Historical consideration of the concept of “yoga”

A feature of ancient Eastern, in particular Indian, philosophy is that, firstly

the main attention is paid to the study of the inner world of a person and, secondly, the presence of thought without action is not recognized, since it is believed that only action gives completeness of thought. . Therefore, it was in Indian philosophy that idealism was cultivated not only in the form of very intricate theories, but also as a sophisticated practice that regulated literally every human action in everyday life.

Its origin dates back to the middle of the 2nd millennium BC. e., when pastoral nomadic tribes called themselves Aryans moved to the territory of Northern India. They did not yet have a written language, but possessed an amazing gift of oral creativity, the fruits of which, in the form of original chants, hymns, spells, were passed down from generation to generation. Groups of such songs-tales connected by a certain content were called Vedas (from the word “Veda” – “knowledge”, more often – “infallible knowledge”).

Fixed with the advent of writing in the form of literary lists

the Vedas were called “Upanishads”, that is, “secret teaching”, which contains the ultimate wisdom of life. The roots of Hinduism go back to the ancient Indian religion – Brahmanism; the genetic connection with it is manifested, for example, in the fact that the most revered deities in Hinduism include the trinity of Brahmanism: Brahma (creator), Vishnu (keeper) and Shiva (creator, keeper and destroyer at the same time). In Hinduism, the requirements of social and everyday traditions are strong, intolerance for violations of many restrictions and prohibitions prescribed for the spheres of public, family and personal life and different for numerous groups, castes and podcasts, into which Hinduism divides the population and partitions between which sometimes and now are still considered unshakable.

Those who profess Hinduism tend to have the idea that the eternal individual soul (atman) strives to merge with the world soul (brahman). But the flow of continuously changing final manifestations of material natural existence (prakriti) prevents the merging. On the way to the final “salvation” the atman undergoes continuous reincarnations, each form of which is determined by karma, destiny, created by the actions of the person himself.

Subsequent numerous varieties of Indian idealism gave preference to one or another of the provisions of the Upanishads and developed various methods of “overcoming the shackles of the material world” and, in particular, methods by which “the spirit gained complete control over the material shell of the body.”

These methods reached their fullest development in the sects of the so-called yogachars (literally, this word means “practice of yogis”, “those who practice yoga”).

Some Eastern teachings have accumulated and used in everyday practice methods aimed at developing in a person the ability to self-program mental and physical functions. Self-programming of the body is carried out most effectively not in any state, but only when the psyche is completely balanced. At the same time, the balance of the psyche was conceived not only as an indispensable condition for self-programming of the personality, but also as an important component of its final result.

Yoga is a concept in Indian culture, in a broad sense, meaning a set of various spiritual and physical practices developed in different directions of Hinduism and Buddhism and aimed at managing the psyche and psychophysiology of the individual in order to achieve a more elevated mental and spiritual state. In a narrower sense, yoga is one of the six orthodox schools (darshans) of Hindu philosophy. The original goal of yoga is to change the ontological status of a person in the world.

The word “yoga” is first found in the “Rig Veda” – the oldest surviving monuments of Indian literature.

Yoga developed from the ascetic practices (tapas) of the Vedic religion, which are mentioned in the early commentaries on the Vedas Brahmanas (dated from the period from the 10th to the 6th century BC). In the Brahmans, in particular, in the Shatapatha Brahman, there are ideas of the unity of the mind, body and soul with the Absolute. In the “Yoga Sutras” of Patanjali (II century BC), yoga was first described as one of the schools (“darshan”) of Hindu philosophy. Patanjali defines the word yoga: “Yoga is the control of the disturbances inherent in the mind.”

The system of methods of influencing the psyche developed within the framework of yoga cannot be separated from the religious and ethical orientation of this teaching. The subordination of the processes occurring in the body to consciousness and will as the highest product of the psyche was considered here as a way that contributes to the “liberation” of the soul from the power of matter, cleansing it from “vain” aspirations.

In this regard, the inner freedom of the individual was also interpreted as the first and indispensable condition for achieving a stable balance of the psyche. To this end, yoga is developing a special system of physical training (hatha yoga), the assimilation of which is designed to increase a person’s endurance in relation to extreme environmental factors so that he can easily ignore them.