Dr Ishwar V. Basavaraddi
Yoga practices have developed over time from spiritual exercise to larger objectives like preservation, maintenance and promotion of health in the contemporary times. Yoga has spread all over the world by the teachings of great personalities like Swami Shivananda, Shri T. Krishnamacharya, Swami Kuvalayananda, Shri Yogendara, Swami Rama, Shri Aurbindo, Maharshi Mahesh Yogi, Acharya Rajnish, Pattabhijois, BKS lyengar, Swami Satyananda Saraswati and the like.
Yoga School Of Thoughts
These different philosophies, traditions, lineages and Guru-Shishya paramparas of Yoga lead to the emergence of different Traditional Schools of Yoga e.g. Jnana-Yoga, Bhakti-yoga, Karma-Yoga, Dhyana-Yoga, Ptanjal-Yoga, Kundalini-Yoga, Hatha-Yoga, Mantra-Yoga, Laya-Yoga, Raja-Yoga, Jain-Yoga, Buddha-Yoga etc. Each school has its own principles and practices leading to ultimate aim and objectives of yoga.
However, the widely practiced Yoga Sadhanas (Practices) are:
Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana (Meditation), Samadhi/Samyama, Bandhas & Mudras, Shat-Karmas, Yukta-Ahara, Yukta-Karma, Mantra Japa etc.
Yama and Niyama refer to restraints and observances, respectively. These are considered to be pre-requisites for the Yoga-Sadhanas(Practices).
Asanas, capable of bringing about stability of body and mind ‘Kuryat-Tad-Asanamsthairyam’, consists of adopting various body patters (psycho-physical), ability to maintain a body position (a stable awareness of one’s structural existence) for a considerable length and period of time.
Pranayama means developing awareness of one’s breathing followed by willful regulation of respiration as the functional or vital basis of one’s existence. It helps in developing awareness of one’s mind and helps to establish control over the mind.