Introduction on Yoga

History and definition

  • Introduction
  • Yoga has existed for many centuries. Yoga has its mention in the verses of Rig Veda. The first archaeological evidence for yoga dates back thousands of years to Indus Valley civilization (330 BCE to 1300 BCE). Yoga is one of the six Indian Philosophies. Yoga according to Samkhya philosophy is the attainment or realization of the true state of consciousness or self or happiness through systematic practice and detachment of worldly pleasures. One can attain this through Jnana yoga (Knowledge), Bhakti yoga (Emotion culture), Karma Yoga (Selfless action) or cultivating the mind through a systematic process called Raja Yoga. Sage Pathanjali talks about Raja Yoga by an eight-fold path to attain the state of moksha or liberation. The practices of these steps bring about inner transformation in ones behaviour, personality and outlook to life apart from improving one’s health. It helps replace bad emotions and thoughts with good ones and helps in not only changing the individual but also the community.
    Sage Pathanjali talks about Raja Yoga by an eight-fold path to attain the state of moksha or liberation. The practices of these steps bring about inner transformation in ones behaviour, personality and outlook to life apart from improving one’s health. It helps replace bad emotions and thoughts with good ones and helps in not only changing the individual but also the community.
    The Eight-fold path also known as Raja Yoga include:

  • Yama’s: Yama’s means “Control” in Sanskrit. Religious texts of Hinduism and Jainism outline five social restraints and moral codes known as the yams such as Ahimsa (nonviolence in thought, word and action), Satya- Truthfulness, Astheya (non-stealing), Aparigraha (Not being greedy), Brahmacharya (Celibacy).
  • Niyama: 5 disciplines Saucha (cleanliness), Santosha (contentment), Tapas (self-discipline), Svadhyaya (self-reflection), and Ishvarapranidhana(surrender to a higher power).
  • Asanas: Postures
  • Pranayama: Regulation of Breath
  • Pratyāhāra (Introspection or in drawing of sense organs)
  • Dhāraṇā: Concentration
  • Dhyana: Meditation
  • Samadhi: (Self-realization of supreme Consciousness)

Yoga is not merely a spiritual practice, it’s also a technique that helps calming down the mind as per Great sage Vashishta. Yoga means to join or union of Body mind and Soul. Yoga as a complementary and mind body therapy is being practiced increasingly in both Indian and western populations. It is an ancient Indian science that has been used for therapeutic benefit in numerous health conditions in which mental stress was believed to play a role. The ancient yogis didn't view yoga as a therapeutic modality. For them, yoga was a path to liberation, an end to suffering. They couldn't have helped but notice, though, that everything from aches and pains to resistance to getting sick improved in those who took on the practice of yoga. Since disease was considered an obstacle to practice, anything that improved health was a boon to spiritual development. From a spiritual practice Yoga has developed over the centuries as a science of calming down the mind for health promotion and disease prevention. Yoga is a drugless Indian System of Medicine that lays emphasis on stress management, lifestyle, diet and nutrition to manage the increasing burden of Non communicable diseases like hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer etc. in our country and world over.

Training and Education

There are various schools of yoga that have been popular the world over. Some of the great Yogis and their traditions are given below:

  • Swami Maharishi Maheshwari Yogi- Transcendental Meditation – 1970s
  • Swami Kuvalyananda – Kaivalyadham
  • Shri BKS Iyengar- Iyengar Yoga
  • Sri Swami Shivanand- Shivanand Ashrams
  • Swami Satyanand Saraswathi- Bihar School of Yoga
  • Shri TKV Desikachar-Krishnamachari Yoga Mandiram
  • Dr HR Nagendra- SVYASA Yoga University
  • Swami Baba Ramdevji – Pathanjali Yogpeeth
  • Shri Pandit Ravishankar Guruji- Art of living
  • Shri Kamlesh Patel- Ramachandra mission
  • Swami Maheshwarananda- Yoga in Daily life
  • Smt. Hansaji Jayadeva Yogendra – The Yoga Institute, Mumbai
  • Yoga Education

    Apart from these traditional schools there are several universities that offer certification progams, diploma, post graduate diploma, BA, Bed, MA, MSc, MPhil and PhD in yoga courses. There are approximately 200 such universities and colleges in the country. The medical education of yoga as a system of medicine is being propagated through 5 ½ years Bachelor’s degree in Yoga and Naturopathic sciences a professional course in 18 states and 53 colleges and 3-year MD course in Yoga in 5 colleges across the country.

    International Day of Yoga

    Due to the Narendra Modi Government's relentless efforts, June 21 was declared as the International Yoga Day by UNGA. On December 11, 2014, the 193-membered UNGA approved the proposal by consensus with a record 177 co-sponsoring countries passing the resolution to establish June 21 as "International Day of Yoga". In its resolution, the UNGA endorsed that "Yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being apart from striking a balance between all aspects of life. The wider dissemination of information about the benefits of practising Yoga would be beneficial for the health of the world population."

    Yoga Market

    Global Yoga market is supposed to grow by $66.4 Billion by 2027. It was $37.5 Billion in 2019, according to a report by Allied Market Research. In India the yoga market is $4.0 billion. The yoga market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.6%. According to the website, Statista, yoga mats worth $11.7 Billion were sold in the last one year alone.

    Yoga Training
    Practicing yoga daily for 30 to 45 minutes can rid a person of any lifestyle related problem. Yoga will be taken to the villages where at least one person will motivate a family to practice yoga for the next three years. Like this, Yoga will reach to every house and every village and will become an integral part of the family activity.
    Yoga as a Therapy
    Yoga can assist in the treatment of any disease. Its acceptance globally, in rehabilitation of patients with lifestyle problems, non-communicable disorders and modern diseases like cancer, heart disease, stroke, etc., automatically reflects the potential of Yoga. A large number of Yoga therapists and consultants are required. There is 58% increase in publications on yoga research since 2014. Integration of yoga as a therapy is a promising area.
    Yoga in education
    Yoga education has many dimensions. Yoga instructors can play a key role in bringing health and well-being at various levels everywhere like, in schools, colleges, universities, sports festivals, workplaces, corporate sectors, armed forces, police personnel, medical professionals, nursing staff, bureaucrats and public servants.
    Yoga to improve productivity at workplace
    Because of its principles and practice, Yoga helps in the life management of a person. There is a great opportunity for millions of people in the field of Yogic Management in the lives of the common people and improve productivity in workplace.
    Yoga Tourism
    Owing to the spiritual characteristics and benefits of Yoga, tourism to places of significance especially within India has becomes a tourist hotspot. Attracting tourists from all over the world to locations such as Rishikesh, which is considered the Yoga capital of the world has created local employment opportunities and supported the hospitality industry. This apart from other cities like Bangalore, Mysore, Pune, Mumbai, Chennai etc. 61% increase in tourism volume between 2013-18, of which 44% from yoga hub states alone.
    Yoga apparel Industry
    As Yoga practitioners increase globally, so has the demand for athletic and sports apparel, along with gear such as yoga mats. While incumbent athletic wear companies have benefitted from this growing demand, it has also led to the rise of new market players. India can become a major hub for yoga apparel.