Yoga is one of the six 'darśana'
- viewpoints of traditional Indian philosophy and has been practised in one shape or form for thousands of years. The word yoga is often translated as 'union' and usually refers to a path or method of self-realisation in which the practitioner seeks to experience a state of 'mokśa'
- emancipation from the inherent 'duḥkham'
- difficulty, of worldly life and its cycle of 'saṃsāra'
: life, death and rebirth.
Manifold approaches to liberation include the yoga of: Jñāna
- knowledge, Bhakti
- Devotion, Karma
- work, Aṣṭâñga
- eight limbs and Haṭha
An important text on yoga is widely regarded as the Yoga Sūtra composed around 2000 years ago. The author, Patañjali,
codified and collated earlier teachings of yoga thereby offering a systematic method
to calm the mind and abide in our essential nature.
In the 9th - 11th century a path of yoga emerged which focused on physical practices such as cleansing techniques, postures and breathing exercises, visualisation and concentration. This yoga became known as 'Haṭha Yoga
' and forms the basis for much of the modern styles of yoga that are popular today.
The subject of yoga is vast and represents the fruit of centuries of reflection & experimentation by mystics, yogis and seekers. From the earliest times human beings have asked fundamental questions about the nature of reality and identity. Yoga is a response, method and doorway to such self-enquiry.