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Yoga – Unity or Oneness

Yoga is a scientific system of physical and mental practices that originated in India more than three thousand years ago. Its purpose is to help each one of us achieve our highest potential and to experience enduring health and happiness. With Yoga, we can extend our healthy, productive years far beyond the accepted norm and, at the same time, improve the quality of our lives.
Yoga is a science of right living and it works when integrated in our daily life. It works on all aspects of the person: the physical, mental, emotional, psychic and spiritual. The word yoga means ‘unity’ or ‘oneness’ and is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘yuj’ which means ‘to join’.
The word Yoga automatically calls to mind Sage “Patanjali” the founder and father of Yoga. He lived around three centuries before Christ, and was a great philosopher and grammarian. The aim of Patanjali Yoga is to set man free from the cage of matter. Mind is the highest form of matter and man freed from this dragnet of Chitta or Ahankara (mind or ego) becomes a pure being.

WHAT YOGA IS NOT ?
There are too many misconceptions clouding the science of Yoga. People perceive it to be some kind of black or white magic, sorcery, physical or mental debauchery through which miraculous feats can be performed. For some it is an extremely dangerous practice which should be limited to only those who have renounced the world. Few others think it to be a kind of mental and physical acrobatism that is compatible only to a Hindu mind.

PATHS OF YOGA
* Raja yoga involves mastery of the mind and senses in Samadhi; essentially the advanced aspects of Patanjali’s astanga yoga.
* Hatha yoga is the yoga of the will which involves cultivating ones energy to arouse Kundalini primarily by means of asana and pranayama.
* Mantra yoga involves reciting sacred syllables to reach perfection.
* Laya yoga involves absorption in god to experience ultimate bliss.
* Bhakti yoga requires absolute devotion to god to achieve the ultimate goal.
* Karma yoga achieves this through selfless work without thought of personal reward.
* Jnana yoga is the yoga of knowledge cultivating the discrimination between spiritual reality and the illusion of the material world.

YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI
* Yama – Universal ethics: Non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, sexual restraint and non-acquisitiveness.
* Niyama – Principles of self conduct: purity, contentment, intense dedication or austerity, study of self and scriptures and self-surrender.
* Asana – practice of the postures.
* Pranayama – Breath control.
* Pratyahara – withdrawal and control of the senses.
* Dharana – concentration.
* Dhyana – meditation.
* Samadhi – a state of higher consciousness where the sense of self (ego) dissolves in the object of meditation and the individual self exists in its own pure nature.

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