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Yoga - One of the six philosophies (shad darshan); the science expounded by celebrated sage Patanjali including the practical means of uniting the higher and lower self and merging with cosmic consciousness through a gradual unfolding of inner strength (bala paramita) and wisdom (prajna paramita).

Fair Use Source: Vaidya Vasant Lad, BAMS, MAsc, Textbook of Ayurveda Volume 1, 2001: p. 313


performing Yogic meditation in the Padmasana posture.]]

performing Yogic meditation in the Padmasana posture.]]

Yoga (Sanskrit, Pāli:

) refers to traditional physical and mental disciplines originating in India.<ref>For the uses of the word in Pāli literature, see Thomas William Rhys Davids, William Stede, Pali-English dictionary. Reprint by Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1993, page 558: ://books.google.com/books?id=xBgIKfTjxNMC&pg=RA1-PA558&dq=yoga+pali+term&lr=#PRA1-PA558,M1</ref> The word is associated with meditative practices in Buddhism and Hinduism.<ref>Denise Lardner Carmody, John Carmody, Serene Compassion. Oxford University Press US, 1996, page 68.</ref><ref>Stuart Ray Sarbacker, Samadhi: The Numinous and Cessative in Indo-Tibetan Yoga. SUNY Press, 2005, pages 1-2.</ref> In Hinduism, it also refers to one of the six orthodox (āstika) schools of Hindu philosophy, and to the goal toward which that school directs its practices.<ref>“Yoga has five principal meanings: 1) yoga as a disciplined method for attaining a goal; 2) yoga as techniques of controlling the body and the mind; 3) yoga as a name of one of the schools or systems of philosophy (

); 4) yoga in connection with other words, such as hatha-, mantra-, and laya-, referring to traditions specialising in particular techniques of yoga; 5) yoga as the goal of yoga practice.” Jacobsen, p. 4.</ref><ref>Monier-Williams includes “it is the second of the two Sāṃkhya systems,” and “mental abstraction practised as a system (as taught by Patañjali and called the Yoga philosophy)” in his definitions of “yoga”.</ref> In Jainism it refers to the sum total of all activities—mental, verbal and physical.

Major branches of yoga in Hindu philosophy include Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Hatha Yoga.<ref name=yogaTrads1_042007>Pandit Usharbudh Arya (1985). The philosophy of hatha yoga. Himalayan Institute Press; 2nd ed.</ref><ref name=yogaTrads2_042007>Sri Swami Rama (2008) The royal path: Practical lessons on yoga. Himalayan Institute Press; New Ed edition.</ref><ref name=yogaTrads_3042007>Swami Prabhavananda (Translator), Christopher Isherwood (Translator), Patanjali (Author). (1996). Vedanta Press; How to know god: The yoga aphorisms of Patanjali. New Ed edition.</ref> Raja Yoga, compiled in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and known simply as yoga in the context of Hindu philosophy, is part of the Samkhya tradition.<ref>Jacobsen, p. 4.</ref> Many other Hindu texts discuss aspects of yoga, including Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Shiva Samhita and various Tantras.

The Sanskrit word yoga has many meanings,<ref>For a list of 38 meanings of the word “yoga” see: Apte, p. 788.</ref> and is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj, meaning “to control”, “to yoke” or “to unite”.<ref>For “yoga” as derived from the Sanskrit root “yuj” with meanings of “to control”, “to yoke, or “to unite” see: Flood (1996), p. 94.</ref> Translations include “joining”, “uniting”, “union”, “conjunction”, and “means”.<ref>For meaning 1. joining, uniting, and 2., union, junction, combination see: Apte, p. 788.</ref><ref>For “mode, manner, means”, see: Apte, p. 788, definition 5.</ref><ref>For “expedient, means in general”, see: Apte, p. 788, definition 13.</ref> Outside India, the term yoga is typically associated with Hatha Yoga and its asanas (postures) or as a form of exercise. Someone who practices yoga or follows the yoga philosophy is called a Yogi.<ref>American Heritage Dictionary: “Yogi, One who practices yoga.” Websters: “Yogi, A follower of the yoga philosophy; an ascetic.”</ref>

