Types of Yoga
Yoga, now recognized globally as a highly effective form of alternative medicine, originated in India about 5,000
years ago as a discipline that sought to unite the moral, mental and physical aspects of human life to contribute to the overall
wellness of the individual. Yoga is believed to have been propounded by the sage Patanjali (2nd century BC). Patanjali, in his treatise
(known as the sutras) of yoga, explained the basics of yoga, its benefits and its steps (padas), without going into the details of what
postures to adopt, how to breathe and so on.
Patanjali's sutras consisted of four padas:
Samadhi Pada (on Contemplation and Meditation)
Sadhna Pada (on the Steps to Union)
Vibhuti Pada (on the Achievement of Union and its Benefits)
Kaivalya Pada (on Illumination and Freedom)
These, therefore, are the basics- in chronological order- of the course an initiation into yoga takes. The science of yoga
consists of various disciplines, which include Gyanyoga or Dhyanyoga (exercises for the mind and intellect); Hathayoga (physical
exercises) and Karmayoga (yogic discipline in daily life). Each of these is a combination of techniques- ranging from meditation to
controlled breathing and yogic postures (known as asanas), all of them part of a carefully-developed science which aims at relieving the
mind of stress, purging the body of its ills, calming and cleansing the system and maintaining a delicate balance between all that comes
together in a human being.
Yoga, if practiced regularly and diligently, will not just relax and rejuvenate the body, mind and soul, but also prolong
life. These two aspects of yoga- its ability to promote good health (arogya) and its contribution towards longevity (chirayu)- makes it
an all-encompassing way of life.
You may, of course, be a trained and conscientious practitioner of yoga yourself. But if, like most of us, you
cannot find the time to fit yoga into a busy office-and-home schedule, then the next best thing is to treat yourself to a rejuvenating
holiday at one of the ever-increasing number of yoga retreats and spas across India. Although Rishikesh is generally regarded as the
main centre for yoga, spas, health centres and even hotels are mushrooming in Goa, Kerala, Uttaranchal and other areas- all great places
that combine naturally beautiful locales with the chance to rejuvenate yourself!