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The origin of Yoga can be found in the time of Vedas. Meditation was the only method by which ancient seers tried to discover the nature of things. Vedas, Upanishads were the results of deep meditation and ascetic practices (Tapas). The ascetic practices are referenced in Upanishad, Veda and Brahmana (900 BCE and 500 BCE).

Main textual sources for the concept of Yoga are Upanishad, (ca. 400 BCE) Great epics Ramayana (400 BCE), Mahabharata (5th c. BCE), Bhagavad-Gita and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Bhagavadgita and Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are the authoritative scriptures on Yoga. Bhagavad-Gita describes four Yogas namely, Karmayoga, Rajayoga, Jnanayoga and Bhaktiyoga. Yoga Sutras of Patanjali mainly concentrates on Rajayoga.

Bhagavad-Gita (song of God) is a part of great epic Mahabharatha. It has eighteen chapters. In Bhagavadgita Lord SriKrishna teaches Arjuna in the middle of the war field. It is very strange that one of the greatest spiritual works i.e. Bhagavad-Gita was taught in the middle of war field.

Bhagavadgita is a very popular scripture in India. Hundreds of commentaries were written on Gita. In Bhagavad Gita Lord SriKrishna teaches four main divisions of Yoga. Although aim of these Yogas are same, they are told so as to suite the intrinsic nature or dominent nature of a Sadhaka or practitioner of Yoga.

They are

  • Karmayoga: Karma means work. Karmayoga means Yoga through work. Yoga is the skill in work. Yogah karmasu kaushalam(Yoga is skill in work)

  • Jnanayoga: Jnana means knowledge. Jnanayoga means Yoga through knowledge.

  • Rajayoga: The Yoga through control of mind

  • Bhaktiyoga: The Yoga of devotion

The word yoga means "unity" or "oneness" derives from the Sanskrit word "yoga" which means to join. Yoga is a means of balancing and harmonizing the body, mind and emotions. The yoga postures or asanas exercise every part of body they work not only on the body frame but also on the internal organs, glands and nerves as well, keeping all system in radiant health.

The one aspect of human mind is that it seldom rests as it never remains fixed on a single subject or object. Mind is just thinking, thinking, and thinking, and wandering in a boundary less expanse. To achieve concentration is the major goal in yoga a state in which the mind is constantly undergoing modification. Physical and mental therapy is one of the most important achievements of yoga bringing holistic harmony to mind and body.

What we know of today, as handed down by our forefathers, many of the yogasanas (postures) are named after and reflect the movements of different animals. Through observation our forefathers understood how animals live in harmony with their particular postures and how the hormonal secretions could be stimulated and controlled by it. This is done through the practice of asana (the physical exercise), pranayama (the breathing technique), and mudra (position of gesture) which represents the psychic bandhan (locks for channeling energy).

The word yoga - unity or joining - has also been described in spiritual term as the harmonious union of Shiva (the supreme consciousness) with his consort the Shakti (energy) and this is the central theme of yoga the unification called Shiva-Shakti. Besides achieving the general wellness, Yoga serves well being of society and humanity, as scores of ailments are possible to be cured by following the tenets of Yoga. This can be opted as single or as a combination of Ayurveda, Yoga and Meditation in India, as overall package to enjoy travel tourism in India.

Practicing Yoga and meditation are not just key techniques to unwind you. They can be opted to channelize your mind, rejuvenate your soul and keep your body fit. It is in the coordination of the three: body, soul and mind that the perfect state of composure can be attained. Yoga clubs the rhythm of the body with the melody of the mind and the harmony of the soul, to create symphony of life. The term Yoga is perhaps linked to the English word 'Yoke'. Probably Yoga means to 'yoke' the body, mind and soul together. The practice of Yoga aims at uniting the three. Yoga originated way back in the 4th century BC.

A sage, Patanjali, put forward yoga as a system of philosophy. The common form of Yoga is also referred to as the Ashtang Yoga, which comprises of eight basic features namely Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratayahara, dharna, dhayan and samadhi. Each feature has its own significance. Yama promotes the universal disciplines of truth, self-control, non-violence, non-stealing and non-greed. The second feature, Niyama, endorses human values of contentment, self-study, penance, cleanliness and surrender to God. Asanas are the various yogic postures that are to be performed to keep the body fit and fine. The management of the breath is covered under the aspect of Pranayama. The feature of Pratayahara is practiced to compose the mind and alienate oneself from the five senses. Dharna and Dhyan are about concentrating and meditating and the final aspect of Samadhi refers to the ultimate state of oneness with God.

India has been the land of saints and sages who meditated and practiced yoga. The spiritual city of Rishikesh happens to be the Yoga capital of India. Tourists and travelers flock to contemplate and practice Yoga and meditation in the lap of Himalayas. The city hosts the International Yoga Week every year in the month of February attracting several experts and participants. The trip to Rishikesh is incomplete without the visit to the Glasshouse on the Ganges, which was once a private garden retreat of Maharaja of Tehri Garhwal.