History of yoga

The Vedic Samhitas contain references to ascetics, while ascetic practices (tapas) are referenced in the Brāhmaṇas (900 to 500 BCE), early commentaries on the Vedas.<ref name=“Flood, p. 94”>Flood, p. 94.</ref> Several seals discovered at Indus Valley Civilization (c. 3300–1700 B.C.E.) sites depict figures in positions resembling a common yoga or meditation pose, showing “a form of ritual discipline, suggesting a precursor of yoga”, according to archaeologist Gregory Possehl.<ref>Possehl (2003), pp. 144-145</ref> Some type of connection between the Indus Valley seals and later yoga and meditation practices is speculated upon by many scholars, though there is no conclusive evidence.<ref>See:

  • Jonathan Mark Kenoyer describes one figure as “seated in yogic position”. ''Around the Indus in 90 Slides'' by Jonathan Mark Kenoyer
  • Karel Werner writes that “Archeological discoveries allow us therefore to speculate with some justification that a wide range of Yoga activities was already known to the people of pre-Aryan India.”

    .

  • Heinrich Zimmer describes one seal as “seated like a yogi”.
  • Thomas McEvilley writes that “The six mysterious Indus Valley seal images…all without exception show figures in a position known in hatha yoga as mulabhandasana or possibly the closely related utkatasana or baddha konasana….”
  • Dr. Farzand Masih, Punjab University Archaeology Department Chairman, describes a recently disovered seal as depicting a “yogi”. Rare objects discovery points to ruins treasure
  • Gavin Flood disputes the idea regarding one of the seals, the so-called “Pashupati seal”, writing that it isn't clear the figure is seated in a yoga posture, or that the shape is intended to represent a human figure. Flood, pp. 28-29.
  • Geoffrey Samuel, regarding the Pashupati seal, believes that we “do not actually know how to interpret the figure, nor do we know what he or she represent”.

    </ref>

Techniques for experiencing higher states of consciousness in meditation were developed by the shramanic traditions and in the Upanishadic tradition.<ref>Flood, pp. 94–95.</ref> According to Gavin Flood, a sentence in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, one of the earliest Upanishads (800-500 BCE), is an early textual reference to meditation.<ref>”…which states that, having become calm and concentrated, one perceives the self (atman), within oneself.“ Flood, pp. 94–95.</ref> Other scholars translate the sentence differently.<ref>The following scholars see the text as implying that the “calm” state is the result of knowledge:

Others find that the part of this composite Upanishad containing this sentence, the third and fourth chapters, is late, and post-dates the Buddha.<ref>The following scholars make this case:

  • Johannes Bronkhorst, The Two Traditions of Mediation in Ancient India. Franz Steiner Verlag Weisbaden GmbH, 108-117.
  • Paul Horsch, Die Vedische Gatha- und Sloka-Literatur. Francke, 391-396. As cited in Bronkhorst.</ref><ref>For more on the compilatory nature of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, see:
  • Joel P. Brereton, “The Composition of the Maitreyi Dialogue in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 126.3 2006, pages 323-345, * Hajime Nakamura, A History of Early Vedānta Philosophy: Part One. Reprint by Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1990, pages 35, 40.
  • Patrick Olivelle, Upaniṣads. Oxford University Press, 1998, pages 3-4.</ref>

