The word ‘yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit word yuj which means ‘yoke’ attach or ‘join’. It means the joining or uniting of the individual consciousness with the universal consciousness, or self-realisation.
The science of yoga was systematised by Maharishi Patanjanli in 285 yogasutras.
There are eight components of yoga. These are:
1. Yama: Our attitudes towards our environment.
2. Niyama: Our attitudes towards ourselves.
3. Asana: The practice of body exercises.
4. Pranayama: The practice of breathing exercises.
5. Pratyahara: The restraint of our senses.
6. Dharana: The ability to direct our minds.
7. Dhyana: The ability to develop interactions with what we seek to understand.
8. Samadhi: Complete integration with the object to be understood.
Their respective meanings are:
i) Universal moral commandments.
ii) Self-purification by discipline.
iv) Rhythmic control of breath.
v) Withdrawal of the mind from the domination of the senses and exterior object.
viii) Thoughtless state in which one becomes one with the object of his meditation.
Excerpts from ‘The Happiness Quotient’