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Statue of Shiva (Bangalore, India) performing Yogic meditation in the Padmasana posture.

Part of a series on
Hindu philosophy


Samkhya · Yoga · Nyaya · Vaisheshika · Purva Mimamsa · Vedanta (Advaita · Vishishtadvaita · Dvaita · Achintya Bheda Abheda)



Gautama · Jaimini · Kanada · Kapila · Markandeya · Patañjali · Valmiki · Vyasa

Adi Shankara · Basava · Dnyaneshwar · Chaitanya · Gangesha Upadhyaya · Gaudapada · Jayanta Bhatta · Kabir · Kumarila Bhatta · Madhusudana · Madhva · Namdeva · Nimbarka · Prabhakara · Raghunatha Siromani · Ramanuja · Vedanta Desika · Tukaram · Tulsidas · Vachaspati Mishra · Vallabha

Aurobindo · Coomaraswamy · Dayananda Saraswati · Gandhi · Krishnananda · Narayana Guru · Prabhupada · Ramakrishna · Ramana Maharshi · Radhakrishnan · Sivananda · Vivekananda · Yogananda

Yoga (Sanskrit, Pāli: योग yóga) refers to traditional physical and mental disciplines originating in India.[1] The word is associated with meditative practices in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.[2][3][4] In Hinduism, it also refers to one of the six orthodox (āstika) schools of Hindu philosophy, and to the goal toward which that school directs its practices.[5][6] In Jainism it refers to the sum total of all activities—mental, verbal and physical.

Major branches of yoga in Hindu philosophy include Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Hatha Yoga.[7][8][9] Raja Yoga, compiled in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and known simply as yoga in the context of Hindu philosophy, is part of the Samkhya tradition.[10] Many other Hindu texts discuss aspects of yoga, including Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Shiva Samhita and various Tantras.

The Sanskrit word yoga has many meanings,[11] and is derived from the Sanskrit root "yuj", meaning "to control", "to yoke" or "to unite."[12] Translations include "joining", "uniting", "union", "conjunction", and "means".[13][14][15] An alternate root from which the word yoga may be derived is "yujir samadhau", which means "contemplation" or "absorption."[16] This translation fits better with the dualist Raja Yoga because it is through contemplation that discrimination between prakrti (nature) and purusha (pure consciousness) occurs. Outside India, the term yoga is typically associated with Hatha Yoga and its asanas (postures) or as a form of exercise. Someone who practices yoga or follows the yoga philosophy is called a yogi or yogini.[17]



The Vedic Samhitas contain references to ascetics, while ascetic practices (tapas) are referenced in the Brāhmaṇas (900 to 500 BCE), early commentaries on the Vedas.[18] Several seals discovered at Indus Valley Civilization (c. 3300–1700 B.C.E.) sites in Pakistan depict figures in positions resembling a common yoga or meditation pose, showing "a form of ritual discipline, suggesting a precursor of yoga", according to archaeologist Gregory Possehl.[19] Some type of connection between the Indus Valley seals and later yoga and meditation practices is speculated upon by many scholars, though there is no conclusive evidence.[20]

Techniques for experiencing higher states of consciousness in meditation were developed by the shramanic traditions and in the Upanishadic tradition.[21]

While there is no clear evidence for meditation in pre-Buddhist early Brahminic texts, Wynne argues that formless meditation originated in the Brahminic tradition, based on strong parallels between Upanishadic cosmological statements and the meditative goals of the two teachers of the Buddha as recorded in the early Buddhist texts.[22] He mentions less likely possibilities as well.[23] Having argued that the cosmological statements in the Upanishads also reflect a contemplative tradition, he argues that the Nasadiya Sukta contains evidence for a contemplative tradition, even as early as the late Rg Vedic period.[22]

The Buddhist texts are probably the earliest texts describing meditation techniques.[24] They describe meditative practices and states which had existed before the Buddha as well as those which were first developed within Buddhism.[25] In Hindu literature, the term "yoga" first occurs in the Katha Upanishad, where it refers to control of the senses and the cessation of mental activity leading to a supreme state.[26] Important textual sources for the evolving concept of Yoga are the middle Upanishads, (ca. 400 BCE), the Mahabharata including the Bhagavad Gita (ca. 200 BCE), and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (150 BCE).

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

In Indian philosophy, Yoga is the name of one of the six orthodox philosophical schools.[27][28] The Yoga philosophical system is closely allied with the Samkhya school.[29] The Yoga school as expounded by the sage Patanjali accepts the Samkhya psychology and metaphysics, but is more theistic than the Samkhya, as evidenced by the addition of a divine entity to the Samkhya's twenty-five elements of reality.[30][31] The parallels between Yoga and Samkhya were so close that Max Müller says that "the two philosophies were in popular parlance distinguished from each other as Samkhya with and Samkhya without a Lord...."[32] The intimate relationship between Samkhya and Yoga is explained by Heinrich Zimmer:

These two are regarded in India as twins, the two aspects of a single discipline. Sāṅkhya provides a basic theoretical exposition of human nature, enumerating and defining its elements, analyzing their manner of co-operation in a state of bondage (bandha), and describing their state of disentanglement or separation in release (mokṣa), while Yoga treats specifically of the dynamics of the process for the disentanglement, and outlines practical techniques for the gaining of release, or 'isolation-integration' (kaivalya).[33]

Patanjali is widely regarded as the founder of the formal Yoga philosophy.[34] Patanjali's yoga is known as Raja yoga, which is a system for control of the mind.[35] Patanjali defines the word "yoga" in his second sutra,[36] which is the definitional sutra for his entire work:

योग: चित्त-वृत्ति निरोध:
( yogaś citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ )

- Yoga Sutras 1.2

This terse definition hinges on the meaning of three Sanskrit terms. I. K. Taimni translates it as "Yoga is the inhibition (nirodhaḥ) of the modifications (vṛtti) of the mind (citta)".[37] The use of the word nirodhaḥ in the opening definition of yoga is an example of the important role that Buddhist technical terminology and concepts play in the Yoga Sutra; this role suggests that Patanjali was aware of Buddhist ideas and wove them into his system.[38] Swami Vivekananda translates the sutra as "Yoga is restraining the mind-stuff (Citta) from taking various forms (Vrittis)."[39]

A sculpture of a Hindu yogi in the Birla Mandir, Delhi

Patanjali's writing also became the basis for a system referred to as "Ashtanga Yoga" ("Eight-Limbed Yoga"). This eight-limbed concept derived from the 29th Sutra of the 2nd book, and is a core characteristic of practically every Raja yoga variation taught today. The Eight Limbs are:

  1. Yama (The five "abstentions"): non-violence, non-lying, non-covetousness, non-sensuality, and non-possessiveness.
  2. Niyama (The five "observances"): purity, contentment, austerity, study, and surrender to god.
  3. Asana: Literally means "seat", and in Patanjali's Sutras refers to the seated position used for meditation.
  4. Pranayama ("Suspending Breath"): Prāna, breath, "āyāma", to restrain or stop. Also interpreted as control of the life force.
  5. Pratyahara ("Abstraction"): Withdrawal of the sense organs from external objects.
  6. Dharana ("Concentration"): Fixing the attention on a single object.
  7. Dhyana ("Meditation"): Intense contemplation of the nature of the object of meditation.
  8. Samādhi ("Liberation"): merging consciousness with the object of meditation.

In the view of this school, the highest attainment does not reveal the experienced diversity of the world to be illusion. The everyday world is real. Furthermore, the highest attainment is the event of one of many individual selves discovering itself; there is no single universal self shared by all persons.[40]

Bhagavad Gita

The Bhagavad Gita ('Song of the Lord'), uses the term yoga extensively in a variety of ways. In addition to an entire chapter (ch. 6) dedicated to traditional yoga practice, including meditation,[41] it introduces three prominent types of yoga:[42]

Madhusudana Sarasvati (b. circa 1490) divided the Gita into three sections, with the first six chapters dealing with Karma yoga, the middle six with Bhakti yoga, and the last six with Jnana (knowledge).[43] Other commentators ascribe a different 'yoga' to each chapter, delineating eighteen different yogas.[44]

Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga is a particular system of Yoga described by Yogi Swatmarama, compiler of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika in 15th century India. Hatha Yoga differs substantially from the Raja Yoga of Patanjali in that it focuses on shatkarma, the purification of the physical body as leading to the purification of the mind (ha), and prana, or vital energy (tha).[45][46] Compared to the seated asana, or sitting meditation posture, of Patanjali's Raja yoga,[47] it marks the development of asanas (plural) into the full body 'postures' now in popular usage [48] and, its many modern variations, is the style that many people associate with the word "Yoga" today.[49]

Yoga practices in other traditions


The Buddha depicted in yogic meditation, Kamakura, Japan

Early Buddhism incorporated meditative absorption states.[50] The most ancient sustained expression of yogic ideas is found in the early sermons of the Buddha.[51] One key innovative teaching of the Buddha was that meditative absorption should be combined with the practice of mindfulness.[52] The difference between the Buddha's teaching and the yoga presented in early Brahminic texts is striking. Meditative states alone are not an end, for according to the Buddha, even the highest meditative state is not liberating. Instead of attaining a complete cessation of thought, some sort of mental activity must take place: a liberating cognition, based on the practice of mindful awareness.[53] The Buddha also departed from earlier yogic thought in discarding the early Brahminic notion of liberation at death.[54] Liberation for the Brahminic yogin was thought to be the realization at death of a nondual meditative state anticipated in life. In fact, old Brahminic metaphors for the liberation at death of the yogic adept ("becoming cool", "going out") were given a new meaning by the Buddha; their point of reference became the sage who is liberated in life.[55]

Yogacara Buddhism

Yogacara (Sanskrit: "yoga practice"[56]), also spelled yogāchāra, is a school of philosophy and psychology that developed in India during the 4th to 5th centuries. Yogacara received the name as it provided a yoga, a framework for engaging in the practices that lead to the path of the bodhisattva.[57] The Yogacara sect teaches yoga in order to reach enlightenment.[58]

