What is yoga?  

 The word “Yoga” means, “that which brings you to reality”. In literal sense, it means “union.” Union means it brings us to the ultimate reality, where individual manifestations of life are surface bubbles in the process of creation. Right now, a coconut tree and banyan tree have popped up from the same earth. From the same earth, the human body and so many creatures have popped up. Yoga means to move towards an reality where one knows the ultimate nature of the existence, the way it is made.
The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, meaning ‘to join’ or ‘to yoke’ or ‘to unite’. As per scriptures the practice of Yoga leads to the union of individual with that of the Universe, indicating a perfect harmony between the mind and body, Man & Nature. 

History of yoga
 There’s no specific origin to how yoga came into. But, it began long ago when people started trying to understand what life was all about. Yoga’s history has many places of obscurity and uncertainty due to its oral transmission of sacred texts and the secretive nature of its teachings. The early writings on yoga were transcribed on fragile palm leaves that were easily damaged, destroyed or lost. The development of yoga can be traced back to over 5,000 years ago, but some researchers think that yoga may be up to 10,000 years old old.

 Types of yoga

Different types of yoga targets different problems of individual, some of the types of yoga are:

Kundalini Yoga
Yogi Bhajan, teacher, and spiritual leader, brought this style of yoga to the West in the late 1960s. “Kundalini” in Sanskrit translates to “life force energy” which is thought to be tightly coiled at the base of the spine. These yoga sequences are carefully designed to stimulate or unlock this energy and to reduce stress and negative thinking. 

Vinyasa yoga
Vinyasa yoga is also called “flow yoga” or “vinyasa flow”. It is an incredibly common style. One example is 3 Week Yoga Retreat’s flow yoga for beginners. It was adapted from the more regimented ashtanga practice a couple of decades ago. The word “vinyasa” translates to “place in a special way,” which is often interpreted as linking breath and movement. We’ll often see words like slow, dynamic, or mindful paired with vinyasa or flow to indicate the intensity of a practice.

Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga yoga consists of six series of specific poses taught in order. Each pose and each series is “given” to a student when their teacher decides they have mastered the previous one. This is a very physical, flow-style yoga with spiritual component.

Bikram yoga
   Bikram Choudhury developed Bikram yoga. It is a form of hot yoga. These classes, like ashtanga classes, consist of a set series of poses performed in the same order, and the practice has strict rules. Each class is 90 minutes, with 26 postures and two breathing exercises, and the room must be 105° Fahrenheit with 40 percent humidity. Additionally, instructors do not adjust students.Since Bikram yoga has so many rules, many studios simply call their classes “hot yoga” so they can customize their offerings. Devotees of hot yoga tout the massive amount of sweat and the added flexibility the practice gives them.

Benefits of yoga
 -Yoga can decrease stress 
    Yoga has found to decrease stress and promote relaxation, it has found to decrease the level of cortisol which is the primary stress hormone. When used alone or along with other methods of alleviating stress, such as meditation, yoga can be a powerful way to keep stress in check
 -Yoga relieves stress
    Many people begin practicing yoga as a way to cope with feelings of anxiety.Interestingly enough, there is quite a bit of research showing that yoga can help reduce anxiety.  
-Keeps our body health.

In frame: Dipam Jyoti Bharali
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Yoga can put the right amount of stress on our muscles which can really keep them at ease and at work, the right amount of blood circulation can really help to keep us healthy both mentally and physically.
-Improves heart health
    From pumping blood throughout the body to supplying tissues with important nutrients, the health of your heart is an essential component of overall health.Studies show that yoga may help improve heart health and reduce several risk factors for heart disease.

-Helps with depression
   Some studies show that yoga may have an anti-depressant effect and could help decrease symptoms of depression.This may be because yoga is able to decrease levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that influences levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter often associated with depression 

-Helps with metabolism
   Having a balanced metabolism results in maintaining a healthy weight and controlling hunger. Consistent yoga practice helps find the balance and creates a most efficient metabolism.
-Helps with sleep
   Because of the many benefits to both body and mind that a yoga routine can provide, many find that their sleep is much better. Its proven in studies that people who practice yoga have less sleep problems.

Body awareness       

Doing yoga will give you an increased awareness of your own body. You are often called upon to make small, subtle movements to improve your alignment. Over time, this will increase your level of comfort in your own body. This can lead to improved posture and greater self-confidence.-Yoga can help ease arthritis symptoms        Gentle yoga has been shown to ease some of the discomfort of tender, swollen joints for people with arthritis-Yoga connects you with a supportive community. 
      Participating in yoga classes can ease loneliness and provide an environment for group healing and support. Even during one-on-one sessions loneliness is reduced as one is acknowledged as a unique individual, being listened to and participating in the creation of a personalised yoga plan.

Yoga in Assam and India      

The practice of Yoga was started during the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India over 5,000 years ago. It was first mentioned in Rig Veda, which is a book consisting a collection of texts that consisted of rituals, mantras, and songs which was mainly used by Brahmans, the Vedic priests. Yoga was then developed by Brahmans who eventually documented their practices and beliefs in the Upanishads that has over 200 scriptures. Sage Maharishi Patanjali is called the father of yoga in India.

 Tirumalai Krishnamacharya is considered as the founder of modern yoga. The current Prime Minister of India – Narendra Modi inspires all the Indians to practise yoga as it is very helpful for having a sound physical and mental health. In Assam, the impact of Yoga is not that much but people have started practicing yoga now-a-days after knowing its value. It’s a matter of being proud that Assam has participated in International Yoga Championship. The first Assamese to participate in this competition is Dipam Jyoti Bharali who is a resident of Sivasagar. He participated in the competition in the year 2014. Now-a-days, yoga is considered as a game. A news even came out that Yoga is going to be included in the Olympics. Yoga is also going to be included in Khelo India Championship. Yoga is an art of leading a happy and healthy life. It paves the way to have a sound physical and mental health. So, everyone should practice yoga daily. 

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