The term “Yoga” is derived from the Sanskrit word “Yuj”, meaning, “to unite”, or “to join”. It brings a perfect harmony between the mind as well as body. We can also say that it is the union of the individual consciousness with the universal consciousness. The ultimate aim is to attain self-realization, or “moksha”. Then, a person will be free from all his fears and sufferings and he will attain his ultimate freedom. A person who does yoga is a “Yogi”.
Lord Shiva is the first yogi or “Adiyogi”. According to history, Lord Shiva poured his knowledge to the seven sages, who in turn took it to different parts of the world. Agastya, one of the seven sages brought it to India, from where it took its full expression. Further, Maharishi Pathanjali organized yoga in a certain format. This is called as Yoga Sutras. “Sutra” means thread. Yoga sutras contain 196 sutras which explain all about the spiritual journey of yoga. According to the Sutras of Pathanjali “Yoga is the calming down of the fluctuations/patterns of consciousness”.
Here are some of the common types of yoga:
- Kundalini: “Kundalini” is the “life force energy”, that is, the energy coiled at the base of the spine. This type is all about unlocking the energy present at the base of the spine to relieve stress and negativity. It includes a series of breathing and warm-up exercises along with some challenging poses.
- Vinyasa: This is “Flow Yoga”. Here, the poses are in co-ordination with the breath, that is, in a continuous flow.
- Hatha: This is all about balancing the body and mind. It includes a set of physical as well as breathing exercises to bring in balance to the body as well as to the mind.
- Ashtanga: These are 6 series of poses. They are taught in order. Each new pose or series starts only when the person masters the previous one.
- Yin: This is a slower style. It improves blood circulation and enhances flexibility. Also, It has its roots in the martial arts.
- Iyengar: It is suitable for people of all ages. Compared to other types, it is less intense.