Origin and Meaning
The nature of all yoga is a re-birth into a new awareness – from a profane, intellectualized and material human life to a higher, more divine being.
Sri Aurobindo (Indian philosopher)
Yoga is one of the six systems of Indian philosophy and is already mentioned in the Vedas, the holy scriptures of the Hindus. An important scripture is the Bhagavadgita, The Chant of the Supreme. It contains God Krishna’s directions about the discipline of various Yoga ways to the hero Arjuna.
The Yoga paths
Bhakti Yoga I the way of devotion
The emotional human being finds the higher self through love and prayer (arts).
Jnana Yoga I the way to knowledge
The intellectual human being studies philosophical and religious scriptures and so achieves to become one with divinity.
Karma Yoga I the way of the deed
This is chosen by the human being who performs work without searching for praise and profit, who stays complacent in success and failure.
Yoga Marga I the way of Yoga
The meditative human being follows the Yoga Marga to be able to control thoughts and find the higher self.
Vom zweiten Jahrhundert v. Chr. bis ins vierte Jahrhundert n. Chr. entstanden die Yoga-Sutren von Patanjali. Diese enthalten 195 kurze Merk- und Lehrsprüche, die die Grundlage aller Yogawege bilden.
The Eight Steps of Yoga (Asthanga Yoga)
nonviolence, thruthfullness, abstinence, being free of greed
purity, contentment, ascesis, study of the scriptures, devotion to God
withdrawing the senses from outside influences
Another important script is the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (Light of Hatha Yoga) which was written around 1400 A.C. by Yogi Swatmarama. The emphasis of the Hatha Yoga lies on the exercise of the Asanas (body postures) and Pranayamas (breathing exercises). The aims of Hatha Yoga and of the spiritual Raja Yoga are the same (concentration, meditation, enlightment).
In the thousands of years old spiritual history of India, many Yoga ways evolved, but they all follow the same goal: the individual soul (Jivatma) merges with the Universal Soul, the Highest Being or God (Paramatma)