Yoga in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism

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* Nahida Sheikh
* George A. Keyworth
* RLST 110.6(02)
* March 28, 2013
* Yoga in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism
The word yoga means “spiritual discipline” and originates from the Sanskrit word “yuj” meaning to unite or integrate (“What is Yoga”). Yoga as a whole is about the union of a person’s own consciousness and the universal consciousness. Yoga is a combination of both physical and spiritual exercises entailing mastering over the body, mind, emotional self and perfection of desire (“Define Yoga”). Yoga is essentially a system of physical and mental disciples practiced to attain control of body, mind and tranquility by a series of postures, breathtaking exercises and meditation. The goal of yoga is to achieve inner peace and freedom within one’s body and mind. The idea Yoga and practice initially originates in Ancient India about 5000 or more years ago (“A Short History of Yoga”). However, Earliest archaeological evidence of Yoga's existence could be found in stone seals, which depict figures of yoga poses and the stone seals place Yoga's existence around 3000 B.C (“History of Yoga”). Although it is known that yoga focuses more on the self, it started out as a community-oriented practice before it turned inward. The history of Yoga can be divided into four periods: The Vedic Period, Pre-Classical Period, Classical Period and Post-Classical Period(“A short history of yoga”). There are many misconceptions of yoga being a religion however; it is not whereas it is more of a set of techniques for one to find spirituality. There are six branches of yoga: Hatha Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga and Tantra Yoga(“What is Yoga?”). Various traditions of yoga are found in Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism in South Asia. *

In Hinduism, yoga is one of the six classic systems of Hindu philosophy that practice certain disciplines to achieve freedom from the limitations of the flesh and lead to the fulfillment of...
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