A Factual History of Yoga

The History of Yoga

The word Yoga means, “to join or yoke together”. The practice of yoga postures joins the body and mind together into one united experience. While many people are just discovering the benefits of yoga and many fitness facilities are just starting to offer yoga classes, the classical techniques of Yoga date back over 5,000 years. The exact origin date for Yoga is unclear, but it most likely predates written history. Illustrations of Yoga positions have been found in archeological site stone carvings in the Indus Valley dating back 5,000 years.

The physical practice of yoga is called Hatha Yoga. It was developed by Yogis who went into the jungles thousands of years ago to meditate. During meditation, these Yogis observed animal movements. The development of many of the yoga postures comes from their observations of nature and animals. Although yoga has a long history, its rise to popularity in the United States has been only in the last 50-75 years. However, Yoga has now found its away across the continents to take root in American culture.

Yoga as we know it today has its seeds of origin within the Yoga Sutras written by Pantanjali about 800 BC. Though Pantanjali identified eight limbs of yoga, most people are initially drawn to only one of the limbs, Hatha Yoga. The foundation of Hatha Yoga includes exercise and breathing. Yoga breathing is a unique process regulating the inflow of breath in the two nostrils. The exercises of Yoga are designed to engage the human glandular systems, thereby increasing efficiency and total health. Breathing techniques are based on the concept that breath is the source of life in the body and mind and that a quiet mind allows silence and healing from everyday stress.

The power of yoga lies in its simplicity and most of the postures in yoga (called Asanas) are relaxing, refreshing, require no special equipment or clothing and can be performed by men, women and children above 16 years. Hatha is derived from Ha meaning the Sun and Ta meaning the Moon. As mentioned above, the word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit term ‘Yug’ which means “yoke”or’ unite’. The two terms together denote the unification of the Sun and the Moon.

Hatha Yoga postures leads to coordination and harmony between the different organs of the body. Thus Hatha Yoga helps in restoring normal health to the whole body, conserving energy and purifying the body from all impurities. Praanayaama and the relaxation techniques of yoga generally help regulate the breathing, enhance the oxygen absorption into the blood stream, control the mind and act on certain nerve centers to ensure delivery of vital energy to the body and restoration of normal health to the nervous system, endocrinal glands and all the vital organs of the body.

The concept of yoga includes union or binding of body and mind. Yoga helps in development of coordination and control of all the forces within the body, leading to perfection in the functioning of all the organs. Yoga gives the ability to control the normal stresses and strains in life and handles the overall functioning of all the vital organs of the body. Health of a person is determined by holistic health, a mixture of physical and mental health. Yoga helps maintain this holistic health of a person, which involves great discipline not only of the body, but also of the mind. Yoga instills in the minds of the people a hope full of optimistic approach towards life.

Yoga probably arrived in the United States in the late 1800s, but it did not become widely known until the 1960s, as part of the youth culture’s growing interest in anything Eastern. As more people learned about the beneficial effects of Yoga, it gained acceptance and respect as a valuable method for helping in the management of stress and improving health and overall well-being.

References:

A short History of Yoga by George Feuerstein.
History of Yoga by the American Yoga Association.

How Aromatherapy Enhances Meditation And Yoga

Meditation and yoga are powerful tools to achieving whole body health. Yoga is an ancient physical and mental practice. Many varieties of yoga can be found at your local studio or gym, and some popular types including Vinyasa, Bikram, Ashtanga, and more.

Most yoga studios will conclude a class with Shavasana. Shavasana is the time you are encouraged to quiet your mind, connect with your body, and focus on meditation.

Combining the practices of yoga and meditation allows you to holistically better your mind and body health. Meditation calms the mind, relives anxiety, and is good for heart health, cognition, focus, and memory. Yoga has more than fifty different benefits for physical, emotional, and mental health.

The benefits of yoga and meditation are well known, but to name a few major advantages of yoga include: lower blood pressure; healthy immune system, emotional stability, and sharpened focus just to name a few. Never underestimate the powers of meditation and yoga.

Taking Your Practice To Another Level

To achieve even greater results from your practice, you will need to take your yoga and meditation to another level. Adding aromatherapy can help you in achieving a much higher level of discipline. The greater your discipline, the better your results.

How Does Aromatherapy Work?

Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils to promote a positive mind and body health. Essentials oils are derived from various plants, flowers, fruits, roots, stems, bark, and other botanicals.

These organic materials are greatly concentrated in essential oils, giving us a strong olfactory experience. Oils stimulate the all-important sense of smell and olfactory glands, and then communicate with the brain’s memories and emotions, or limbic system.

This kind of therapy is believed to combat pain, insomnia, depression, other mental conditions, and more. Essential oils have very similar purposes as yoga and meditation, so they make perfect sense as an addition to your practice.

Selecting Your Essential Oils

When selecting your essential oils it is important to consider your goals in aromatherapy. Different oils have various purposes, functions, and effects, and each are suitable for its own particular and specific situation.

The treatment for one concern will fluctuate from that of another, just as an antibiotic would be used to treat an infection, but a steroid could be used to treat inflammation.

For instance, a person suffering from insomnia may use oils like lavender, vetiver, or chamomile, which are calming and elicit the relaxation response in the body. Conversely, a person who struggles with lethargy would use oils like basil, eucalyptus, lemongrass, orange, or peppermint to induce energy.

By researching essential oils and their benefits, you can discover the appropriate options for you.

Methods To Implement Aromatherapy

Once you have explored your essential oils options and selected the right oils for you, you are ready for essential oil use and application. There are a few different ways you can add aromatherapy into your daily routine. Here are some great options so you can determine the best implementation method in your personalized practice.

Anointing: Essential oils are deeply massaged onto skin during stretching or rest time. This can allow for increased visualization and focus. Never apply essential oil directly to the skin; it must be blended with a carrier oil, like jojoba, canola, or olive oil.

Diffusing: Using an aromatherapy diffuser, essential oils are dispersed throughout the air of your yoga space. This creates a certain mood or atmosphere for enhanced practice. Candle lamps are another way you can diffuse oils. They smell magnificent, creating an attractive yoga and meditation space.

Purifying: Essential oils are used as an astringent cleaning method. This deodorizes and cleanses the workspace. Add your oils to a spray bottle with water to begin using. Spray to cleanse and purify your areas.

Implementation

With the regular practice of meditation and yoga, you will only continue to enrich your physical and mental health. Adding aromatherapy to this routine will help you in exceeding your goals.

Test the different methods of implementing aromatherapy and explore your the essential oil options. Sample different products until you find the right formula for your practice. Whether you are a seasoned yogi or a novice student, aromatherapy will only encourage the success and rewards of your discipline.

Russell (Rusty) Hart is the founder of the Health, Fitness & Sport Club, a website devoted to the promotion of health, fitness and wellness. The site encompasses a wide variety of health and fitness activities including general health matters, pilates, yoga, CrossFit, treadmill training, running, kettlebell, swimming, baseball, camping, hunting, HIIT, triathlons, extreme sports, equestrian and more. Should this subject matter be of interest you can visit the HF & S Club home site where you’ll find over 1,300 quality posts with new posts being published daily. To quickly access those that are of interest you can select any of 20 Categories broken down by over 260 Sub-Categories for easy access.