Yoga is a Sanskrit word, derived from the root ‘yuj’, meaning to control, to yoke or to unite. It is about to the integration of person’s own consciousness and the universal consciousness. Also known as a union of mental and spiritual disciplines i.e. body and soul.
Yoga originated in India about 5000 years ago. It was evolved as ‘spiritual practice’ in Hinduism. There is a legend that knowledge of Yoga was first passed by Lord Shiva to his wife Parvati and from there into the lives of human.
Yoga is one of the six Darshanas (Views) of ‘Hindu classical philosophy’ :
Sankhya – a strongly dualist theoretical exposition of mind and matter.
Yoga – a school emphasizing meditation closely based on Sankhya.
Nyaya or logics.
Vaisheshika – an empiricist school of atomism.
Mimamsa – an anti-ascetic and anti-mysticist school of orthopraxy.
Vedanta – opposing Vedic ritualism in favor of mysticism. Vedanta came to be the
dominant current of Hinduism in the post-medieval period.
In rest of the world other than India, the term yoga is typically considered as form of ‘physical exercise’ which is actually associated with Hatha Yoga and its Asanas (postures). In American society , yoga was first introduced by ‘Swami Vivekananda’ in late nineteenth century as spiritual practice. Now, in western countries yoga is popular as a way of keeping fit and healthy. It is a combination of breathing exercises, physical postures and meditation. This is only a part of the broad view of yoga.