Meaning of Yoga

Yoga is an ancient Hindu principle, but one that has gained a lot of popularity these day in both India and internationally. Yoga is a Hindu philosophy that preaches the attainment of inner peace by controlling the body and mind.

Before gaining popularity, ‘yoga’ was a huge part of Hinduism, Buddhism (including Vajrayana and Tibetan Buddhism) and Jainism. Yoga incorporates the physical, mental, and spiritual. It claims that if all activity of body, mind, and will are suppressed then the self will recognize its independence of them and reach liberation.

Yoga developed around the sixth and fifth centuries BCE. It has been speculated that it pre-dates the Vedas. The earliest Yoga practices are described in the Buddhist Nikayas. There are many schools and practices of Yoga, the most famous being Hatha yoga and Raja yoga. Raja yoga is the control of the mind, and incorporates meditation, whereas Hatha yoga incorporates the asanas and focuses on physical exercise.

The term ‘yoga’ is Sanskrit in nature and is believed to mean “to add”, “to join”, “to unite”, or “to attach”. It comes from the Sanskrit ‘yuj’ or ‘yog’, hence it takes on the meanings such as “combined”, “connection”, “contact”, “method”, “application”, “addition”, and “performance”.

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