Yoga (dev. योग, IAST: yoga) is a concept in Indian culture
in a broad sense, meaning a set of various spiritual, mental and physical practices developed in different directions of Hinduism and Buddhism and aimed at managing the mental and physiological functions of the body in order to achieve an exalted individual spiritual and mental state. In a narrower sense, yoga is one of the six orthodox schools (darshans) of Hindu philosophy.
The main areas of yoga are:
raja yoga, karma yoga, jnana yoga, bhakti yoga and hatha yoga. In the context of Hindu philosophy, yoga refers to the system of Raja Yoga, set forth in the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali and closely related to the fundamental principles of Sankhya. Yoga is discussed in various Hindu scriptures such as the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Shiva Samhita and Tantras. The ultimate goal of yoga can be completely different: from improving physical health to achieving moksha. Outside of India, the term “yoga” is often associated only with hatha yoga and its asanas – physical exercises, which does not reflect the spiritual and mental aspects of yoga. One who studies and practices yoga is called a yogi or yogi.
On December 1, 2016, UNESCO, noting the significant impact on numerous aspects of the life of Indian society in the fields of health, medicine, education and the arts, included yoga in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit root yoj or yuj, which has many semantic meanings: “connection”, “unity”, “connection”, “harmony”, “union”, “team”, “exercise”, “restraint”, and etc. For the first time it is found in the Rig Veda, the oldest surviving monument of Indian literature, but not in the meaning of yoga practice, but as a designation of a harness. In the meaning of yoga as a practice, the word yoga is described in the text of the Katha Upanishad in the line of the 11th third chapter: “The firm control of the senses is considered yoga. Then [a person] becomes undistracted, for yoga comes and goes.” The meaning of the word “yoga” is similar to the Latin word “religare”, from which, according to one version, the word “religion” comes.
The history of yoga goes back to ancient times.
Several seals found in the Indus Valley dating from the period of the Indus Civilization (3300-1700 BC) depict figures in meditative or yogic postures. These archaeological finds point to the possibility that the population of the Harappan civilization practiced one of the ancient forms of yoga or a ritual related to it. It is believed that 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 centuries 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 Upanishads, the earliest mention of yoga and meditation can be found in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, one of the oldest Upanishads, dated by scholars to the 10th-9th century BC. e. and in the Katha Upanishad