Modern Yoga Is Very Different From Ancient Yoga
Yoga as it is practiced in the West today certainly diverges from the yogic practices of ancient India.
Nineteenth-century groups of intellectuals in both Europe and America, like the German Romantics and the American Transcendentalists , developed an interest in all things Indian. This was an interest complicated by Indias status as a British colonial outpost. Figures like Swami Vivekananda, a Hindu monk and mystic who frequently lectured in America and England, brought the practice of yoga to the attention of Western intelligentsia.
In the early 20th century, the intellectual fashion of yoga transformed into a Hollywood fitness craze through the efforts of the wealthy Russian-born Eugenie Peterson . She read an occult book on yoga Fourteen Lessons in Yogi Philosophy and Oriental Occultism by William Walker Atkinson, a white American author writing under the pseudonym Yogi Ramacharaka. She was inspired to study yoga in India and used her political connections to access the mystic Tirumalai Krishnamacharya.
But yogas increased popularity has brought with it controversy. For some Hindu scholars and thinkers, yogas adoption in the West as a popular fitness fad is a form of cultural appropriation. In 2008, the Hindu American Foundation launched a take back yoga campaign after the popular Yoga Journal declined to refer to certain postures as explicitly Hindu, choosing the more generic ancient Indian because the mention of Hinduism had too much baggage.
Comparing The Four Major Denominations
As just seen, the spectrum of Hindu religiousness is found within four major sects or denominations: Saivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism and Smartism. Among these four streams, there are certainly more similarities than differences. All four believe in karma and reincarnation and in a Supreme Being who is both form and pervades form, who creates, sustains and destroys the universe only to create it again in unending cycles. They strongly declare the validity and importance of temple worship, in the three worlds of existence and the myriad Gods and devas residing in them. They concur that there is no intrinsic evil, that the cosmos is created out of God and is permeated by Him. They each believe in maya , and in the liberation of the soul from rebirth, called moksha, as the goal of human existence. They believe in dharma and in ahimsa, noninjury, and in the need for a satguru to lead the soul toward Self Realization. They wear the sacred marks, tilaka, on their foreheads as sacred symbols, though each wears a distinct mark. Finally, they prefer cremation of the body upon death, believing that the soul will inhabit another body in the next life. While Hinduism has many sacred scriptures, all sects ascribe the highest authority to the Vedas and Agamas, though their Agamas differ somewhat. Here, now, is a brief comparison of these four denominations.
On the Personal God/Goddess
On the Nature of Shakti
Saivism: Shakti is God Siva’s inseparable power and manifest will, energy or mind.
What Is The Deeply Mystical Saiva Sect
Saivism is the world’s oldest religion. Worshiping God Siva, the compassionate One, it stresses potent disciplines, high philosophy, the guru’s centrality and bhakti-raja-siddha yoga leading to oneness with Siva within. Aum.
Seated on Nandi, his bull mount, the perfect devotee, Lord Siva holds japa beads and the trident, symbol of love-wisdom-action, and offers blessings of protection and fearlessness. Mount Kailas, His sacred Himalayan abode, represents the pinnacle of consciousness.
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Bhakti Yoga The Yoga Of Devotion
According to this path, a lack of faith in;the Divine or Sacred Essence has caused us to lose connection to our Divine Self. The solution, therefore, is love, surrender, and devotion to the Divine qualities in everything. Bhakti Yoga asks us to purify and transform our egotistic self-love by focusing the mind on sacred thoughts and transferring all our love and emotions into the Divine essence that permeates all. Examples of Bhakti Yoga are chanting, puja, and devotional rituals. This path resonates most with those of an emotional nature.
Is Yoga Really Ancient
There is a common misconception that stubbornly remains, which is that the yoga poses are thousands of years old, and that they have existed as one static teaching since the beginning of yoga time. In fact, there is no evidence of a traditional practice of yoga postures handed down intact over millennia.
