- 28 comments
- Dr. DP Shukla
Yoga & Meditation
Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which
originated in ancient India. Among the most well-known types of yoga are Hatha
yoga and Rāja yoga.
The word yoga was derived from the Sanskrit word, “yuj” which means ‘to join’ or ‘to
unite’. The union referred to is that of your mind with your body. You integrating with
your surroundings and nature. And, thus, your individual consciousness with the
This profound spiritual meaning of yoga is now being recognized globally as the
United Nations has named June 21st as International Yoga Day.
Lord Shiva is considered to be the first yogi. It is believed that, He disseminated his
knowledge and learning to seven learned men, known as Saptarishis. They in turn
spread this knowledge, in seven different directions, covering diverse regions.
The earliest recorded mention of the word ‘yoga’, is in the ancient Indian text, the Rig
Veda, around 1500 BC. There is a mention of the importance of the control of breath
in the Atharva Veda around 1200-1000BC.
Several seals and fossils have been found claimed to belong Indus-Saraswati
civilization, with figures performing Yoga Sadhana dated around 2700BC, suggesting
practice of yoga in those early stages of civilization.
Lord Mahavira spoke of attaining salvation and freedom through meditation,
Lord Buddha spoke of specific postures and meditation to attain enlightenment.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says, “Samatvam Yoga Uchyate”– equanimity in
the mind is a sign of yoga. Yoga is that the ability to remain centred in adverse
situations. Whatever takes us back to our original, joyous and harmonious nature
Here, the Lord explains the concepts of Dharma, Karma yoga (generous actions),
Bhakti yoga (dedicated and caring actions) and Jnana yoga (knowledge).
Maharshi Patanjali, in second century BC, considered the Father of Yoga, was the
first one to systematize the practices of yoga in. Through his Yoga Sutras, he
formulated the Astanga yoga or the eight limbs of yoga, which
included yamas, niyamas, asanas, breath control (pranayama), introspective
withdrawal of senses (pratyahara), mind concentration (dharana), meditation
(dhyana), and absorption/intense spiritual union (samadhi).
Dhyana/Meditation: Meditation, (one of the eight limbs of Ashtanga yoga) can be
defined as a practice where an individual focuses their mind on a particular object,
thought or activity to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state. Meditation
may be used to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and pain. It may be done
while sitting, repeating a mantra, and closing the eyes in a quiet environment.