–> The Buddhist texts are probably the earliest texts describing meditation techniques.<ref>Richard Gombrich, Theravada Buddhism: A Social History from Ancient Benares to Modern Colombo. Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1988, page 44. For more on the lack of emphasis on meditation in Upanishadic literature prior to Buddhism see Randall Collins, The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change. Harvard University Press, 2000, pages 199, 205.</ref> They describe meditative practices and states which had existed before the Buddha as well as those which were first developed within Buddhism.<ref>Johannes Bronkhorst, The Two Traditions of Mediation in Ancient India. Franz Steiner Verlag Weisbaden GmbH, pages 1-17.</ref> In Hindu literature, the term “yoga” first occurs in the Katha Upanishad, where it refers to control of the senses and the cessation of mental activity leading to a supreme state.<ref>Flood, p. 95. Scholars do not list the Katha Upanishad among those that can be safely described as pre-Buddhist, see for example Helmuth von Glasenapp, from the 1950 Proceedings of the “Akademie der Wissenschaften und Literatur,” ://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/vonglasenapp/wheel002.html. Some have argued that it is post-Buddhist, see for example Arvind Sharma's review of Hajime Nakamura's A History of Early Vedanta Philosophy, Philosophy East and West, Vol. 37, No. 3 (Jul., 1987), pp. 325-331. For a comprehensive examination of the uses of the Pali word “yoga” in early Buddhist texts, see Thomas William Rhys Davids, William Stede, Pali-English dictionary. Reprint by Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1993, page 558: ://books.google.com/books?id=xBgIKfTjxNMC&pg=RA1-PA558&dq=yoga+pali+term&lr=#PRA1-PA558,M1. For the use of the word in the sense of “spiritual practice” in the Dhammapada, see Gil Fronsdal, The Dhammapada, Shambhala, 2005, pages 56, 130.</ref> Important textual sources for the evolving concept of Yoga are the middle Upanishads, (ca. 400 BCE), the Mahabharata including the Bhagavad Gita (ca. 200 BCE), and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (150 BCE).

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

In Indian philosophy, Yoga is the name of one of the six orthodox philosophical schools.<ref>For an overview of the six orthodox schools, with detail on the grouping of schools, see: Radhakrishnan and Moore, “Contents”, and pp. 453–487.</ref><ref>For a brief overview of the Yoga school of philosophy see: Chatterjee and Datta, p. 43.</ref> The Yoga philosophical system is closely allied with the Samkhya school.<ref>For close connection between Yoga philosophy and Samkhya, see: Chatterjee and Datta, p. 43.</ref> The Yoga school as expounded by the sage Patanjali accepts the Samkhya psychology and metaphysics, but is more theistic than the Samkhya, as evidenced by the addition of a divine entity to the Samkhya's twenty-five elements of reality.<ref>For Yoga acceptance of Samkhya concepts, but with addition of a category for God, see: Radhakrishnan and Moore, p. 453.</ref><ref>For Yoga as accepting the 25 principles of Samkhya with the addition of God, see: Chatterjee and Datta, p. 43.</ref> The parallels between Yoga and Samkhya were so close that Max Müller says that “the two philosophies were in popular parlance distinguished from each other as Samkhya with and Samkhya without a Lord….”<ref>Müller (1899), Chapter 7, “Yoga Philosophy”, p. 104.</ref> The intimate relationship between Samkhya and Yoga is explained by Heinrich Zimmer:

<blockquote class=“toccolours” style=“float:none; padding: 10px 15px 10px 15px; display:table;”> These two are regarded in India as twins, the two aspects of a single discipline.

provides a basic theoretical exposition of human nature, enumerating and defining its elements, analyzing their manner of co-operation in a state of bondage (bandha), and describing their state of disentanglement or separation in release (mokṣa), while Yoga treats specifically of the dynamics of the process for the disentanglement, and outlines practical techniques for the gaining of release, or 'isolation-integration' (kaivalya).<ref>Zimmer (1951), p. 280.</ref> </blockquote>

Patanjali is widely regarded as the founder of the formal Yoga philosophy.<ref>For Patanjali as the founder of the philosophical system called Yoga see: Chatterjee and Datta, p. 42.</ref> Patanjali's yoga is known as Raja yoga, which is a system for control of the mind.<ref>For “raja yoga” as a system for control of the mind and connection to Patanjali's Yoga Sutras as a key work, see: Flood (1996), pp. 96–98.</ref> Patanjali defines the word “yoga” in his second sutra,<ref name=“yogasutrastext”>

</ref> which is the definitional sutra for his entire work:

<blockquote class=“toccolours” style=“float:none; padding: 10px 15px 10px 15px; display:table;”>

<br>- Yoga Sutras 1.2</blockquote>

This terse definition hinges on the meaning of three Sanskrit terms. I. K. Taimni translates it as “Yoga is the inhibition (

