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Introduction to Yoga

Yoga on holiday offers you here a short introduction to Yoga. This way you are prepared with the basic information for your next Yoga retreats ;-)


Definition of Yoga


Yoga is one of the most ancient cultural heritages of India. For the definition of Yoga it´s interesting to know that the word yoga means “to join, to unite or to attach” and comes originally from the Sanskrit word yuj. It is a holistic philosophy that includes a plenty of spiritual techniques and practices. Its goal is to achieve a state of unification and enlightenment through the integrating of mind, body and spirit. The definition of Yoga does not just mean to train and stretch your body but also to work on your personal inquiry and exploration. Its philosophy conveys universal truths that can be incorporated into any belief system which maybe explains why more and more people around the world experience yoga as enrichment for their lives.


Origin of Yoga


At the beginning, yoga was just passed by oral transmission of sacred texts and a secretive way of teaching. The first writings about yoga were marked down on fragile palm leaves which were easily damaged, destroyed or lost. Anyway the origin of yoga can be traced back to over 5000 years ago. Later, about 500 years BC, the famous Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads were written which informed amongst others about yoga. The most important work of the whole yoga literature is the Yoga Sutras written by the wise Indian man Patanjali in the 2nd century BC. He is often described as father of yoga although we don´t know more about him than his name. Patanjali defined in 195 aphorisms the philosophic principles of Yoga. He explains yoga like a system which calms our mind and guides us to concentrate and center ourselves. Furthermore Patanjali already figured out that yoga can bring us more satisfaction in life if we practice it continuously.  

Yoga today


Today there are many different forms of yoga being taught and practiced. At the beginning the postures (named asanas in Sanskrit) wer just thought to enable the yogis to meditate for a long time in a sitting position. Later teachers discovered the health benefits of the physical practices and it became more important. Nowadays Yoga usually includes three elements of traditional Yoga techniques in the West: postures, breath control (named pranayama in Sanskrit) and meditation. Furthermore it´s interesting to see that Yoga gets more and more adjusted to the needs of today´s people, particular in the modern styles. Nevertheless all enhancements don´t forget about the essential points of Yoga philosophy.



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