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Yoga

Information on yoga is avail­able on this page and on four more sub-pages. They are acces­sible via the menu or the following Table of Contents

  1. Aging and Yoga
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  2. Breathing and yoga
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  3. Relaxation and tran­si­tions
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  4. Simple exercises
In the West the term yoga is associated with certain, at times dif­ficult to per­form bodily ex­er­cises (asanas in San­skrit), which are clas­si­fied as Hatha- Yoga in the yoga system.

The expression yoga originates from India and has its roots in Hindu­ism. The literal trans­lation is “yoke” and its mean­ing is usually under­stood as union or alliance. This is the union of one's in­di­vi­dual con­scious­ness and the Uni­ver­sal Con­scious­ness or between the indi­vid­ual soul and the higher soul (Brahman or God if you like). Depend­ing on the char­ac­ter and pref­er­ences of the indi­vidual this union can be realized in four dif­ferent ways:
  • The path of devotion or selfless love (Bhakti Yoga).
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  • The path of selfless work (Karma Yoga).
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  • The path of knowledge or wisdom (Jnana Yoga).
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  • The path of physical and mental control (Raja Yoga).
The path of physical and mental control in its present meaning can be traced back to Patan­jali (approx. 2nd cen­tu­ry B.C.). It consists of eight limbs:
  1. Moral (Yama)
  2. Rules, self-­dis­ci­pline (Niyama)
  3. Control of the body, exercise and dis­ci­pline (Asana)
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  4. Control of the breathing (Prana­yama)
  5. Control, restriction of the senses (Pra­tya­hara)
  6. Concentration (Dharana)
  7. Meditation (Dhyana)
  8. Peace of mind, higher con­scious­ness (Samadhi)
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These eight limbs of yoga represent an holistic approach to bring body, mind and soul in har­mo­ny with each other.

In Western countries the emphasis is usually on the bodily ex­er­cis­es which can be prac­tised in­de­pend­ently of the re­lig­ious con­vic­tions of the indi­vidual.