) of the modifications (

) of the mind (

)”.<ref>For text and word-by-word translation as “Yoga is the inhibition of the modifications of the mind” see: Taimni, p. 6.</ref> The use of the word

in the opening definition of yoga is an example of the important role that Buddhist technical terminology and concepts play in the Yoga Sutra; this role suggests that Patanjali was aware of Buddhist ideas and wove them into his system.<ref>Barbara Stoler Miller, Yoga: Discipline of Freedom: the Yoga Sutra Attributed to Patanjali; a Translation of the Text, with Commentary, Introduction, and Glossary of Keywords. University of California Press, 1996, page 9.</ref> Swami Vivekananda translates the sutra as “Yoga is restraining the mind-stuff (Citta) from taking various forms (Vrittis).”<ref>Vivekanada, p. 115.</ref>

yogi in the Birla Mandir, Delhi]]

Patanjali's writing also became the basis for a system referred to as “Ashtanga Yoga” (“Eight-Limbed Yoga”). This eight-limbed concept derived from the 29th Sutra of the 2nd book, and is a core characteristic of practically every Raja yoga variation taught today. The Eight Limbs are:

  1. Yama (The five “abstentions”): non-violence, non-lying, non-covetousness, non-sensuality, and non-possessiveness.
  2. Niyama (The five “observances”): purity, contentment, austerity, study, and surrender to god.
  3. Asana: Literally means “seat”, and in Patanjali's Sutras refers to the seated position used for meditation.
  4. Pranayama (“Suspending Breath”): Prāna, breath, “āyāma”, to restrain or stop. Also interpreted as control of the life force.
  5. Pratyahara (“Abstraction”): Withdrawal of the sense organs from external objects.
  6. Dharana (“Concentration”): Fixing the attention on a single object.
  7. Dhyana (“Meditation”): Intense contemplation of the nature of the object of meditation.
  8. Samādhi (“Liberation”): merging consciousness with the object of meditation.

In the view of this school, the highest attainment does not reveal the experienced diversity of the world to be illusion. The everyday world is real. Furthermore, the highest attainment is the event of one of many individual selves discovering itself; there is no single universal self shared by all persons.<ref>Stephen H. Phillips, Classical Indian Metaphysics: Refutations of Realism and the Emergence of “new Logic”. Open Court Publishing, 1995, pages 12–13.</ref>

Bhagavad Gita

The Bhagavad Gita ('Song of the Lord'), uses the term yoga extensively in a variety of ways. In addition to an entire chapter (ch. 6) dedicated to traditional yoga practice, including meditation,<ref>Jacobsen, p. 10.</ref> it introduces three prominent types of yoga:<ref>”…Bhagavad Gita, including a complete chapter (ch. 6) devoted to traditional yoga practice. The Gita also introduces the famous three kinds of yoga, 'knowledge' (jnana), 'action' (karma), and 'love' (bhakti).“ Flood, p. 96.</ref>

Madhusudana Sarasvati (b. circa 1490) divided the Gita into three sections, with the first six chapters dealing with Karma yoga, the middle six with Bhakti yoga, and the last six with Jnana (knowledge).<ref> Gambhirananda, p. 16.</ref> Other commentators ascribe a different 'yoga' to each chapter, delineating eighteen different yogas.<ref>Jacobsen, p. 46.</ref>

Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga is a particular system of Yoga described by Yogi Swatmarama, compiler of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika in 15th century India. Hatha Yoga differs substantially from the Raja Yoga of Patanjali in that it focuses on shatkarma, the purification of the physical body as leading to the purification of the mind (ha), and prana, or vital energy (tha).<ref>Living Yoga: Creating a Life Practice - Page 42 by Christy Turlington (page 42)</ref><ref>Guiding Yoga's Light: Yoga Lessons for Yoga Teachers - Page 10 by Nancy Gerstein </ref> Compared to the seated asana, or sitting meditation posture, of Patanjali's Raja yoga,<ref>Mindfulness Yoga: The Awakened Union of Breath Body & Mind - Page 6 by Frank Jude Boccio</ref> it marks the development of asanas (plural) into the full body 'postures' now in popular usage.<ref name=Burley>Hatha Yoga: Its Context, Theory and Practice By Mikel Burley (page 16)</ref> Hatha Yoga in its many modern variations is the style that many people associate with the word “Yoga” today.<ref>Feuerstein, Georg. (1996). The Shambhala Guide to Yoga. Boston & London: Shambhala Publications, Inc.</ref>