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What Are The Three Yogas In The Bhagavad Gita
Among all these Yogas, three are considered to be the most prominent: namely, Jnan Yoga the Path of Knowledge, Karma Yoga the Path of Action and Bhakti Yoga the Path of Devotion. The first six chapters of Bhagavad Gita deal primarily with Karma Yoga, the next six with Bhakti Yoga and the last six with Jnan Yoga.
Role Of Yoga And Yoga
Hindu astrology is based on the interpretation of nakshatras , rasis and Navagraha . Planetary combinations and their indications are based on strength, nature, aspect, and avastha . Hindu astrology requires the identification of yogas and their application in accordance with established principles.
Although yogas are based on fundamental principles described in standard texts, not all texts cover all possible planetary combinations and associations, and texts have different interpretations of a given yoga. Certain yogas described in the texts cannot occur; these relate to Mercury and Venus vis-Ã;-vis the Sun. Mercury never goes beyond 28 degrees in front of or behind the Sun, and Venus never goes beyond 47 degrees.Saraswati yoga is common and auspicious.
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Yoga: The True Hindu Roots Behind The Western Trend
My religion isnt your workout; it has been rooted in my religion for thousands of years as a practice to become one with God and a way to heal our minds, bodies and souls. My prayer beads arent your accessories; used for meditation, the purity of my prayer beads dont make for a nice necklace or bracelet. Om is not a trendy noun for yogis; the sacred sound brings peace to the chanter and is not a name for your companys students. Yoga is a Hindu practice that cannot be stripped of its identity and given a new history.;
My yoga practice began many years ago at a religious Hindu camp, where I would reluctantly wake up at sunrise with the other campers to practice the SuryaNamaskar flow, before going straight back to sleep. As a young adult, I gravitated towards yoga, deepening my practice through daily classes and meditating with the help of my grandmothers mala . I was looking for peace in the hectic life I lived and for the duration of my yoga classes, the world didnt matter. For 60 minutes everything outside those studio doors came to a pause.
What Is The Universalistic Smarta Sect
Smartism is an ancient brahminical tradition reformed by Shankara in the ninth century. Worshiping six forms of God, this liberal Hindu path is monistic, nonsectarian, meditative and philosophical. Aum.
Adi Sankara lived from 788 to 820 ce, a mere 32 years, yet he gave Hinduism a new liberal denomination Smartism. Here, wearing sacred marks, he holds his writings and is flanked by the six Deities of the Smarta altar: Surya the Sun, Siva, Shakti, Vishnu, Kumaran and Ganesha.
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Yoga Is The Ideal Of Hinduism
An ideal human being, according to Hinduism, is one who has all the elements of philosophy, mysticism, emotion, and work present in him in equal proportions. To become harmoniously balanced in all these four directions is the ideal of Hinduism, and this is attained by what is known as “Yoga” or union.
Ashtanga Yoga And Power Yoga
Ashtanga means “eight limbs”; in contemporary hatha circles, it also refers to a style of yoga practice introduced by Pattabhi Jois. This dynamic form of hatha yoga involves vigorous flow from posture to posture. More specifically, Ashtanga practice today involves six series, or set combinations of postures, in which practitioners move from one posture to the next without stopping. Generally, however, only the primary series and the second series are taught in class settings because the remaining four series are quite physically demanding. In fact, those four can be practiced only by persons who have spent considerable time learning and accomplishing them.
Ashtanga yoga was rediscovered in the twentieth century when Pattabhi Jois and his teacher, Sri Krishnamacharya, translated a practice they found outlined in an ancient text called the Yoga Korunta. Krishnamacharya found the manuscript written on leaves in a form of Sanskrit used 5,000 years ago; according to interpreters, the estimated date of its transcription is at least 1,500 years ago. Pattabhi Jois named the practice Ashtanga, based on the second Pada of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. In the pada, the term ashta-anga are outlined and the Pattabhi Jois believed the integration of the eight limbs were steps to gradually awaken to Samadhi .
