Yoga Facts All Yogis Should Know
The go-to resource for planning your yoga retreats & holidays. Find all you need to know about destinations and take your practice to the next level.
Discover Yoga Retreats now
It is good that many people are aware that yoga and meditation are needed for a healthy and happy life. However, people still have many dilemmas regarding the origin and the essence of yoga. That’s why I’m here to provide some authentic information and yoga facts to dispel misconception among yoga lovers.
Meaning of Yoga
First of all, people should know that Yoga is a pure Sanskrit/Nepali word meaning ‘to add’ or ‘to connect’. So, obviously, yoga adds our subtle soul to the supreme divine soul. Even today, the word yoga is used in mathematical terms for addition in the schools of Nepal and all the terminology of Yoga is of daily use in the Nepalese language.
What Is Yoga?
Yoga is the journey from the self, through the self and to the self. Flowing with the law of nature and living with complete understanding, accepting whatever the situation, pain or pleasure, is Yoga. Indeed, being and living now – connecting the divine energy – is Yoga. Performing Dharma (duties and responsibilities) with utmost sincerity as per the teachings in Vedas, is Yoga in a true sense.
What Is Yoga for?
Yoga is the only royal road to the divine source – supreme consciousness (ultimate salvation). We must live a Yogic life (not with ashes or beard as seen in Indian Yogis, but following the teaching of Vedas) in order to be connected with the Almighty Creator and live a well disciplined happy, healthy, and peaceful life. I think this is the key to happiness and peace.
Yoga cures all the 1008 physical health problems, but it also enhances spiritual growth balancing material and spiritual life. Regular practice of Hatha Yoga purifies our body, mind and soul. It gives positive thoughts that drive for right action good results, which gives satisfaction and pure consciousness grows naturally. Eventually, self-realization gives happiness and peace in life.
Origins of Yoga
Shiva Samhita says that Guru Gorakshanath (awakened consciousness of Lord Shiva) taught Hatha Yoga to human beings for the first time in order to be connected and live a well disciplined and healthy life. Pious land of Nepal is the origin place of Tantra, Yoga and meditation. So, we believe that Yoga was in practice from the beginning of human civilization.
Regarding the history of Yoga, the western world couldn’t go beyond the Indus Valley civilization just until 3500 years ago, but yoga has a written history of 12,000 years in Nepal. Recent archaeological findings in ancient caves of Mustang-Nepal disclosed by National Geographic and BBC, demonstrate that meditation was in practice 9,000 years before Hindus of India. That said, it is believed that this practice is much older as Yoga-Meditation is one of the chapters of the fourth Veda-Atharvaveda.
What Are the Vedas?
The Vedas (book of knowledge) is the father of all the literature and scientific discoveries. In fact, it could be considered the constitution of whole human beings. Veda Vyasa, born in Damauli, Nepal, is the compiler of ‘The Four Vedas’. Moreover, the important fact is that the Hindus dwelling in Indus Valley were the same Aryans who migrated from the Himalayas of Nepal, practicing the same culture and traditions that we have nowadays.
History of Nepal and India
Google and Wikipedia are not necessarily the ultimate information source. It is a pity that people cannot go before the Indus valley civilization. People should know that the Greater Nepal had spread into half of today’s India territory, including Kashmir, Delhi, Agra, Calcutta, Eastern Sikkim, and some part of Tibet, including Holy Mt. Kailash (Manasarovar Lake). The map shows crystal clear evidence stamped from both governments just 80 years ago.
The name India was given by the British rulers. Long before, it was Hindustan and called Bharat because the great Nepali emperor Bharat had ruled the whole Indian continent –still, his Kingdom Bharatpur lies in the Narayanghat district of Nepal.
Who Was Yogi Patanjali?
Yogi Patanjali, compiler of Patanjali Yoga Sutra, is considered as the father of modern Yoga and the entire practice is following his principles. He was born in the tranquil village of Bhojpur, district of Nepal. Long later, Hindus of India used to come to the original Rishikesh – the Ruru Kshetra of Nepal in order to learn Vedic culture and to practice yoga. We need to thank the Indian yogis who spread yoga and meditation to the outer world for the noble cause.
The Eight Limbs of Yoga
There are eight limbs of Yoga – Yama (self restrain), Niyama (scriptural rules), Asana (sitting posture), Pranayama (breathing exercise), Pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), Dharna (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (salvation) as taught in Goraksha-Samhita.
It cannot be called Yoga if all its eight limbs aren’t followed. Besides by a few Indians and Westerners, the way yoga is practiced isn’t much different than just a physical exercise. Closing the eyes and stretching our body parts do not make us a yogi. Otherwise, acrobats, athletes, swimmers, football players, would all be yogis as well. People should be aware that we are not only a body but mind and soul too. Therefore, Yoga is about purifying these three aspects of our self.
Types of Yoga
These are the types of Yoga:
- Gyana Yoga (knowledge).
- Bhakti Yoga (devotion).
- Karma Yoga (selfless duty).
- Raja Yoga (purity).
- Mantra Yoga (Uttering powerful- Sanskrit words /mantras).
- Tantra Yoga (channelizing body energy).
- Hatha Yoga (activating male and female Nadis).
Not to be confused with the myriad of yoga styles in India and western countries. People should understand that Yoga is just Yoga, the same way water is just water. It must not be named with other adjectives, otherwise, it is like saying Nepali water, British water or American water.
Hatha Yoga is the father of all the yoga styles. If people breathe and do pranayama through the nostrils, stimulating Pingala (Ha) and Ida (Tha) nadis, then it is Hatha Yoga.
Big Misconceptions of Yoga
1. It is a big misconception among Yoga practitioners that they say Guru or Baba to any human with long beard and ashes in the forehead. He can be your spiritual guide, master, or teacher only. Guru is the Sanskrit word meaning ‘The Divine Light’ that erases darkness/ignorance. Guru and Baba are the holy words to be uttered while expressing love to the Almighty Guru Gorakshanath, (Go=Universe and Rakh= care taker) the creator of the universe and nature.
2. Do you call doctorni to a female doctor or engineerni to a female engineer? No! So why would you say Yogini to a female yogi. It is a human post/status received automatically when someone is well-cultured, disciplined, connected with the divine source and who lives in now and for others’ happiness.
3. It is wrong to go around the temple clockwise. We must go around the temple anti-clockwise in order to receive positive energy. The basic fundament is that we must flow with the law of nature, otherwise we suffer in every step. If we see around the flow of nature and solar energy, it all moves counter-clockwise: revolution of planets, rotation of earth, wheel of creation, movement of hurricanes, the astrological birth chart filling, animals sitting postures, climbing plants vein's upward movement, our Chakra's Kundalini energy uprising, the thumb's finger print, etc. Who tells a spider to make cobweb anti-clockwise? Or why all people use a scarf anti-clock wise? Somehow they do it automatically – because it is a law of nature. So, let’s go around the temple anti-clockwise to receive positive energy.
4. Using mats do not let us recharge with the Mother Earth. Scientists have discovered that we can enhance health condition if we walk barefoot daily. This knowledge was already described in Vedas verses. Our body is full of electromagnetic currents and walking barefoot helps us in discharging and recharging the earth's geo-magnetic currents in our body.
Want to learn more about yoga and all its principles? Follow BookYogaRetreats.com’s blog and read all the informative articles by our collaborators.