The Sanskrit word yoga has the literal meaning of “yoke”, from a root yuj meaning to join, to unite, or to attach, creating a union of mind and body. No one person “invented” yoga–yoga is a living tradition, a set of practices that dates back 5000-years. It is said that Yoga was developed by sages, called rishis. It continues to evolve through the years to meet the needs of every individual.
For most of us in the West, Yoga is Downward Dog, Warrior Pose, Child’s Pose and a series of challenging poses, or Asanas, that we do at Yoga studios, gym or at home. Many people would be surprised to learn that doing these poses doesn’t necessarily mean that we are practicing Yoga.
The most well known types of Yoga are Hatha, Iyengar, Ashtanga, Kundalini, Bikram, and Anusara. I have tried three, Hatha, Bikram and Kundalini. Find what works for you, depending on your goal. People are probably most familiar with Hatha yoga in the United States. A few of these styles claim to be the best. They all have benefits, but none of them is superior to the other.
Yoga is a spiritual practice. It arises from ancient scriptures called the Vedas, the oldest known written texts on earth. Yoga is the system of implementing and living this Vedic wisdom. The Yogic system codified by the sage Patanjali several thousand years ago in the Yoga Sutras adds Ishavara, or God.
Yoga also offers a complete holistic medical system known as Ayurveda, which is its sister science. Yoga doesn’t unfold overnight. It is a life-time pursuit that requires dedication, commitment and self-discipline. Enjoy your Yoga journey!
You do not need special clothes or a special place to do yoga. White is usually worn for Kundalini yoga along with a white head cover. However, it is beneficial to wear comfortable workout clothes and no shoes. Also to be in a calm relaxing atmosphere. Some may prefer a class setting, outdoors or the comfort of your own living room. As with most things, your intent is the foundation of yoga.