Nowadays, almost everyone talks about yoga. Thanks to the initiatives by the government, Yoga has become very popular throughout the world. The International Yoga Day was celebrated in more than 170 countries.
Yoga has becomes so popular that astronauts on space mission were seen performing Yoga in the space.
During one of my yoga session for working women, I asked a simple question: “What do you understand by yoga?”
The participants came up with different answers:
Someone said: “Yoga means asanas.”
Another said, “It is aimed for mind, body and soul.”
To keep oneself healthy Yoga need to be practiced daily.
Listening to all the answers, I feel really good that all were correct to certain extent.
According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva is the progenitor of Yoga. He gave this knowledge to Goddess Parvati. It is believed that a fish was listening to them while Lord Shiva was teaching Goddess. Later the fish took rebirth as Matsyendranath, who taught Yoga to the mankind. Thus, Yoga becomes gift to us by God and Rishis.
Most of the people think that Yoga means Yogasanas, but this is not correct completely. According to Mahirishi Patanjali, Yoga has eight limbs called Astanga Yoga. It includes Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharna, Dhayana and Samadhi. Yama & Niyama are the social and self discipline respectively. Asanas, as we all know are the posture that makes our body firm and pleasant. Pranayama helps in retaining and regulating breath. Pratyahara is the withdrawal of the senses from the external world. Dharna is fixing the mind on an object. Dhyana is the continuous flow of the thought. Last but not the least is the Samadhi, it is the stage in which a person experiences oneness with the universe, in short mind become still.
So, Yoga means all the above, Asanas are the one part of Yoga.
There are different definitions of Yoga in different ancient scriptures. Few will be discussed here:
According to Maharishi Patanjali, definition of Yoga is:
“Yogah chitta vritti Nirodhah” (1.2 PYS)
It means Yoga is a process of gaining control over mind. There is lot of thought which continuously flows in our minds. There are times that come in life when we want just peace in our mind. For that we go to a place alone or want to touch the calm nature or any other activities which soothes our mind. These activities help one for few moments, later it regains into the similar condition. Yoga is the only way which controls the thoughts following s in one’s mind.
According to Bhagawad Gita, definition of Yoga is:
“Yogah Karmasu Kauslam” (2.50 Bhagawad Gita)
Yoga is dexterity in action. The dexterity is in maintaining relaxation and awareness in action. Relaxed action is in the process and efficiency in action is an outcome. It described that completing the task with relaxed mind and performing it skillfully is the Yoga. Women working in kitchen gave her skill of cooking with her full attentiveness, make the food tasty, but when she is somewhat thinking of something else or tired, food she cooked becomes not so tasty. It simplifies that any work with full attention and relaxed state make work better.
Again, according to Bhagawat Gita, Yoga is defined as:
“Samatvam Yoga Uchyata” (2.48 Bhagwad Gita)
It means Yoga is equanimity. There should be a balanced maintained in life. Some of us work anxiously, work as a workaholic, we work to gain name, fame, wealth, position and power, that’s makes us stressed and full of anxiety. When the outcome is not in our favour, we become more stressed. This result more and more stress and agitation in our life. Simple act of taking a break from the stress can help us, but our anxiety to achieve something made our mind to think continuously towards our goal even when we are on break from work. Yoga helps us to achieve calmness, when we work without thinking of its outcomes and remain peaceful and balanced whether the result is good or bad. Then, one can say, equanimity is Yoga.
Therefore, Yoga is for the mind, body and soul. By practicing Yoga, we can keep ourselves healthy. Thus, it will lead to a peaceful life. A healthy and peaceful person is the achiever and winner.