The great sage Patanjali has defined yoga as “Yoga chittavritti nirodhah “ which means “to block the patterns of consciousness is yoga”.
Yoga is not an ancient myth buried in oblivion. It is the most valuable inheritance of the present.
It is the essential need of today and the culture of tomorrow.
– Swami Sathyananda Saraswathy
Philosophy and history
The word “Yoga” means “Unity” or “Oneness” and is derived from the Sanskrit word “yuj “which means” to join”.
The unity or joining is described in spiritual terms as the union of the individual consciousness with the universal consciousness and also balancing and harmonising the body, mind and soul. This is done through the practise of asana, pranayama, mudra, bandha satkarma and meditation.
Yoga is the science of right living and, as such, is intended to be incorporated in daily life. It works on all aspects of the person;
the physical, vital, mental emotional, psychic and spiritual.
Yoga is one of the six orthodox systems of Indian philosophy. It was collated, co- ordinate and systematized by the great sage Patanjali in his classic work the yoga sutras, which consists of terse aphorisms in Indian thought. Yoga was developed as a part of tantric civilisation which existed in India and all part of the world more than 10,000 years ago. In archaeological excavations made in the Indus vally at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, many statues have been found depicting deities resembling Lord SIVA and PARVATHY performing various asana and practicing meditation. According to mythical tradition, SIVA is said to be the founder of yoga and PARVATHY his first disciple.
According to scriptures, yoga is mainly classified in various systems or branches, such as
➢ Hatha yoga (path of phisycal balance)
➢ Bhakthi yoga (path of devotional bliss)
➢ Jnana yoga (path of true knowledge)
➢ Karma yoga (path of blissfull action)
➢ Yantra yoga (path of movement)
➢ Mantra yoga (through sounds & vibrations)
➢ Laya yoga (through kundalini)
➢ Tantric yoga (path of awareness in all states of conciousness)
➢ Raja yoga (path of mind control)
Invocation to Lord Patanjali:
“Yogene chittasya padena vaacha
Malam sareerasya chavaidyakena
Yopa karotham pravaram muneenam
“Let us bow before the noblest of sages,
Patanjali who gave Yoga for severity and sanctity of mind,
grammar for clarity and purity of speech,
and medicine for perfection of health.”
Siddha System and Yoga
Origin of Siddha and Yoga is inseparably same. It traced to theological sources belonging to Shaiva tradition. According to the tradition, Lord Shiva conveyed the knowledge of medicine and yoga to his wife Godess Parvathy. The knowledge was passed from her to Nandi and finally it was given to the Siddhars. The word Siddha denotes one who has achieved some extraordinary powers(Siddhi). This achievement was related to discipline of mind and its superiority over body, and was accomplished through both yoga and medicine. Thus Siddhars (practitioners of Siddha) became the symbols of psychosomatic perfection and so the Siddha medicine became a combination medicine and yoga. Siddhar Thirumoolar and Pathanjali siddhar who lived in the 3rd century BC . Pathanjali siddhar is consider as the father of modern yoga and Siddhar Thirumoolar is consider as the father of therapeutic yoga. Tirumanthiram is the seminal text of saiva siddhadha ,yoga and medicine in Tamil.It dealing with science of life.It is the outcome of Tirumoolar’s love and desire that mankind should share the fruits of his valuable experience attained during his Yoga practice .It is divided into nine thantras consisting of 3000 verses deals with the sivisam, prolongation of life by the control of breathing, medicine, yoga etc . The third thantra of thirumanthiram deals with Ashtanga yoga, importance of ashtanga yoga,the great eight siddhis,measurement of life span, pariyanga yoga ,way to kaya siddhi,kala chakra,breath rhythm in days of the week, kecheri yoga, amuri dharana , Chandra yoga. There were so many texts regarding yoga by many siddhars,which were scattered in different texts. In Siddha medicine yoga comes under the kaya kalpa .Kaya kalpa means those which prevent graying of hairs , wrinkling of skin, ageing , senile changes, and other diseases for promoting longevity with complete freedom from illness. Siddhars teaches yoga as a rejuvenation medicine along with natural remedies and those choose this path will get health ,happiness and longevity.
Thirumoolar siddha Yoga
Yoga is a timeless practical science evolved over thousands of years dealing with the physical, moral, mental and spiritual well being of man as a whole. Yoga is an ancient art based on a harmonizing system of development for the body, mind and spirit. Curative effect of yoga over the pathological condition of the physical body is clearly explained in Sage Thirumoolar’s “THIRUMANTHIRAM”. Sage Thirumoolar is one of the eighteen Siddhars who are considered as the founders of ancient Siddha system of medicine. He is also considering as the Father of Therapeutic Yoga. He explained Ashtanga yoga in the Tamil seminal text of Siva Siddha and therapeutic yoga “Thirumanthiram”.
“Iyama niyamame ennila aathanam
Nayamigu piranayamam pirathiyakaran
Sayamigu dharanannai dhyanam samathi
Meaning of above shloka is
“Yama, Niyama and Asana numberless
Pranayama wholesome and Prathyahara alike
Dharana, Dhyana and Samathi to triumph
These eight are the steely limbs of YOGA