What is yoga?
Yoga (in sanskrit yuj means to yoke, to unite) is one of
the classic philosophical systems (darshans) of India. It significantly
influenced also a number of other philosophical systems. The basic text of yoga
is the Patanjali Yoga sutra (cca 2 - 7th Century BC ?). Philosophicaly yoga is
closely related to the sankhya system (also one of the philosophical systems of
Yoga can be understood as a system of techniques and
methods for preparing humans for a state of yoga - i.e. a state of integration,
where all the physical, mental and spiritual faculties are in
complete harmony. This means a high quality life, which is in full agreement
with personal and universal dharma. The state of yoga means also the realisation
of the Essence of Being. Yoga supports holistic life, an ethical value system
and a healthy lifestyle.
Yoga is known to have existed at least for 5 millennia.
From India it diffused also to other Asian countries, and reached Europe
mostly through Greek, Arab, British and Indian mediators. In the West, it became wider
known in the 20th Century. Today it became a part of the global cultural and
spiritual heritage. Some sources estimate that today, about 300 million of
people practice yoga.
Yoga has a number of classic and also modern branches (Patanjali
yoga, ashtanga, hatha, ghatastha, jnana, bhakti,
karma, kriya, tantra, sahaja, savita, vivarta, power, purna, etc.). Some are
traditional, some are reformed (like Okido) and some are non-orthodox (e.g.
those advocating "yoga competitions" or "yoga sport"). There is a number of
European and global organisations that act as umbrella organisations uniting
certain styles of yoga. In Europe the ideals of classic yoga are best
represented by the vision and mission of the European
union of yoga (EUY).
In CE Europe yoga started to become known in the 20th Century. Its greater
popularity in ex-Czechoslovakia and Slovakia started in the 1980-s.