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The Eight Limbs Of The Royal Path
Think of the eight limbs of yoga as parts of the great tree of yoga. Each limb connects to the trunk, and yoga is grounded and nurtured by its deep, ancient roots. Each limb has leaves that express the life of the limb; these leaves are the techniques of the yogic limbs. The eight limbs, or stages, of yoga are outlined in the text of the Yoga Sutras, which was compiled and writtenaround 300 to 200 BCE by the sage Patanjali .
Yamas – guidelines for ethical standards and moral conduct
- Ahimsa – nonviolence
Niyamas – observances and disciplines
- Saucha – cleanliness
- Tapas – austerities
- Svadhyaya – study of spiritual scriptures
- Ishvara pranidhana – practice of awareness and surrender to the presence and divine will of God
Asana – practice of physical postures
Pranayama – special breathing techniques used to control the life force, or energy, in the body
Pratyahara – withdrawal of the senses as part of the transcendence of constant nervous stimuli; practice of sensory detachment through deep relaxation techniques
Dharana – concentration and focus
Dhyana – meditation
Samadhi – state of ecstasy, bliss, and enlightenment that transcends the Self and merges with the Divine
The Importance Of Guru
If they teach whatever like, it is usually their ego. It should be what you have learned from your guru that is the real method that you should teach. The parampara should go as it is as it was from your guru and his gurus guru. It needs to be rooted in something real and not just fancies that are created in the moment. Sharath Jois
The ubiquitous use of the word guru in the West is far different from its traditional and sacred meaning in the Hindu tradition. Literally translate, guru is one who dispels darkness. A guru is not just a mere teacher or expert, but rather one who can impart wisdom which he or she has personally experienced. The Hindu tradition places great importance on self-unfoldment, and only one who has experienced levels of inner awakening is qualified and able to impart that knowledge to a student. Hindu scripture extols the guru.
Guru-Brahma, Guru-Vishnu, Guru-devo-Mahesvarah Guru-saksat Param-Brahma tasmi Sri Gurave namah Guru is Brahma, Guru is Vishnu, Guru is Lord Shiva To that very Guru I bow, for He is the Supreme Being, right before my eyes.-Vishwasara Tantram
Furthermore, the relationship between a guru and his student is highly revered in Hindu culture. Examples of its sacredness abound in Hindu epics like the Mahabharata, in which respect, love, and devotion to the guru is demonstrated, not only by the virtuous Arjun, but also by the misguided Duryodhan.
sa tu dirgha kala nairantaira satkara asevitah dridha bhumih -Yoga Sutra 1.14
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What Is The Devotional Vaishnava Sect
Vaishnavism is an ancient Hindu sect centering on the worship of Lord Vishnu and His incarnations, especially Krishna and Rama. Largely dualistic, profoundly devotional, it is rich in saints, temples and scriptures. Aum.
Vishnu is the infinite ocean from which the world emerges. He stands on waves, surrounded by the many-headed Seshanaga, who represents agelessness and is regarded as an extension of divine energy and an incarnation of Balarama, Lord Krishna’s brother.
The Four Forms Of Yoga In Hinduism
Yoga is very popular, but few people know of its humble beginnings. Here, we will describe yoga’s foundation in Hinduism and the four different types of Yoga in Hinduism.
Yoga is very popular, but few people know of its humble beginnings. Here, we will describe yoga’s foundation in Hinduism and the four different types of Yoga in Hinduism.
Meditation is an important aspect of many peoples lives. Some people sit quietly, some people exercise, and some people pray. In ancient Hinduism, meditation was particularly important for your spiritual, mental, and physical well-being.
Like today, yoga was used as a form of meditation in ancient India. It was used to get in touch with your Atman. In Hinduism, your Atman is your inner self or soul. Getting in touch with your Atman is the way that you can reach Moksha, which is the word for being liberated from the cycle of reincarnation.
You are liberated when your Atman self becomes one with the transcendental self called Brahman. While meditating, a mantra, a phrase with a special meaning, is said to help center the mind.
Aum, one of the most;vital mantras; it is said to be a linguistic expression of divine flow, or a cosmic sound vibration. A mantra is a symbol of focus to help center the mind on the Atman.
