|[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 17 ]
Yoga is one of the shat dharshanas of sanathana dharma, or one of the six schools of spirituality in India. Shat means "six" and dharshana refers to a reverent or holy vision or view. Sanathana dharma literally means "eternal law." It refers to the ceaseless cosmic order, the universal laws of nature, which include the eternal, imperishable values such as satyam (truth), shivam (goodness), and sundaram (beauty).
Yoga is not a religion, in the sense that it is not professed as a doctrine to be adhered to. As I.K. Taimni says in his book, The Science of Yoga:
"Those who have studied Yoga will attest that this Science of sciences is too comprehensive in its nature and too profound in its scope of teachings to be fitted into the framework of any particular philosophy, religion or belief, ancient or modern.
It stands in its own right as a science based on the eternal laws of the higher life. Its truths are based on the experiences and experiments of an unbroken line of mystics, occultists, saints and sages who have realized and borne witness to them throughout the ages."
Though the roots of yoga lay in ancient India and the values of yoga protected for millennia within the structure of Indian culture, yoga itself is not just an Indian science. For instance, nowhere in the teachings is it told that yoga is synonymous, for instance, with Hinduism alone.
Swami Gitananda pointed out that through the practice of yoga one becomes better at whatever one is - a better Christian, a better Muslim, a better Buddhist, a better Jew, a better Hindu, a better Human Being!
Yoga should not be approached in a purely materialistic manner, as is often the case today. In some respects, yoga is highly intellectual, giving full play to logic, rationale and the inquiring mind. It supports positive emotions and attitudes and helps to eradicate the negative, the entire practice itself being cantered on awareness.
Looking to sage Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, perhaps the most well-known ancient text on yoga, we see he clearly indicates that the practice of yoga is designed to lead the practitioner to states of super consciousness, in so doing answering the fundamental questions of life... Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here?...
NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.
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