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Yoga

Yoga (Sanskrit, Pāli: योग yóga) refers to traditional physical and mental disciplines originating in India. The word is associated with meditative practices in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. In Hinduism, it also refers to one of the six orthodox

schools of Hindu philosophy, and to the goal toward which that school directs its practices. In Jainism it refers to the sum total of all activities—mental, verbal and physical.

yoga

Major branches of yoga in Hindu philosophy include Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Hatha Yoga.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. 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 and is derived from the Sanskrit root "yuj," meaning "to control,to yoke or "to unite.Translations include "joining," "uniting, union, conjunction,and "means. Outside India, the term yoga is typically associated with Hatha Yoga and its asanas or as a form of exercise. Someone who practices yoga or follows the yoga philosophy is called a Yogi.

History of yoga

The Vedic Samhitas contain references to ascetics, while ascetic practices are referenced in the Brāhmaṇas (900 to 500 BCE), early commentaries on the Vedas. 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.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.

Techniques for experiencing higher states of consciousness in meditation were developed by the shramanic traditions and in the Upanishadic tradition.

While there is no clear evidence for meditation in pre-Buddhist early Brahminic texts, Wynne argues that formless meditation originated in the Brahminic tradition, based on strong parallels between Upanishadic cosmological statements and the meditative goals of the two teachers of the Buddha as recorded in the early Buddhist texts.[21] He mentions less likely possibilities as well. Having argued that the cosmological statements in the Upanishads also reflect a contemplative tradition, he argues that the Nasadiya Sukta contains evidence for a contemplative tradition, even as early as the late Rg Vedic period.

The Buddhist texts are probably the earliest texts describing meditation techniques.They describe meditative practices and states which had existed before the Buddha as well as those which were first developed within Buddhism. 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. 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).

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