world, having billions of followers.
Classifications of Yoga
The modern Yoga as practiced today has evolved through many stages over centuries. A brief description of the development of Yoga through ages is provided below-
This form of Yoga originated in Indus-Saraswati civilization in North India around 5000 years ago. The word “Yoga” was first mentioned in Rig Veda. Rig Veda contains rituals in form of songs and exercises to praise as well as invoke inner spiritual powers. Initially these rituals were verbally passed on for years before being written on fragile leaves, making them more susceptible to damage. These rituals were performed by Yogis or Rishis during Yagna for promoting well being of individual, society and World. Patanjali, also considered as the father of yoga, gave first systematic presentation of Yoga defined as Yoga Sutras. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra has much influence on the evolution of modern day Yoga.
Post Classical Yoga
This technique of Yoga was developed by the Yoga masters, a few centuries after Patanjali. They discarded the teaching of ancient Vedas and developed a new form of Yoga, describing human body as a tool to achieve enlightenment. They developed Tantra Yoga to cleanse body and mind. These techniques of body and spiritual cleaning and their connection is what we know today as Hatha Yoga.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s Yoga masters started travelling to the west, attracting number of followers. In the Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893 Swami Vivekananda vowed thousands of attendees with his lecture on Yoga and religions of the world. Yogis like T. Krishnamacharya and Swami Sivananda were instrumental in promoting Hatha Yoga during 1920-1930. T.Krishnamacharya opened a first Hatha Yoga institute in Mysore in 1924 and 1936. Swami Sivananda founded Divine life society on the banks of river Ganges. Modern day yoga has become a phenomenon, practiced by millions throughout the globe. It includes breathing and postural exercises for attaining good health and spiritual enlightenment.
Types of Modern Yoga
Modern day Yoga can be classified into 11 main types of Yogas as given below-
1) Hatha Yoga
Great for beginners as it has slow paced breathing and postural exercises.
2) Iyengar Yoga
Founded by B.K.S. Iyengar this form of Yoga mixes breathing and bodily exercises. Different types of postures are maintained while having controlled breathing for obtaining a relaxed body and soul.
3) Kundalini Yoga
Intense Yoga practiced aimed for releasing the energy from you kundalini said to be coiled or trapped in your lower spine. This Yoga may include fast breathing exercises along with the chanting of Hymns and mantras.
4) Ashtanga Yoga
Not for beginners as it contains challenging physical postures and is difficult to perform. Ashtanga Yoga begins with Surya Namaskar and moves towards a series of physical postures standing or lying.
5) Vinyasa Yoga
Vinyasa Yoga evolved from Ashtanga Yoga in 1980s. It contains a series of bodily exercises coordinated with controlled breathing. Vinyasa yoga has various different styles and poses and it completely depends on the teacher, which style he chooses.
6) Bikram Yoga
Includes a set of 26 basic postures to be performed twice in regulated temperature and humidity. This style of Yoga involves heavy sweating.
7) Yin Yoga
Constitute seated postures to hold for longer period of times. The time may wary from few seconds to few minutes. It is a kind of meditative yoga practice which helps you relax.
8) Restorative Yoga
Restorative Yoga is a set of physical postures to clean or free your mind after a long and tiring day. It helps you sink deeper into relaxation by spending more time on fewer postures.
9) Prenatal Yoga
Prenatal Yoga is carefully adopted for women during pregnancies. It focuses on breathing and bonding with the baby.
10) Anusara Yoga
It is a modern day version of Hatha Yoga focusing mainly on mind- body- heart connection.
11) Jivamukti Yoga
Jivamukti Yoga is mainly Vinyasa style Yoga, infused with spiritual teachings. Jivamukti Yoga starts with chants and develops a connection between earth as living beings professing the philosophy of vegetarianism.
Advantages of Yoga
Apart from making you healthier, practicing Yoga has psychological benefits too. Some of the advantages of Yoga are given below-
- Improved concentration.
The breathing and meditative exercises in Yoga will calm down your mind and help keep away the distractive thoughts, improving your concentration.
- Reduced anxiety.
Breathing exercises are effective in reducing depression.
- Relaxes mind and body.
Performing Yoga improves blood circulation and alters your heart rate, bringing it down to resting heart rate by applying body postures.
- Better posture.
Practicing yoga helps in keeping the spine erect and consistent practice of Yoga makes spine stronger.
- Healthier bones.
Many postures in yoga require you to lift your own weight, making your bones stronger.
- Increased blood flow.
Many breathing and postural exercises in Yoga help increase blood flow to the heart, brain and other organs, making them healthier.
- Healthy heart.
When you practice yoga you improve blood flow to your heart making it healthier.
- Improved digestion.
Yoga helps in easing constipation and effective removal of bowel waste. The poses and exercises involved in Yoga, help in effective transportation of food improving digestion and effective removal of bowel waste eliminating constipation.
International Day of Yoga
The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on 11th December 2014
to observe June 21 every year as the International Yoga day. June 21 is also the longest day of the year in the Northern hemisphere, due to summer solstice. It is on this day according to Hindu mythology that Shiva; the first Yogi (Adi Yogi) started imparting his knowledge of Yoga to the mankind. On this day all the followers of Yoga practice Yoga in large groups to spread awareness about the health and psychological advantages of Yoga. Throughout the world millions of followers gather and perform Yoga and inspire as well as motivate millions others to join in.
In India the day is celebrated with much passion as India is the Country where Yoga originated. Events are organized at Red Fort, Raj path and other important places in Delhi, in which thousands followers take part in performing Yoga alongside with political dignitaries including the Prime Minister. Similar events are organized in other parts of India for spreading awareness about Yoga. Today Yoga is developed as a craze in many western countries and is performed by millions.
Modern day Yoga has developed into a craze with millions of followers worldwide. Yoga is a tool for spiritually connecting with your body and attain enlightenment. Practicing Yoga consistently will keep you healthy, fit, relaxed and happy. It keeps negative thoughts away from your mind and helps you in maintaining positive attitude towards life. Ancient yoga was aimed to attaining world peace by achieving individual spiritual enlightenment.