Yoga is an ancient philosophy of wellness, finding oneself, and being one with nature. It is believed that human association with this ethereal philosophy began when Lord Shiva, considered the first yogi, passed on this divinely infallible knowledge to his seven saints, who later came to be known as the Saptarishi.
Sankhya, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimansa, Vedanta, and Yoga are among the six schools of Hindu philosophy. The three Pramanas (means of knowledge) that Yoga, like the Sakhya school, is based on are: Pratyaka (perception), Anumana (inference), and Sabda (word/testimony of reputable sources).
The Rig Veda and the Upanishads both reference yoga practice, while Patanjali’s Yogasutra is regarded as the primary source of traditional yoga philosophy.
Yoga in modern times has come to be associated with breathing exercises or stretching, but it is a lot more than that. It is a way of attaining knowledge – metaphysical knowledge beyond human sensory perception. Yoga or meditation is a part of the Alaukika (extraordinary) mode of attaining knowledge. The extraordinary knowledge that the human mind seeks cannot be attained through our ordinary sensory cognition but can only be perceived through awakening our inner self through yoga.
The aim of Yoga is spiritual emancipation. Yoga hypothesizes that when the spirit (Purusha) is released from the shackles of matter (Prakriti), which are the results of ignorance and illusion, spiritual emancipation (moksha) is attained. Yoga creates a bond between the Pramata (the knower) and Pramati (the knowledge gained).
So, Yoga is much more than a mere form of exercise. It is one of India’s foremost soft powers that has impacted the lifestyle of people across the world and led the charge of India’s cultural percolation. India has orchestrated the world’s physical and, most importantly, spiritual well-being through Yoga.
Yoya pic courtesy, By Andbe96 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons