The tradition of Yoga was born in India several thousand years ago. Its founders were great Saints and Sages. The great Yogis gave rational interpretation of their experiences about Yoga and brought a practically sound and scientifically prepared method within every one's reach. Yoga philosophy is an Art and Science of living in tune with Brahmand - The Universe. Yoga has its origins in the Vedas, the oldest record of Indian culture. It was systematized by the great Indian sage Patanjali in the Yoga Sutra as a special Darshana. Although, this work was followed by many other important texts on Yoga, but Patanjali's Yoga Sutra is certainly the most significant wherein no change is possible. It is the only book which has touched almost all the aspects of human life.
Unlike earlier, Yoga today is no longer restricted to a privileged minority of hermits; it has taken its place in our every day lives and have undergone a world wide awakening and acceptance in the last few decades. The Science of Yoga and its techniques have now been re-oriented to suit modern sociological needs and lifestyle. Experts of various branches of medicine including modern medical science are realizing the role of these techniques in the prevention of disease and promotion of health.
Swami Vivekananda defines Yoga as "It's a means of compressing one's evolution into a single life or a few months or even a few hours of one's bodily existence". By Yoga, Sri Aurobindo, meant a methodological effort towards self perfection by the development of potentialities latent in the individual.
Yoga is a science as well an art of healthy living physically, mentally, morally and spiritually. It's systematic growth from his animal level to the normalcy, from there to the divinity, ultimately. It's no way limited by race, age, sex, religion, cast or creed and can be practiced by those who seek an education on better living and those who wants to have a more meaningful life.
Yoga is not a religion; it's a philosophy of life based on certain psychological facts and it aims at the development of a perfect balance between the body and the mind that permits union with the divine i.e. perfect harmony between the individual and the cosmos.
Many different interpretations of the word Yoga have been handed down over the centuries. One of the classic definition of Yoga is "to be one with divine." It does not matter what name we use for the divine-God, Allah, Ishvara, or whatever- anything that brings us closer to understanding that there is a power higher and greater than ourselves is Yoga. When we feel in harmony with that higher power, that too is Yoga.
Dept. of AYUSH