As popular as the overall notion of Yoga is, there are actually four types of Yoga that are interconnected and employed by different people.
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What Is The Magic And Power Of Shaktism
Shaktism reveres the Supreme as the Divine Mother, Shakti or Devi, in Her many forms, both gentle and fierce. Shaktas use mantra, tantra, yantra, yoga and puja to invoke cosmic forces and awaken the kundalini power. Aum.
Shakti, depicted in Her green form, radiates beauty, energy, compassion and protection for followers. Wearing the tilaka of the Shakta sect on Her forehead, She blesses devotees, who shower rosewater, hold an umbrella and prostrate at Her feet.
Vapid Commercialization While Eschewing Materialism
However, starting in the 1990s, a movement that rejected material wealth was corporatized over the next few decades. The discourse on Yoga, which was previously a mix between asana practice, spiritual philosophy, Hindu thought and meditation practices, shifted completely to Yoga Asanas as a means to achieve the very material pursuit of the perfect body, even as Yoga studios maintained a facade of incense, various mantra chanting, and finishing classes with Namaste to maintain the exotic allure of the East. Yoga replaced Aerobics and Calisthenics in every Gym across the US.
As scholar Bell Hooks writes in Eating the Other :;
Yoga Journal is not alone in erasing Hinduism from its discourse. Many influential White Yoga Asana teachers like Diana Bruni felt they could speak for Yoga without having any right from a lineaged Guru while erasing the roots of Yoga which go back at least 5000 years to the Vedic period in India. White scholars like Mark Singleton actively erase Yogas roots by disregarding what Hindu Gurus say about the history of Yoga and centering only Western epistemes, which have a long track record of violence towards Dharma and Dharmic practitioners , in books like Yoga Body.
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Tracey Cook Looks At The 4 Paths Of Yoga: Karma Bhakti Raja And Jnana Yoga These 4 Paths Are Described In Ancient Yogic Philosophy As Leading Us Back To Our True Self
The paths are many, but the Truth is One M.K. Gandhi
We all want to be happy and lead a life that is free from suffering. Yogic philosophy suggests that the root cause of all of our suffering is a forgetfulness and disconnection with our True Self. This forgetfulness or ignorance is called avidy and can be traced back to the minds creation of separateness as an individual identity, apart from the rest of existence. According to Vedanta, the ancient scriptures, there are 3 impurities of the mind, which cause avidy:
- Mala selfishness, thinking in a way which looks only for the benefit of oneself, building momentum of an individual, singular, egoic identity.
- Vikshepa the tendency of the mind to be focused outward, constantly moving from one thought to another. Often known as the monkey mind.
- Avavana the forgetfulness or not knowing our True Self in the form of layers of layers, which appear to separate us from All Life.
The practice of yoga offers pathways, which dispel these mental impurities and lead the way back to the Truth we already know in our hearts as the Divine Self: that we are beyond the body, mind, emotions, and intellect.
The practice of yoga offers pathways, which lead the way back to the Truth we already know in our hearts: that we are beyond the body, mind, emotions, and intellect. SHARE QUOTE
The 4 paths are:
The Gita In Other Languages
The Gita has also been translated into European languages other than English. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in the Mughal Empire, multiple discrete Persian translations of the Gita were completed. In 1808, passages from the Gita were part of the first direct translation of Sanskrit into German, appearing in a book through which Friedrich Schlegel became known as the founder of Indian philology in Germany. The most significant French translation of the Gita, according to J. A. B. van Buitenen, was published by Emile Senart in 1922.Swami Rambhadracharya released the first Braille version of the scripture, with the original Sanskrit text and a Hindi commentary, on 30 November 2007.
The Gita Press has published the Gita in multiple Indian languages.R. Raghava Iyengar translated the Gita into Tamil in sandam metre poetic form. The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust associated with ISKCON has re-translated and published A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s 1972 English translation of the Gita in 56 non-Indian languages.Vinoba Bhave has written the Geeta in as Geetai i.e. Mother Geeta in the similar shloka form.
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