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Yoga, religion, California and more...

Tags: yoga

What is yoga? As per Wikipedia - Yoga refers to traditional physical and mental disciplines that originated in India. The word is associated with meditative practices. Major branches of yoga include Bikram yoga, Isha yoga, Rāja Yoga, Gyana Yoga, Karma Yoga, Kriya Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Hatha Yoga. Other forms of yoga known and practiced in the west and all over the world are - bikram yoga, kundalini yoga, hot yoga, iyengar yoga, vinyasa yoga and even Christian Yoga.
The Sanskrit word yoga has many meanings and is derived from the Sanskrit root "yuj", meaning "to unite". Someone who is dedicated to practicing yoga is called a yogini.


What are all these different types and which is right for me? Should I do kriya yoga or moksha yoga or is raja yoga appropriate for me? How do I choose between the various yoga schools? Should I do yoga at home or go to a yoga studio or the local YMCA?
A few years ago, I used to think that a few fit women practiced yoga and meditation until I came across a flyer of  Sadhguru J Vasudev. Little did I know that this yogi and mystic from India would change my life.
When I first looked at the flyer, I frowned at it, thinking here is another swami, dressed in orange robes, come to hit the gullible people of US… offering “hundred dollar blessings”. I shook my head in disgust.
A few nights later while flicking tv channels, there he was on an obscure local channel – Sadhguru Vasudev, introducing Inner Engineering one of his basic program. That was it….  

Where did yoga originate? Yoga originated somewhere between 20,000 to 40,000 years ago. Shiva also know as the Adhi Yogi or Adhi Guru imparted the teachings to seven rishis in the Himalayas who then spread it all over the world. It is interesting to note that there are some Americans who think that yoga originated in California.

Is Yoga Hindu?
Yoga is non religious. Yoga has nothing to do with the so called hindu religion. In fact there is no such thing as the Hindu religion. Hindu comes from Sindhu  which is a river, The Persian people called the people who lived in India or the Indus valley as "Hindus". In their language "S" becomes "H". For example in Persian the word Asura of Indian Vedic origin became the word Ahura of Persian mythology. So the Sindhus – people living along this river became Hindus. The term Hindu was used primarily to describe a  geographical located society and was made up of people of different religions. It is the confused British who first coined "Hinduism" and called it a religion.

Is yoga a religion? If I practice yoga am I religious?
NO.
In religion, the following are usually a part of religion – worship, services to attend, rituals, clergy or a priest to lead religious services, an institutional structure, membership procedures, congregation, temple, churches, mosques or places of worship and deities. Yoga has none of these.
BUT religion can be helpful. Yoga does not conflict with any religion. Yoga encourages meditation on and cultivation of lovingness, compassion, non-violence, truthfulness, goodwill and acceptance, as well as training the senses, non-possessiveness, and other such virtues. Religion also recommends cultivating such virtues.
Then what about meditation? Is that religious?
Common people may sometimes consider meditation as prayer or worship. But it is not so. Meditation simply means bringing awareness. Whatever activity you do with awareness is meditation or meditating. Watching your breath is one of the most common form of meditation; listening to the music is meditation and can make you become meditative. This is not a technique but a state that one can be in. Some years ago meditation was considered as something not meant for modern people, but now it has become popular with all kinds of people especially the so called intellectuals. Published scientific studies and growing medical research has proven the benefits of meditating and meditation beyond doubt. To ignore this any more is stupidity. Most successful people are meditators or practice yoga in some form, including well known astronauts, rocket scientists, doctors, engineers, priests, Christians, Muslims, biologists, philosophers, writers, actors, celebrities, millionaires and many Pastors.


Some basic information on different types yogas found in the US-

What is Bikram yoga? Popularized by Bikram Choudhury in the US, BikramYoga is a system of yoga that Bikram Choudhury synthesized from traditional yoga techniques. His studios are located all over the US and can be found here . This practice has been developed from Hata yoga and is a 26 postures sequence which helps the body to maintain optimum health and maximum function. Their website states that Bikram Yoga can be practiced under the guidance of a certified Bikram Yoga Teacher at any one of their affiliated bikram yoga studios. Hatha Yoga flushes away the waste products in the system and the toxins from the glands and organs of our body bringing nourishment to every cell of our body so that each one can perform its function and keep the body healthy. Bikram Yoga also employs heat to facilitate sweating out the impurities out of the body thus like a cleansing process.

What is Isha Yoga – Ishayoga is a customized system of yoga. Isha Yoga distills powerful, ancient yogic methods for a modern person, creating peak physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. This basis of total wellbeing accelerates inner growth, allowing each individual to tap the wealth of vibrant life within oneself. Sadhguru's introductory program, Inner Engineering, introduces Shambhavi Maha Mudra - a simple but powerful kriya (inner energy process) for deep inner transformation.
The Inner Engineering approach is a modern antidote to stress, and presents simple but powerful processes from yogic science to purify the system and increase health and inner well being. Program components include guided meditations and transmission of the sacred Shambhavi Maha Mudra. When practiced on a regular basis, these tools have the potential to enhance one's experience of life on many levels.

Health
•Optimize health and vitality and promote emotional balance
•Reduce stress and increase ability to handle stressful situations
•Increase and maintain high energy levels throughout the day
•Prevent chronic diseases like Asthma, Allergies, Sinusitis, Hypertension, Diabetes, Obesity, Rheumatism, Arthritis, Epilepsy, Insomnia, Back pain, Skin and eye ailments, Migraine

Performance
•Enhance focus, concentration & memory
•Raise productivity and efficiency
•Improve communication & inter-human relationships

Experience
•Establish a positive & open approach towards life
•Evaluate personal values and life goals
•Generate inner peace and fulfillment
•Transcend limitations and fears
•Live & experience each moment to the fullest

What is Raja Yoga – the word Raja means royal or king like and yoga means union, so raja yoga literally means royal yoga. All forms of yoga, whether rajayoga  or isha yoga all employ  the body and the mind using meditation to advance one's aspirations toward liberation. Raja yoga meditation helps one realize the ultimate potential within oneself.



This post first appeared on Alternative Treatments, Health, Yoga & Meditation, please read the originial post: here

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