Yoga practices in other traditions

Buddhism

Early Buddhism incorporated meditative absorption states.<ref name=Heisig>Zen Buddhism: A History (India and China) By Heinrich Dumoulin, James W. Heisig, Paul F. Knitter (page 22)</ref> The most ancient sustained expression of yogic ideas is found in the early sermons of the Buddha.<ref>Barbara Stoler Miller, Yoga: Discipline of Freedom: the Yoga Sutra Attributed to Patanjali; a Translation of the Text, with Commentary, Introduction, and Glossary of Keywords. University of California Press, 1996, page 8.</ref> One key innovative teaching of the Buddha was that meditative absorption should be combined with the practice of mindfulness.<ref>Alexander Wynne, The origin of Buddhist meditation. Routledge, 2007, page 73.</ref>

Yogacara Buddhism

Yogacara (Sanskrit: “yoga practice”<ref>Dan Lusthaus: "What is and isn't Yogacara"</ref>), also spelled yogāchāra, is a school of philosophy and psychology that developed in India during the 4th to 5th centuries. Yogacara received the name as it provided a yoga, a framework for engaging in the practices that lead to the path of the bodhisattva.<ref>Dan Lusthaus. Buddhist Phenomenology: A Philosophical Investigation of Yogacara Buddhism and the Ch'eng Wei-shih Lun. Published 2002 (Routledge). ISBN 0700711864. pg 533</ref> The Yogacara sect teaches yoga in order to reach enlightenment.<ref name=Simpkins>Simple Tibetan Buddhism: A Guide to Tantric Living By C. Alexander Simpkins, Annellen M. Simpkins. Published 2001. Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 0804831998</ref>

Ch'an (Seon/Zen) Buddhism

Zen (the name of which derives from the Sanskrit “dhyaana” via the Chinese “ch'an”<ref> The Buddhist Tradition in India, China, and Japan. Edited by William Theodore de Bary. Pgs. 207-208. ISBN 0-394-71696-5 - “The Meditation school, called Ch'an in Chinese from the Sanskrit dhyāna, is best known in the West by the Japanese pronunciation Zen”</ref>) is a form of Mahayana Buddhism. The Mahayana school of Buddhism is noted for its proximity with Yoga.<ref name=Heisig/> In the west, Zen is often set alongside Yoga; the two schools of meditation display obvious family resemblances.<ref> Zen Buddhism: A History (India and China) By Heinrich Dumoulin, James W. Heisig, Paul F. Knitter (Page xviii) </ref> This phenomenon merits special attention since the Zen Buddhist school of meditation has some of its roots in yogic practices.<ref>Zen Buddhism: A History (India and China) By Heinrich Dumoulin, James W. Heisig, Paul F. Knitter (page 13). Translated by James W. Heisig, Paul F. Knitter. Contributor John McRae. Published 2005 World Wisdom. 387 pages. ISBN 0941532895 [Exact quote: “This phenomenon merits special attention since yogic roots are to be found in the Zen Buddhist school of meditation.”]</ref> Certain essential elements of Yoga are important both for Buddhism in general and for Zen in particular.<ref name=Knitter>Zen Buddhism: A History (India and China) By Heinrich Dumoulin, James W. Heisig, Paul F. Knitter (page 13)</ref>

