Yoga (Sanskrit: योग) is a commonly known generic term for the physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India with a view to attain a state of permanent peace. It is practiced in many different ways all over the world. Specifically, yoga is one of the six āstika ("orthodox") schools of Hindu philosophy. One of the most detailed and thorough expositions on the subject is the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali, which defines yoga as "the stilling of the changing states of the mind" (Sanskrit: योग: चित्त-वृत्ति निरोध:). Yoga has also been popularly defined as "union with the divine" in other contexts and traditions. Various traditions of yoga are found in Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism.
The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali
are 196 Indian sūtras
) that constitute the foundational text of Rāja yoga
is one of the six orthodox āstika
schools of Hindu philosophy
, which, according to the Yogatattva Upanishad
, is divided into four forms – Mantrayoga, Layayoga, Hathayoga and Rājayoga – the last of which is the highest (or royal) practice.
Although the Yoga Sutras have become the most important text of Yoga, the opinion of most scholars is that Patañjali was not the creator of Yoga, which existed well before him, but merely a great expounder.
Kurmasana (Tortoise Pose)
Tamil: பதஞ்ஜலி (Sanskrit
, IPA: [pət̪əɲɟəli]
150 BCE) is the compiler of the Yoga Sūtras
, an important collection of aphorisms on Yoga
practice. According to tradition, the same Patañjali was also the author of the Mahābhāṣya
, a commentary on Kātyāyana
s (short comments) on Pāṇini
and of an unspecified work of medicine (āyurveda
Patanjali's place of birth is held to be "Gonarda", in a "country in the eastern division", and he described himself as a "Gonardiya" throughout his life. This corroborates Tirumular's Tirumandhiram, which describes him as hailing from Then Kailasam (Koneswaram temple, Trincomalee), and he famously visited the Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram, where he wrote the Charana Shrungarahita Stotram on Nataraja. In recent decades, the Yoga Sutra has become quite popular worldwide for the precepts regarding practice of Raja Yoga and its philosophical basis. "Yoga" in traditional Hinduism involves inner contemplation, a system of meditation practice and ethics.