Conceived by the great sages in their quest for self-realization, it has come to be recognized during its; long travails from the hermitages to the cities, as the science of man, a philosophy old life, a code of conduct, an attitude and an approach, as well as an art of living which is capable not only of ensuring physical well-being,mental peace harmony, moral elevation and spiritual uplift of man but also of transforming man from his gross animal existence to the sublime heights of divinity. It must, however be kept in mind that it is a long and arduous journey calling for severance, persistence, dedication and total surrender.The eight steps are:
YAMA – Conditional yoga behavior, personal and social
NIYAMA – Attitude sublimate to yoga norms
ASANA – Discipline of the physical body
PRANAYAMA – Control over bio energy through respiratory action
PRATYAHARA – Withdrawal of the senses inwards through abstraction
DHARNA – Concentration
DHYANA – Meditation
SAMADHI – Trans consciousness
Of these, the first five, which border on the Psychosomatic Approach, are referred to as External (Bahiranga) yoga, popularly known as Hatha Yoga, while the latter three, which directly affect the psyche are known as internal (Antaranga) yoga, popularly known as Raja Yoga. It is almost impossible to try internal yoga (Raja Yoga) for the average man before accomplishing the external one (Hatha Yoga). The respective sequence of the eight steps as the standard methodology of yoga.
Yoga is based on a deep understanding of man and his position in this world and was the first system evolved in the world to recognize the connection and the interaction between body and mind.It studies in depth the very structure of the human personality, through analysis the psychological complexities and the cause of human pain, sorrow and suffering. It has laid down psychosomatic means through its various psycho physiological processes for dealing with the body mind complex and tries to harmonize and integrate the human personality at all levels and stages of life.
Yoga is basically a way of LIFE which has been evolved as a system to go beyond the personality – complex and achieve absolute freedom-liberation of the spirit from the matter.
Benefits of Yoga.
The physical benefits: Creates a toned, flexible, and strong body. Improves respiration, energy, and vitality. Helps to maintain a balanced metabolism. Promotes cardiac and circulatory health. Relieves pain. Helps you look and feel younger than your age. Improves your athletic performance.
The mental benefits: Helps you relax and handle stressful situations more easily. Teaches you how to quiet the mind so you can focus your energy where you want it to go – into a difficult yoga pose, on the tennis court or golf course, or in the office. Encourages positive thoughts and self-acceptance.
The spiritual benefits: Builds awareness of your body, your feelings, the world around you, the needs of others. Promotes an interdependence between mind, body, and spirit. Helps you live the concept of “oneness.”