Indo-Tibetan Buddhism

Yoga is central to Tibetan Buddhism. In the Nyingma tradition, the path of meditation practice is divided into nine yanas, or vehicles, which are said to be increasingly profound.<ref>The Lion's Roar: An Introduction to Tantra by Chogyam Trungpa. Shambhala, 2001 ISBN-10: 1570628955</ref> The last six are described as “yoga yanas”: Kriya yoga, Upa yoga, Yoga yana, Mahā yoga, Anu yoga and the utlimate practice, Ati yoga.<ref>Secret of the Vajra World: The Tantric Buddhism of Tibet by Ray, Reginald A. Shambhala: 2002. ISBN-10: 157062917X pg 37-38</ref> The Sarma traditions also include Kriya, Upa (called Charya), and Yoga, with the Anuttara yoga class substituting for Mahayoga and Atiyoga.<ref>Secret of the Vajra World: The Tantric Buddhism of Tibet by Ray, Reginald A. Shambhala: 2002. ISBN-10: 157062917X pg 57</ref> Other tantra yoga practices include a system of 108 bodily postures practiced with breath and heart rhythm. The Nyingma tradition also practices Yantra yoga (Tib. Trul khor), a discipline which includes breath work (or pranayama), meditative contemplation and precise dynamic movements to centre the practitioner.<ref>Yantra Yoga: The Tibetan Yoga of Movement by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu. Snow Lion, 2008. ISBN-10: 1559393084</ref> The body postures of Tibetan ancient yogis are depicted on the walls of the Dalai Lama's summer temple of Lukhang. A semi-popular account of Tibetan Yoga by Chang (1993) refers to caṇḍalī (Tib. tummo), the generation of heat in one's own body, as being “the very foundation of the whole of Tibetan Yoga”.<ref>Chang, G.C.C. (1993). Tibetan Yoga. New Jersey: Carol Publishing Group. ISBN 0-8065-1453-1, p.7</ref> Chang also claims that Tibetan Yoga involves reconciliation of apparent polarities, such as prana and mind, relating this to theoretical implications of tantrism.

[[Jainism]]

in Yogic meditation in the Kayotsarga posture.]]

According to Tattvarthasutra, 2nd Century CE Jain text, Yoga, is the sum total of all the activities of mind, speech and body. <ref> Tattvarthasutra [6.1], see Manu Doshi (2007) Translation of Tattvarthasutra, Ahmedabad: Shrut Ratnakar p. 102 </ref> Umasvati calls yoga as the cause of asrava or karmic influx <ref> Tattvarthasutra [6.2]</ref> as well as one of the essentials—samyak caritra—in the path to liberation. <ref> Tattvarthasutra [6.2]</ref> In his Niyamasara, Acarya Kundakunda, describes yoga bhakti—devotion to the path to liberation—as the highest form of devotion. <ref> Niyamasara [134-40]</ref> Acarya Haribhadra and Acarya Hemacandra mention the five major vows of ascetics and 12 minor vows of laity under yoga. This has led certain Indologists like Prof. Robert J. Zydenbos to call Jainism as essentially a system of yogic thinking that grew into a full-fledged religion. <ref> Zydenbos, Robert. Jainism Today and Its Future. München: Manya Verlag, 2006.

p.66 Dr. [[Heinrich Zimmer]] contended that the yoga system had pre-Aryan origins which did not accept the authority of the Vedas and hence was reckoned as one of the heterodox doctrines similar to Jainism.  Zimmer, Heinrich in (ed.) Joseph Campbell: Philosophies of India. New York: Princeton University Press, 1969 p.60  Jain iconography depicts Jain [[Tirthankara]]s meditation in ''[[Padma_asana|Padmasana]]'' or ''Kayotsarga'' yogic poses. Mahavira was said to have achieved ''[[Kevala Jnana]]'' "enlightenment" siting in ''mulabandhasana'' position which has the first literary mention in the [[Acaranga Sutra]] and later in [[Kalpasutra]]   Chapple, Christopher.(1993) Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions. New York: SUNY Press, 1993 p. 7 

