|YOGA is a
Sanskrit word. It means joining together. Here it refers to the joining together of all
the powers of man, his body, mind and soul, and directing them towards God. Yoga is a limb
of the Vedas.
Although the Upanishads contain
details about yoga here and there, the first Rishi to systernatise it was Patanjali.
His work is - called Yoga Sutras. Sutras mean short, pithy
statements. There are 185 such sutras in that work.
Eight steps have been prescribed for the practice of yoga.
(1) Yama or self-control; (2) Niyama or discipline; (3)
Asana or physical exercise; (4) Pranayama or breathing exercise; (5) Pratyahara or drawing
the mind inward; (6) Dharana or concentration; (7) Dhyana or meditation and (8) Samadhi or
a state of trance.
Each of these steps leads to realisation of God, and the
total effect of yoga is to create peace of mind.