In the past I’d gotten into yoga. Then I strayed. For a while I felt like I didn’t have time, with all the other things I had to do, but I’ve since returned. I did because I feel so much better when I do it. I believe I look better too. However, in weekly writing this column I seized on the fact that yoga has ethnic origins! Therefore, I did a little research so that I might share a few things with you.
Sure, there are differing ‘styles’ of yoga, including Bikram, hatha, and power yoga -- to name a few, but truly, what is yoga? Is it just stretching exercises and breathing or relaxation techniques or is it more? Well let’s see. Yoga was developed in the ancient Sanskrit culture of Bharata, which in and of itself is so very interesting! Yoga was, and is, a way of life that not only incorporates ideas and practices, but yoga can permeate every aspect of one’s life, if allowed. An elevated way of living, it was first explained in the great Shastras and Vedas. These sacred Hindu texts which encompass beautiful prose, poetry, and song originated in ancient India and were assembled in Vedic Sanskrit. Four in number, The Vedas
1. Rig Veda
2. Yajur Veda
3. Sama Veda
4. Atharva Veda
were passed from guru -- spiritual leader -- to disciple for many thousands of years. Yes, and Yoga’s ethnic origins can be traced back to the very oldest of these, the Rig Veda, which speaks about ‘yoking the mind’ to the ‘highest truth.’ For those of you who know about the the chakras, believed to be the body’s seven sacred energy centers, this concept comes from the Atharva Veda.
Therefore, contrary to what many believe; yoga is not just a set of exercises designed to burn fat, or to aid an ethnic beauty to find peace through meditation. Its original sacred texts, the Vedas -- dating as far back as 10,000 years -- expound on how to navigate every aspect of life, with understanding and wisdom.
True, I am attempting to simplify the explanation of a vast science, one that could quite possibly take many lifetimes to fully absorb, yet I wanted to share with you this beautiful principle, begun by ethnic people. I also wanted to share with you -- ethnic beauties, the fact that true yoga provides a logical step-by-step process for awareness. It enlightens us, not only about ourselves, but it awakens us to the universe and beauty around us. I also wrote this article to honor this exquisite ethnic contribution to the world. It is one that has, and will, continue to greatly enhance the lives of those who choose to practice it.
For a host of information and classical literature on the Yogic System, whose exact birth lies in Hindu tradition, please visit your local library, or search yoga and Hindu traditions online at Amazon. Then should you like to comment, please do so in the Ethnic Beauty Forum. It's free and it’s fun!