The five yamas or the constraints of the Yogasutra of Patanjali bear an uncanny resemblance to the five major vows of Jainism, indicating a strong influence of Jainism. <ref> Zydenbos (2006) p.66 </ref> <ref> A History of Yoga By Vivian Worthington (1982) Routledge ISBN 071009258X p. 29</ref> This mutual influence between the Yoga philosophy and Jainism is admitted by the author Vivian Worthington who writes: “Yoga fully acknowledges its debt to Jainsim, and Jainism reciprocates by making the practice of yoga part and parcel of life.” <ref> Vivian Worthington (1982) p. 35</ref> The Indus valley seals and iconography also provide a reasonable evidence of the existence of a proto-yogic tradition akin to Jainism. <ref> Chapple, Christopher.(1993), p.6 </ref> More specifically, scholars and archaeologists have remarked on close similarities in the yogic and meditative postures depicted in the seals with those of various Tirthankaras: the “kayotsarga” posture of Rsabha and the mulabandhasana of Mahavira along with seals depicting meditative figure flaked by upright serpents bearing similarities to iconography of Parsva. All these are indicative of not only links between Indus Valley Civilisation and Jainism, but also show the contribution of Jainism to various yogic practices. <ref> Chapple, Christopher.(1993), pp.6-9 </ref>

References in Jain canons and literature

Earliest of Jain canonical literature like Acarangasutra and texts like Niyamasara, Tattvarthasutra etc had many references on yoga as a way of life for laymen and asctics. The later texts that further elaborated on the Jain concept of yoga are as follows:

  • Pujyapada (5th Century CE)
    • Ishtopadesh
  • Acarya Haribhadra Suri(8th Century CE)
    • Yogabindu
    • Yogadristisamuccaya
    • Yogasataka
    • Yogavimisika
  • Acarya Joindu (8th Century CE)
    • Yogasara
  • Acarya Hemacandra (11th Century CE)
    • Yogasastra
  • Acarya Amitagati (11th Century CE)
    • Yogasaraprabhrta

Islam

The development of Sufism was considerably influenced by Indian yogic practises, where they adapted both physical postures (asanas) and breath control (pranayama).<ref>Situating Sufism and Yoga</ref> The ancient Indian yogic text, Amritakunda, (“Pool of Nectar)” was translated into Arabic and Persian as early as the 11th century.<ref> Carolina Seminar on Comparative Islamic Studies </ref>

Malaysia's top Islamic body in 2008 passed a fatwa, which is legally non-binding, against Muslims practicing yoga, saying it had elements of ”Hindu spiritual teachings“ and could lead to blasphemy and is therefore haraam. Muslim yoga teachers in Malaysia criticized the decision as “insulting”.<ref>Top Islamic body: Yoga is not for Muslims - CNN</ref> Sisters in Islam, a women's rights group in Malaysia, also expressed disappointment and said they would continue with their yoga classes.<ref>://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/11/23/nation/2625368&sec=nation</ref> The fatwa states that yoga practiced only as physical exercise is permissible, but prohibits the chanting of religious mantras,<ref>”Malaysia leader: Yoga for Muslims OK without chant,“ Associated Press</ref> and states that teachings such as uniting of a human with God is not consistent with Islamic philosophy.<ref> ://www.islam.gov.my/portal/lihat.php?jakim=3600</ref> In a similar vein, the Council of Ulemas, an Islamic body in Indonesia, passed a fatwa banning yoga on the grounds that it contains “Hindu elements”<ref>://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7850079.stm</ref> These fatwas have, in turn, been criticized by Darul Uloom Deoband, a Deobandi Islamic seminary in India.<ref>://specials.rediff.com/news/2009/jan/29video-islam-allows-yoga-deoband.htm</ref>

In May of 2009, Turkey's head of the Directorate of Religious Affairs, Ali Bardakoğlu, discounted Yoga as a commercial venture promoting extremism- comments made in the context of Yoga practice possibly competing with and eroding participation in Islam <ref>http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/domestic/11692086.asp?gid=244</ref>.

