The word Yoga has
its roots in Sanskrit and means 'to join'.
Traditionally it was believed Yoga joined the
individual self (Jivatma) with the universal self (Parmatma).
Developed in India,
Yoga is a spiritual practice that has been evolving
for the last 5,000 years. It is a way of life to
control the mind, body and soul. Yoga helps to achieve
the rather elusive state of contentment that no
materialistic luxury of the modern world can bring. It
also helps to strike a perfect balance between the
mind and body and harmony between man and the universe
through yogic kriyas, Yogasanas, Chitta shuddhir and
It has become the
subject of modern scientific research and evaluation
resulting in the recognition of some of its influences
on the human body and metabolism.
A great Indian
teacher of this century , Sri Aurobindo, regarded Yoga as a methodical effort towards
self-perfection that involved development of the
latent potential on the physical, mental, intellectual
and spiritual levels.
The most popular form of Yoga practiced in this
country is Hatha yoga, which is concerned with body
control and consists of a series of Asanas.
The word HATHA is made up of HA meaning
sun and THA meaning moon. The body is enlivened
by positive and negative currents and when these are
in complete equilibrium we enjoy perfect health.
Although Hatha yoga is essentially concerned with
control of the body, it has a much wider effect. Hatha
Yoga helps in reaching a healthy body in which all
systems function efficiently and this in turn calms
According to the description given in Kathopnishad,
when the senses are calm, when mind is at rest, when
the intellect is not disturbed- that it is the highest
stage. This steady control of the senses and mind
is called Yoga.
Patanjali has described Yoga as "Chitta
Vritti nirodh". It is the restraint or control (Nirodh) of mental (Chitta) modifications or
fluctuations (Vritti). Yoga is the means through which
the restless mind is soothed and energy is directed in
a constructive manner.