|Religion is realization; not talk, nor
doctrine, nor theories however beautiful
they may be. It is being and becoming, not hearing, or
acknowledging, it is the whole soul becoming
what it believes. That is religion."
Yoga and Religion
An ideal religion should be able to satisfy all types of minds, and all
types of questions. Singing, weeping and preaching of love is not all.
Modern man wants something stronger than that. He wants a little more reason
and wants to understand things step by step and more rationally. Hinduism
strives to be such a religion - "a religion that will be equally
acceptable to all minds, equally philosophic, equally emotional, equally
mystic and equally conducive to action".
Like people of most other religions, Hindus have associated the ideas of
holiness, purity, truth, omnipresence, and such other ideals with various
icons and forms. But the fundamental difference is that for Hindus, religion
does not mean an intellectual ascent to certain doctrines. It is centrally
focused on realization. As said Vivekananda, "Man is to become divine
by realizing the divine."
Swami Vivekananda has succinctly explained this as follows: "To the
worker, it is union between men and the whole of humanity; to the mystic,
between his lower and Higher Self; to the lover, union between himself and
the God of love; and to the philosopher, it is union of all existence. This
is what is meant by Yoga."
Theologically speaking, there are four divisions of Yoga. In Sanskrit, they
are called Raja-Yoga, Karma-Yoga, Bhakti-Yoga and Jnana Yoga. And the person
who seeks this kind of a union is called a Yogi. The worker is called the
Karma-Yogi. One who seeks this union through mysticism is called a
Raja-Yogi. One who searches this union in love is a Bhakti-Yogi. And one who
seeks this Yoga through philosophy is called the Jnana-Yogi.
Yoga is not a religion...in fact you might say that it is an 'umbrella'.
Under it and in it and all around it contains all the worlds' religions,
belief systems and philosophies. Yoga is not a religion...it is a universal
concept that brings things scattered together. That may be people, ideas or
simply the exercises that helps one to bring him/herself together.
Yoga and Meditation go hand in hand and Pranayama is an integral part of
both. The Asanas' we practice (postures) stimulate nerve energy. Of course
we all know that nerve energy passes along the spine and sends impulses to
our brain and through-out the body. Stimulating and increasing nerve energy
through-out the body gives us more energy, clarity and awareness (hightened
Pranayama is working with or using breathing techniques to integrate
movement with breath. Prana means 'life force'. By practicing various
Pranayama we then stimulate our energy centers (chakras) and open up latent
mysteries, powers, energies that may be asleep in many of us. This awakening
in combination with inner reflection through meditation is the beginning of
the awakening of the potential of human beings...
Origin of Yoga
Yoga originates from the East. The earliest writings about Yoga appear in
the Bhagavad- Gita about 10,000 years ago. From India the Yogic techniques
were taught to the monks in the Himalayas and they in turn (with some
changes) taught it to the villagers who needed to learn how to protect
themselves.....these teachings evolved and became what we know today as
A Healthy Excercise
Yoga is a good way to exercise. It combines various styles that can calm
and relax your being as well stimulate your nerves, work you muscles and
condition your organs. It is an over all tonic that helps the entire
organism. It can be practiced at home every day for just a few minutes or in
a studio environment where you are guided through the postures step by step.
or Raja Yoga
Yoga literally means " union", " connections", or "oneness".
Today, we typically understand "yoga" to mean a series of gentle
stretching exercises; but in fact, it can refer to any of a number of
physical and mental disciplines, all of which are designed to reunite us
with our sacred energy source: the divine.
In the second century C.E., the Indian yogi Patanjali - who is sometimes
referred to as the Father of Yoga - codified the millennia-old yoga
tradition in his Yoga Sutra. Patanjali outlined eight specific principles,
each of which is an entire practice path intended to reunite the seeker with
The Eight Steps
- Yamas - Ethical behavior, truth, non-violence, non-stealing,
- Niyamas - Self discipline, purity, surrender of ego
- Asanas - Bodily Postures
- Pranayama - Breathing and control of the vital breath force
- Pratahahara - Turning inward, releasing the Ego & senses
- Dhyrana - Concentration of the mind
- Dyana - Meditation
- Samadi - Transcendence