Christianity

In 1989, the Vatican declared that Eastern meditation practices such as Zen and yoga can “degenerate into a cult of the body.” In spite of the Vatican statement, many Roman Catholics bring elements of Yoga, Buddhism, and Hinduism into their spiritual practices.<ref>

</ref>

Tantra

Tantrism is a practice that is supposed to alter the relation of its practitioners to the ordinary social, religious, and logical reality in which they live. Through Tantric practice an individual perceives reality as maya, illusion, and the individual achieves liberation from it.<ref name=UCP>Title: Mesocosm: Hinduism and the Organization of a Traditional Newar City in Nepal. Author: Robert I. Levy. Published: University of California Press, 1991. pp 313 </ref> This particular path to salvation among the several offered by Hinduism, links Tantrism to those practices of Indian religions, such as yoga, meditation, and social renunciation, which are based on temporary or permanent withdrawal from social relationships and modes.<ref name=UCP/>

During tantric practices and studies, the student is instructed further in meditation technique, particularly chakra meditation. This is often in a limited form in comparison with the way this kind of meditation is known and used by Tantric practitioners and yogis elsewhere, but is more elaborate than the initiate's previous meditation. It is considered to be a kind of Kundalini Yoga for the purpose of moving the Goddess into the chakra located in the “heart,” for meditation and worship.<ref>Title: Mesocosm: Hinduism and the Organization of a Traditional Newar City in Nepal. Author: Robert I. Levy. Published: University of California Press, 1991. pp 317 </ref>

Goal of yoga

The goal of yoga may range from improving health to achieving Moksha.<ref>Jacobsen, p. 10.</ref> Within Jainism and the monist schools of Advaita Vedanta and Shaivism the goal of yoga takes the form of Moksha, which is liberation from all worldly suffering and the cycle of birth and death (Samsara), at which point there is a realisation of identity with the Supreme Brahman. In the Mahabharata, the goal of yoga is variously described as entering the world of Brahma, as Brahman, or as perceiving the Brahman or Atman that pervades all things.<ref>Jacobsen, p. 9.</ref> For the bhakti schools of Vaishnavism, bhakti or service to Svayam bhagavan itself may be the ultimate goal of the yoga process, where the goal is to enjoy an eternal relationship with Vishnu.<ref>Brittanica Concise “Characterized by an emphasis on bhakti, its goal is to escape from the cycle of birth and death in order to enjoy the presence of Vishnu.”</ref>

References

Further reading

  • (fourth revised & enlarged edition).

  • Chang, G.C.C. (1993). Tibetan Yoga. New Jersey: Carol Publishing Group. ISBN 0-8065-1453-1
  • Donatelle, Rebecca J. Health: The Basics. 6th ed. San Francisco: Pearson Education, Inc. 2005.
  • Feuerstein, Georg. The Shambhala Guide to Yoga. 1st ed. Boston & London: Shambhala Publications 1996.
  • (Studies in the History of Religions, 110)

  • Marshall, John (1931). Mohenjodaro and the Indus Civilization: Being an Official Account of Archaeological Excavations at Mohenjodaro Carried Out by the Government of India Between the Years 1922-27. Delhi: Indological Book House.
  • Mittra, Dharma Sri. Asanas: 608 Yoga Poses. 1st ed. California: New World Library 2003.
  • Reprint edition; Originally published under the title of The Six Systems of Indian Philosophy.

  • Saraswati, swami satyananda. November 2002 (12th edition). “Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha” ISBN 81-86336-14-1
  • Usharabudh, Arya Pandit. Philosophy of Hatha Yoga. 2nd ed. Pennsylvania: Himalayan Institute Press 1977, 1985.
  • 21st reprint edition.

  • Bollingen Series XXVI; Edited by Joseph Cambell.

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<!– interwiki –> Joga Yoga يوجا Йога Ioga Jóga Yoga Yoga Jooga Γιόγκα Yoga Jogo Yoga یوگا Yoga Ioga 요가 योग Joga Yoga Yoga Jóga Yoga יוגה Yoga Joga Joga Jóga Јога യോഗാഭ്യാസം योग Yoga Yoga ヨーガ Yoga Iòga يوګا Joga Ioga Yoga Yoga Йога योग යෝග Yoga Joga Joga Joga Joga Joga Jooga Yoga யோகக் கலை యోగా Yoga Йога Yoga יאגא 瑜伽

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