The word YOGA means “TO UNITE”; “TO JOIN TOGETHER”
YOGA is a discipline, which joins together the mind, body, emotion, breath and spirit in perfect harmony. PATANJALI (one of the world’s greatest sages, who lived in India somewhere between 200 BC and 200 AD), is considered to be a founder of the formal Yoga philosophy known as Raja Yoga (Royal Yoga). He defines Yoga as: “THE SETTLING OF THE MIND INTO SILENCE”
Patanjali devised a system called the “eight-limbed path of Yoga”
- Yama – abstinces
- Niyama – observances
- Asana – postures
- Pranayama – breath control
- Pratyahara – withdrawal of the senses
- Dharana – concentration
- Dhyana – meditation
- Samandhi – blissful state
Traditionally there are 5 branches of Yoga:
Bhakti Yoga – spiritual practise of loving devotion to God and unconditional love for all
Jnana Yoga – Jnana means knowledge. Yoga of study, developing wisdom and asking questions about our true nature and life.
Karma Yoga – a discipline of selfless action (joy of work alone, not the rewards of work
which leads to self-purification.
Raja Yoga – Royal Yoga – works on the control of the mind. It involves meditation, contemplation, self-discipline and ethical codes.
Hatha Yoga – holistic yoga path aimed at balancing the mind & body via physical exercise, breathing techniques, relaxation and meditation.
Hatha Yoga is the main branch of Yoga practised around the world. Within Hatha Yoga, we recognize many styles, which were developed by different practitioners e.g.: Sivananda Integral Yoga, Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga or Iyengar Yoga etc.
Whatever type of yoga you chose to practise on the mat, it is usually straightforward. The real challenge and test of yoga happens off the mat. Can we integrate what we have learned, discovered and changed on the mat, with our surroundings? Taking yoga outside and create a harmonious relationship with the external world, might be a true challenge, but it may also result in a richer and more fulfilling life.