What is Yoga? - Find the keys to the nature of the existence
“The very way you breathe, sit, stand, eat, walk, work – everything can become yoga. You can use any process of life to transcend your limitations.”
The ancient yogic discipline is far more than a fitness method for physical health or a psychological tool to achieve peace and happiness. Wellness of body and mind, often touted as the primary benefit of modern yoga practice, is merely a by-product of becoming a fully balanced and vibrantly alive being. The Sanskrit word “yoga” comes from the word “yuj” which means, “to unite.” Hence, yoga is the union of the individual with the whole of existence, also commonly referred to as “self-realization,” “nirvana,” “mukti,” or “enlightenment.” Yoga also refers to the inner technology that will lead one to this experience – a technology formulated from rigorous inner observation, by ancient yogis over thousands of years. With their extraordinary perception and mastery over every aspect of the human mechanism, these great yogis delved into their own systems, uncovering the nature of the cosmos – a macrocosm of the human system.
Initially, yoga was imparted by the Adiyogi (the first yogi), Shiva, over 15,000 years ago. It was Adiyogi who introduced to humanity the idea that one can evolve beyond one’s present level of existence. He poured his knowing into the legendary Sapta Rishis, or seven sages, who took the tremendous possibility offered by the yogic science to various parts of the world, including Asia, ancient Persia, northern Africa, and South America. It is this fundamental yet sophisticated science of elevating human consciousness that is the source of the world’s spiritual traditions, predating religion by many thousands of years.
Upa Yoga is a simple yet powerful system of exercise that activates the joints, muscles, and energy system. Based on a sophisticated understanding of the body’s mechanics, Upa Yoga dispels inertia in the body’s energy and brings ease to the whole system.
Within the human system, the energy flows along 72,000 pathways called nadis. At the joints, the nadis meet and form nodes, making the joints storehouses of energy. Upa Yoga activates this energy and also lubricates the joints, creating an instant sense of alertness and liveliness.
Upa Yoga essentially means “sub-yoga” or “pre-yoga”. Because of its many immediate and evident benefits, the word Upa Yoga in Indian languages is commonly used to denote “usefulness.”
Upa Yoga has numerous benefits:
- Relieves physical stress and tiredness
- Strengthens the joints and muscles
- Rejuvenates the body after periods of inactivity
- Negates the effects of jetlag and long travel
Surya Kriya is a potent yogic practice of tremendous antiquity, designed as a holistic process for health, wellness, and complete inner well-being. “Surya” means “sun,” and “kriya” means “inner energy process.” Surya Kriya activates the solar plexus to raise the samat prana, or solar heat, in the system. It also balances a person’s left and right energy channels, leading to stability of the body and stillness of the mind. This strong foundation becomes the basis to explore higher dimensions of life.
Traditionally available only to select groups of yogis, Surya Kriya is being offered by Sadhguru as a comprehensive spiritual practice that is ideal for the hectic pace of today’s world.
Surya Kriya includes several aspects that enrich one’s life:
- Develops mental clarity and focus
- Remedies weak constitutions
- Boosts vigor and vitality
- Balances hormonal levels in the body
- Prepares one for deeper states of meditation
Angamardana is a fitness system rooted in yoga, offers everyone the opportunity to invigorate the body and reach peak physical and mental health.
“Angamardana” means gaining complete mastery over the limbs, organs, and other parts of the body. True to its name, this practice revitalizes the body on all levels including the muscles, circulatory system, skeletal structure, nervous system, and the basic energy system.
With exercises carefully selected by Sadhguru to be of universal appeal and application, Angamardana needs no fitness equipment. It uses only the body and can be practiced anywhere, even during travel.
Regular practice of Angamardana revitalizes the body in many ways:
- Strengthens the spine, skeletal system, and muscular system
- Builds physical strength, fitness, and tenacity
- Takes years off the body, bringing a sense of lightness and freedom
- Prepares the body for Hatha Yoga
The word asana literally means a posture. Out of the innumerable asanas a body can assume, 84 have been identified as Yogasanas, through which one can transform the body and mind into a possibility for ultimate well-being. Yogasanas are not exercises, but rather very subtle processes to manipulate one’s energy in a particular direction.
In an untrained state, the human body is a constant manifestation of various levels of compulsiveness. By consciously forming the body into a certain posture, one creates a conducive passage for energy flow that can elevate one’s consciousness. Yogasanas are a way of aligning the inner system and adjusting it to the celestial geometry, thereby becoming in sync with the existence and naturally achieving a chemistry of healthfulness, joyfulness, blissfulness, and above all, balance.
Isha teaches a select set of 36 Yogasanas, which provide countless benefits including:
- Relief of chronic health conditions
- Evolution of body and mind towards a higher possibility
- Stabilization of the body, mind, and energy system
- Deceleration of the aging process
The basis for all creation, including the physical body, is the group of five elements: earth, water, wind, fire, and space. The wellbeing of the body and mind can be established by purifying these five elements within the human system. This process also shapes the body into a stepping stone towards one’s ultimate wellbeing.
There is a whole system of yoga called Bhuta Shuddhi, which means “purification of the elements.” The Bhuta Shuddhi processes offered by Isha provide a unique opportunity for everyone to benefit from this esoteric yogic science, which otherwise requires intense sadhana (spiritual practices).
- Keeps the system in harmony and balance
- Prepares the system to handle powerful states of energy
- Enhances the capabilities of the physical body, mind, and energy system
- Creates the basis to gain complete mastery over the human system
Isha Yoga Classes for Children
“The greatest crime that you can do to humanity is to teach your children that suffering is a part of their life. You have taken away the possibility of them being joyous human beings.”
Isha Yoga for Children offers a unique possibility for every child to experience a joyful blossoming of their natural potential. Isha Yoga celebrates the natural gifts within every child including wonder and a sense of oneness with life.
The program introduces yoga to children, led through an exploration of fun, love and joy, allowing each child to develop and live in optimal health and inner peace. It is offered by Isha Foundation teachers, trained under the guidance of Sadhguru.
Isha Yoga Children's program consists of an introduction to yoga practices including a few simple life enhancing asanas and kriyas. The program content is presented through fun games and play so that children experience a sense of belonging and unity with life.
Participants of Isha Yoga Children's programs often experience enhanced concentration and memory, more focus, and improved mind-body coordination. The practices learnt help prevent obesity, asthma, sinusitis and other chronic ailments.