P. Senthilkumar Yoga
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P. Senthil Kumar


Yoga is an ancient Indian philosophy, whose aim initially was enlightenment through meditation. The body excercises served the purpose of preparing the body for sitting in meditation pose without pain for a long time. Classical scriptures describe four ways to attain enlightenment:

Raja Yoga (control of the mind)
Jnana Yoga (realization through knowledge)
Karma Yoga (selfless deed)
Bhakti Yoga (devotion to god)

Raja Yoga was outlined by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutra, the oldest preserved book about yoga. In it the "eightfold path" (Ashtanga) is described in Sanskrit verse:

  • five restraints (Yama)
  • five observances (Niyama)
  • discipline of the body (Asanas)
  • control of breath (Pranayama)
  • withdrawal of senses from objects (Pratyahara)
  • concentration (Dharana)
  • meditation (Dhyana)
  • oneness (Samadhi)

Hatha Yoga emerged only later, the term referring to a more body-oriented form of yoga, in contrary to the more spiritual Raja Yoga. This form of yoga is most widespread today.

Today there are a substantial number of yoga-schools which are all based on different traditions and emphasize different aspects.
A very influential yoga guru was T. Krishnamacharya from Karnataka in India. He lived from 1888 to 1989, and some of today’s best known schools were founded by his students: B.K.S. Iyengar established Iyengar-Yoga, Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga-Yoga (not to be confused with the "eightfold path" described above). His son T.K.V. Desikachar also continues to teach his style. Sri Srivatsa Ramaswami, my guru was learning from this master for 33 years and thus was one of his longstanding students.

A different school goes back to Swami Sivananda (1887-1963) from Tamil Nadu. Today Sivananda Yoga is spread all over the world, it is based upon 12 basic asanas and their variations.

Generally yoga aims at bringing body, mind and soul to harmony. The methods to achieve this aim are Pranayama (breathing excercise), Asanas (body excercise), Mudras (hand gestures), relaxation, concentration and Meditation.

Regular practise of yoga has many beneficial effects - flexibility, power and stamina of the body are increased through the asanas, blood circulation is improved and back muscles strengthened. The breathing excercises enhance concentration and have a calming effect in times of stress.


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