More than five thousand years old, Yoga is a gift of India to the world. The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root Yuj, which means “Union.” In yogic terminology, this union connotes the union of one’s soul with the Supreme Soul or the Supreme Power. In simple words, Yoga can be delineated as an outstanding method of self-development and self-realization.

Patanjali, an ancient Indian sage, is regarded as the Father of Yoga. He propounded the concept of yoga through his treatise on yoga, named Yoga Sutras. In his Yoga Sutras, Patanjali elucidated the eight stages or paths of yoga called Ashtangayoga. These eight stages are popularly known as the “Eight Limbs of Yoga” and they constitute the following:

Yama – Social Behavior

Niyama – Inner Discipline

Asana – Physical Postures

Pranayama – Breath Control

Pratyahrya – Discipline of the Senses

Dharna – Concentration

Dhyana – Meditation

Samadhi – Self-Realization

Each one of these limbs is as imperative as the rest of them. But nowadays, only Asana (Physical Postures) and Pranayama (Breath Control) are construed as yoga, as these are the two aspects of yoga that people are more aware of and more interested in.

Yoga comes in different forms and styles viz. Ashtanga Yoga, Ananda Yoga, Shivananda Yoga, Viniyoga, Satyananda Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Swaroopa Yoga, Jivamukti Yoga, Kripalu, Kali Ray Triyoga et al.

But, the most popular style of yoga is Iyengar Yoga. B.K.S. Iyengar, the originator of Iyengar Yoga says: “When I practice I am a philosopher; when I teach I am a scientist; when I demonstrate I am an artist.”