What is Hindu Yoga?
The word yoga means “to unite”. It is a path to unite the body, mind and spirit. Patanjali’s yoga sutra says yoga is the means to cease the mind’s agitation. The origins of
occur in the hoary past of India’s history. Sage Patanjali is said to have identified and expressed the various disciplines of yoga in an orderly fashion.
Purpose of Hindu Yoga
Yoga’s purpose is to lead the mind to silence. In this calm, still state, the mind can reflect objectively on reality, without being led astray by subjective distortions. Yoga is integral to Hinduism, though in today’s global village, it has been adapted by people of diverse cultures and religions to improve their mind and body. Hindus use yoga as a pragmatic path to attain self-realization and liberation from the cycle of birth and death.
Goal of Hindu Yoga
Ascetics use yoga to overcome their ego, emotions, attachments and desires. They wish to empty their mind of all negativities and become still and void. The goal of yoga meditation is to overcome the distraction of thoughts and help the mind rest in a blissful, still state. Slowly, the yoga practitioner becomes detached from materialistic desires. Their mind becomes free from egoism, hatred, greed, lust and other negative emotions, and attains contentment and bliss.
History of Hindu Yoga
Harappan culture dating back to 3000 B.C. reveals traces of yoga practices. Excavations show figures seated in yoga postures. Yogic philosophy has its basis in the Upanishads, which reveal that yoga practice can be used to search inward to understand the mind and senses. Yoga meditation has its origin in the Vedic period. In India’s hoary history, yoga philosophy has influenced other paths of spirituality such as Buddhism and Jainism.
Regular and consistent yoga meditation helps the practitioner overcome all passions. Then, their mind rests in a state of mystical communion known as Samadhi. This is a state of relaxed awareness which is the ultimate goal of yoga practice. The mind becomes free from mental impressions.
Types of Hindu Yoga
Depending upon one’s personality and preference, one can practice any of many types of yoga, which include Jnana Yoga (path of knowledge), Bhakti Yoga (path of devotion), Raja Yoga, Laya Yoga or Mantra Yoga.