Yoga is a spiritual and ascetic discipline derived from the Sanskrit word 'Yuj' which means to join or unite. It includes breath control, meditation and adoption of body postures, called Asanas.
Yoga began as an ancient practice that originated in India circa 3000 B.C. Stone-carved figures of yoga postures can be found in the Indus Valley depicting the original poses and practices. Yoga was developed as a way to achieve harmony between the mind, body and soul to attain the divine enlightenment. Along the way, it was discovered that yoga has a practical benefit of avoiding, managing as well as curing, if detected early, many diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure, and alleviating physical injuries and chronic pains. Yoga has taken off in the West as an answer to helping ailments. And as yoga has become increasingly popular outside of India and in so many widely varying cultures, so has the practice cleaved into many different schools of teachings and avenues.
There are many theories as to when yoga began, it is mentioned in the Rigveda, but most likely developed around the 6th and 5th centuries BCE, in ancient India’s ascetic and śramaṇa movements. The chronology of earliest texts describing yoga-practices is muddy at best, varyingly credited to Hindu Upanishads. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali date from the first half of the 1st millennium CE, but only gained prominence in the West in the 20th century. Hatha yoga texts emerged around the 11th century with origins in tantra.
Yoga is one of the least researched sciences in the whole world. The beauty of yoga is that each person in the field has devoted his or her life into researching the different systems of Yoga like Gherand Samhitha, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Shiva Samhitha and more. Yoga provides us with answers to questions that relate to mental as well as physical health.
Regular practice of Yoga, which Include asanas, pranayams, healthy diet, etc helps to avoid accumulation of toxins in the body. Lethargy and stiffness are kept at bay, keeping the youthfulness of the body intact. Breath is said to be a very important parameter for a healthy body. Regular practice of pranayam keeps the breath, and the entire respiratory system clean and healthy. In today's time, when the pollutionand stress rates are at all times high, most of the diseases people face are lifestyle induced ailments. In such a scenario, the importance of Yoga has risen drastically. With western medicines providing only a temporary relief and weakening the immune system, Yoga provides a long term and sustainable lifestyle.
Yoga is not only a path or process to self realisation, but also an important form of fitness and good health.