Ancient Yoga In India

Yoga is described as the ancient discipline of performing various body postures to cleanse body and mind for purity and strength. In ancient times, the various body postures called “Asana” used to help in meditation, health, strength and above all development of the mind with soul. Yoga originated long time back in India where it is still considered as the epitome of yoga learning. It is not essentially a physical exercise at all. The practice of ‘yoga’ not only comprises practicing asana but also mental discipline, including psychic practices as well. What is more, the benefits of yoga are being provided by centers of learning in India itself, the originator of yoga practice.

Ancient scriptures called Upanishads or Vedanta, describe this traditional method of doing yoga, which was passed on through generations after generations in India. Learning this subject is more economical and cost-effective in India than anywhere else in the world. Learning to study yoga in India has its benefits which are related to quality, low living costs, healthy ecosystem and is also low priced. This practice was systematized by Patanjali in yoga sutras (300-200 BC) and by 19th century yoga was propounded in the west by teachers who studied it in eastern countries, especially India.

Yoga retreats and tours have been provided for desiring young people, who are searching for opportunities to better themselves physically and mentally or to be in good shape. These yoga retreats also offer students the opportunity to study yoga in India. The studies are thorough and complete, in the essence that students can undertake workshops, participate in yoga classes as well as perform their duties in the retreat, ashram or tour. This study also includes learning and explanation of different asana for varying yogic needs, which cover the main five objectives of learning yoga, exercise, breathing, relaxation, diet and meditation.

Physical Exercise in the practice of yoga is meant to be held on to for a while, since initially the aim is to gain body flexibility; therefore the asana is much more than a simple technique, it is a way to physical enlightenment. Yoga exercises focus on the health, flexibility and strength of the spine; by increasing spine’s flexibility and strength through better exercises one will improve blood circulation and oxygen supply to different body organs. Hence, these asana benefit the body, mind, organs, glands and hormones.

Practice of Yoga also emphasize the routine of proper breathing, the exercises in this category are called ‘Pranayama’. Yoga includes the practice of various types of Pranayama, which enable one to make their breathing process much easier and much better. ‘Prana’ is the subtle energy of vital breath, controlling pranamakes it easy to control mind. Yoga teaches one the correct breathing practices, how to control one’s breath and use lungs for maximum capacity.

Gaining a proper relaxation at the end of day is vital; hence, yoga retreats in India practice the relaxation of the mind, body and soul. Many of the stress management and relaxation techniques followed around the world borrow heavily from this traditional science of yoga. Balancing the work using body and mind economizes energy production within the body.

Eating a healthy diet is an important part of the learning given in Yoga. Yoga advocates that the more nutritive the diet, the more benefits to both body and soul. Therefore, yoga diets include more leafy green vegetables and less of meat, fish, eggs, onions, garlic, coffee, tea, alcohol and drugs.

The most important aspect of maintaining a healthy practice of yoga is to have positive outlook towards life, whereby the individual is able to gain more strength in yoga and learns to channel calmness even in adversities. Meditation could be a possible help in this aspect, as it allows the individual to observe his mind and release negative thoughts from his or her body and mind system.

Modern day yoga retreats in India recreate and rejuvenate the capability inherent in an individual by allowing him or her to get in touch with their own abilities through purification of body, mind and soul. Yoga postures or asana provide the much needed guidance and are the basis of philosophy of attaining self mastery. Thus, to study yoga in India is crucial for any individual who aim to lean the ancient science of yoga and expects to get ahead in the life in today’s fast-paced urban world. Practicing Yoga can be extremely beneficial, since it surmises healthy habits which evolve the individual physically, mentally and emotionally.


Article taken from

Scott, Brad. “Exercise or Religious Practice? YOGA.” The Watchman Expositor Vol 18, No. 2 (2001)

This article is from a collection of articles written by faculty / teachers / community of Ajarya Yoga Academy. You may visit to read more such articles.


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