Yoga, a physical, mental and spiritual practice originated in India and traces back its origin to pre-Vedic period of the 5th & 6th centuries BCE. Yoga at its broadest comes from the root word Yuj which means to unite. In Bhgavada Gita which dates back to 6th-3rd century BCE, Lord Krishna speaks of four types of yoga - Bhakti or devotion; Jnana or knowledge; Karma or action; and Dhyana or concentration (often referred to as Raja yoga, though not all sources agree on the term) - as paths to achieve Moksha, the ultimate goal.
Yoga therapy is the most qualified way of rejuvenation and revitalization. The most practiced and learned forms of Yoga is the Iyengar Yoga, which became popular in the west through the teachings of Guruji B.K.S. Iyengar. Iyengar Yoga is the most popular and approachable form for the beginners. The constant practice enhances the adaptability and stamina on the physical – but most importantly on the mental level – it amends and refines the posture and enriches concentration. It unclogs the mind to peace and serenity ant thus promotes well-being.
Iyengar Yoga is the most profound technique of Yoga as it emphasizes precision and alignment and priorities quality over quantity. It focuses on the moves with ease in a body and work with the limitations of each unique individual. Thus, it makes the safety precedence while performing the different Yoga Asanas. The style of Iyengar Yoga demonstrates Yoga postures to be held for longer durations than in other styles, allowing tight muscles to lighten, lengthen and relax. Although practicing Yoga enhances and improves health, this is not the main and foremost goal of Yoga.
The true goal and purpose of Yoga is much more than simple health objectives as explained by Iyengar is as quoted below:
“Asanas are not meant for physical fitness, but for conquering the elements, energy, and so on. So, how to balance the energy in the body, how to control the five elements, how to balance the various aspects of the mind without mixing them all together, and how to be able to perceive the difference between the gunas, and to experience that there is something behind them, operating in the world of man - that is what asanas are for. The process is slow and painstaking, but a steady inquiry facilitates a growing awareness.” – B.K.S. Iyengar
Unlike the modern day tools and techniques used to remain healthy and fit Yoga in it to impart to the practitioners than just stable health and rejuvenated body. Bhagavad Gita accentuates and stresses that regardless of the path an individual embarks upon, yoga is an individual journey which requires lifelong dedication, consistent practice and devotion to God. Another reference, The Katha Upanishada which dates back to 800-600 BCE states that - “tām yogam iti manyante sthirām indriya-dhāraṇām, apramattas tadā bhavati, Yogo hi prabhavāpyayau. Yama.” Which means - “The firm control of the senses is regarded as Yoga. At that time one gets careful, for, Yoga is acquired and lost.”
The Svetasvatara Upanishada 600-500 BCE states the results and outcomes of a consistent practitioner of Yoga as below:
- When the fivefold qualities of yoga consisting of the earth, water, fire, air and ether are firmly established in the body, then in that body strengthened by the fire of yoga, there is no place for sickness, old age and death.
- Lightness of being, health, steadiness, improvement in the complexion of the body, perfection in the voice, the sweetness of the body odor, slight excretions is said to be the first results of the progress of yoga.
- Just as a mirror shines brightly after it has been cleaned, so does the yogi who has realized the true nature of his soul becomes integrated as one in his body, attains sense of fulfillment and remains free from sorrow.
- Through the real nature of his own soul, as if by a lamp held on the nature of Brahman, when he sees, his own real nature as one who is unborn and completely pure, He is freed from all the fetters at once.
Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre