Yoga is a quite misunderstood word. Mostly it is believed to be a set of body postures as routine exercise for keeping fit. It has much deeper meaning.
Yoga- the ancient science of living was developed in India about 5000 years back and flourished in the next 2000 years as philosophy of life. Yoga was developed to full fledged science by the learned Saint Rishi Patanjali in 300 BC.He defined Yoga in 8 steps called Ashtang Yoga. Doing Asanas or bdy postures alone is not complete yoga but a part of it. Meditation in true sense is only possible if each step is followed, stage by stage.
1) Yama or Rules or Regulations:( Non violence, truth, non stealing, celibacy and self restraint, non hoarding.)
2) Niyama or Observation:( Purity, Cleanliness, Contentment, Devotion to God, Self learning, Dedication.)
3) Asana or Postures ( a set of body postures for physical fitness )
4) Pranayama or Controlled Breathing
5) Pratayahara or Control over the sense organs.
6) Dharna or Concentration ( Fixation of mind )
7) Dhayana or Meditation: ( Contemplation, Concentration )
8) Samadhi or Immortal Stage🙁 Ultimate knowledge and control over bodily functions and mind )
There are 12 basic Asanas as shown below but with variations they number more than one hundred.
How many Asanas one should do every day. A posting on the Face Book gives a view.
” I was fortunate to go for an intensive yoga retreat in the Himalayas a few years back. Some things I learned from that experience and my own practice that I thought I’d share for International Day of Yoga–
(1) Not all asanas are meant for all people, and moreover each asana has infinite variations and you have to find the one that is appropriate for you. I can do a 90-minute session of yoga with only 3 asanas, and it’s much more effective than hurriedly cycling through a laundry list of asanas.
(2) There is a place for ‘flow’ yoga where you quickly transition from one asana to another, but for the most part, it is best to do hold an asana for as long as possible, to let it do its work on your body and psyche, and then to do shavasana in between so that your being fully absorbs the previous asana before moving to the next one. You should be in rested mode before starting a new asana.
(3) Yoga should not be made into cardiovascular exercise. It is about deep breathing, calm and complete equanimity within. You can sweat and have a high heart rate and burn lots of calories, but that is not the focus.
(4) Yoga is not about what it looks like; it’s about what it feels like.
(5) Ultimately, yoga is a solitary practice and not very conducive to large class formats.”