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Ashtottaram 5: OṀ YOGABHŨMYAI NAMAH

Yoga is the greatest gift that was ever given to the humanity

By Dr. Devakinanda Pasupuleti

The greatest gift that was ever given to the humanity by the great ancient seers of India about 10,000 years ago was the ‘YOGA”. Unfortunately, nowadays, yoga is being sold out as a commercial enterprise that is far from the original vision of the ancient seers, sages, and rishis. The yoga of the body is āsanās (postures, positions) and yoga of the mind is the meditation.

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Ashtottaram 5

5) OṀ YOGABHŨMYAI NAMAH:                             

ॐ योगभूम्यै नमः

OṀ (AUM) – YO’-GA-BHOO-MYAI– NA-MA-HA

(Yoga: “To unite”, “perfect concentration of mind”)

There are many meanings for the word- “yoga” in Sanskrit. Yujsamadhau means “perfect concentration of mind”. If derived from another root, “yujuryoge”, it means “to unite”. Combining these two, one can say yoga stands for concentration of mind which helps the spiritual aspirant to ultimately unite his individual soul (jīvatman) with the Supreme Soul (Paramātman). Though yoga is a science, the word has often been used very loosely for any spiritual discipline, especially in the western world. Sage Patanjali wrote the yoga sastra in 200 BCE based on Svetasvatara Upanishad, Kaivalya Upanishad, and Sānkhya by Kapila, Ramayana, Bhagavatam, Bhagavad Gita and Uddhava Gīta. The eight limbs of “Ashstānga Yoga” are 1) yama (absitnence, restraint); 2) niyama (observance); 3) āsana (yoga positions, postures); 4) prāṇayāma (breath control); 5) pratyāhāra (withdrawl of senses); 6) dhyāna (meditation); 7) dhāraṇa (concentration, single focus); and 8) samādhi (merging with the divine, contemplation, God realization).

yoga is a science
Yoga harmonizes the body with mind and breath. Pixabay

The word yoga was first mentioned in the oldest Sanskrit texts, the Rig Veda about 10,000 years ago. It is an ancient system of physical and mental practices that originated in ancient India. The fundamental purpose of yoga is to foster harmony in the body, mind, and environment. Yoga professes a complete system of physical, mental, social, and spiritual development. In simple words, it is gaining mastery over the body through bodily postures and positions.

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The original context of yoga was spiritual development practices to train the body and mind to self observe and become aware of their own nature. The purposes of yoga were to cultivate discernment, awareness, self-regulation and higher consciousness in the individual. Yoga harmonizes the body with mind and breath. After all, Patanjali, the author of the ‘Yoga Sutras’ taught that the first two steps of yoga on which all else rests are the Yama and Niyama (inner and outer purifications) which help to separate body identification from real Self.

As Yogeshwar, the great lord of yoga, Shiva rules over all aspects of yoga relative to body, mind and consciousness. Tantric yoga teachings about Prāṇa (life-force) relate to Shiva, who holds the inner power of prāṇāyāma.

The land which taught the science of yoga to humanity deserves to be called “Yoga Bhūmi”.

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