Evolution of Yoga
Yoga is a science not less than a 5000 years old which can help a human life to move towards higher states of harmony and peace both as an individual and a social being. Yoga is done through several breathing exercises, postures and meditation. Although mankind has entered an era of well advanced hi-tech medical facilities which makes life more comfortable, the expected quality of life still seems to be far from reality. Problems like stress, anxiety, restlessness, nervous break down, other stress related ailments, fatigue breaking up of families, suicides are all on an exponential rise. The frustrated patients are now moving towards alternative non-scientific therapies for a better living. Yoga with its multifold advantages, is gaining popularity in all parts of the world. For a common man yoga is a fashion for keeping himself healthy and fit. While for some others its a boon for developing their concentration, memory and creativity.
Need for Yoga
Many of the common health and social problems cannot be solved through germ theories, antibiotics, vaccines or surgeries. The fascinating diagnostic tools has started pointing to the role of mind on matter. Biochemical, psychological, neuro-physiological and immunological researchers are recognizing the role of lifestyle, stress, suppressed emotions and so on as the cause of many of the challenges faced today. Hence health professionals are forced to accept the paradigm shift in the approach of understanding human health problems.
As everyone knows, yoga involves different patterns of exercises and postures, practising them appropriately helps to improve muscle strength, stamina, immune stability, perpectual sharpness, intelligence, memory, emotional stability and altogther maintain a positive physical and mental health.
The term yoga means the art of joining. Yoga is that which unites. In traditional terminology, “it is the union of the individual self with the universal self”. “It is an expansion of the narrow consticted egoistic personality to an all pervasive, eternal and blissful state of reality”. As Swami Vivekananda puts it, “It is a means of compressing one’s evolution into a single life or a few months or even a few hours of one’s bodily existence”. In action, yoga is a special skill which makes the mind reach it subtler state.
Yoga can be broadly classified into four streams. As Swami Vivekananda puts them as Work, Worship, Philosophy and Psychic Control.
- The path of work involves doing action with an attitude of detachment to fruits of action. This brings steadiness of mind.
- The control of emotions is the key to the path of worship. It helps to control the emotional instabilities by properly harnessing the energy involved in it.
- The path of Philosophy is for attaining the intellectual sharpness and happiness.
- The path of Psychic Control enables us to culture our minds for achieving success in almost all endeavours of our lives. It gives a practical and easy approach to reach higher states of consciousness.
Thus these four streams of yoga helps man to develop his personality at four different levels- physical, mental, intellectual and emotional and simultaneously brings about spiritual progress.