Ch'an (Seon/Zen) Buddhism

Zen (the name of which derives from the Sanskrit "dhyaana" via the Chinese "ch'an"[59]) is a form of Mahayana Buddhism. The Mahayana school of Buddhism is noted for its proximity with Yoga.[50] In the west, Zen is often set alongside Yoga; the two schools of meditation display obvious family resemblances.[60] This phenomenon merits special attention since the Zen Buddhist school of meditation has some of its roots in yogic practices.[61] Certain essential elements of Yoga are important both for Buddhism in general and for Zen in particular.[62]

Indo-Tibetan Buddhism

Yoga is central to Tibetan Buddhism. In the Nyingma tradition, the path of meditation practice is divided into nine yanas, or vehicles, which are said to be increasingly profound.[63] The last six are described as "yoga yanas": Kriya yoga, Upa yoga, Yoga yana, Mahā yoga, Anu yoga and the ultimate practice, Ati yoga.[64] The Sarma traditions also include Kriya, Upa (called Charya), and Yoga, with the Anuttara yoga class substituting for Mahayoga and Atiyoga.[65] Other tantra yoga practices include a system of 108 bodily postures practiced with breath and heart rhythm. The Nyingma tradition also practices Yantra yoga (Tib. Trul khor), a discipline which includes breath work (or pranayama), meditative contemplation and precise dynamic movements to centre the practitioner.[66] The body postures of Tibetan ancient yogis are depicted on the walls of the Dalai Lama's summer temple of Lukhang. A semi-popular account of Tibetan Yoga by Chang (1993) refers to caṇḍalī (Tib. tummo), the generation of heat in one's own body, as being "the very foundation of the whole of Tibetan Yoga".[67] Chang also claims that Tibetan Yoga involves reconciliation of apparent polarities, such as prana and mind, relating this to theoretical implications of tantrism.


Tirthankara Parsva in Yogic meditation in the Kayotsarga posture.
Kevala Jñāna of Mahavira in mulabandhasana posture

According to Tattvarthasutra, 2nd century CE Jain text, Yoga, is the sum total of all the activities of mind, speech and body.[4] Umasvati calls yoga as the cause of asrava or karmic influx [68] as well as one of the essentials—samyak caritra—in the path to liberation.[68] In his Niyamasara, Acarya Kundakunda, describes yoga bhakti—devotion to the path to liberation—as the highest form of devotion.[69] Acarya Haribhadra and Acarya Hemacandra mention the five major vows of ascetics and 12 minor vows of laity under yoga. This has led certain Indologists like Prof. Robert J. Zydenbos to call Jainism as essentially a system of yogic thinking that grew into a full-fledged religion.[70] Dr. Heinrich Zimmer contended that the yoga system had pre-Aryan origins which did not accept the authority of the Vedas and hence was reckoned as one of the heterodox doctrines similar to Jainism.[71] Jain iconography depicts Jain Tirthankaras meditation in Padmasana or Kayotsarga yogic poses. Mahavira was said to have achieved Kevala Jnana "enlightenment" siting in mulabandhasana position which has the first literary mention in the Acaranga Sutra and later in Kalpasutra [72]

The five yamas or the constraints of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali bear an uncanny resemblance to the five major vows of Jainism, indicating a strong influence of Jainism.[73][74] This mutual influence between the Yoga philosophy and Jainism is admitted by the author Vivian Worthington who writes: "Yoga fully acknowledges its debt to Jainsim, and Jainism reciprocates by making the practice of yoga part and parcel of life." [75] The Indus valley seals and iconography also provide a reasonable evidence of the existence of a proto-yogic tradition akin to Jainism.[76] More specifically, scholars and archaeologists have remarked on close similarities in the yogic and meditative postures depicted in the seals with those of various Tirthankaras: the "kayotsarga" posture of Rsabha and the mulabandhasana of Mahavira along with seals depicting meditative figure flaked by upright serpents bearing similarities to iconography of Parsva. All these are indicative of not only links between Indus Valley Civilisation and Jainism, but also show the contribution of Jainism to various yogic practices.[77]

References in Jain canons and literature

Earliest of Jain canonical literature like Acarangasutra and texts like Niyamasara, Tattvarthasutra etc had many references on yoga as a way of life for laymen and asctics. The later texts that further elaborated on the Jain concept of yoga are as follows:

  • Pujyapada (5th century CE)
    • Ishtopadesh
  • Acarya Haribhadra Suri(8th century CE)
    • Yogabindu
    • Yogadristisamuccaya
    • Yogasataka
    • Yogavimisika
  • Acarya Joindu (8th century CE)
    • Yogasara
  • Acarya Hemacandra (11th century CE)
    • Yogasastra
  • Acarya Amitagati (11th century CE)
    • Yogasaraprabhrta


The development of Sufism was considerably influenced by Indian yogic practises, where they adapted both physical postures (asanas) and breath control (pranayama).[78] The ancient Indian yogic text, Amritakunda, ("Pool of Nectar)" was translated into Arabic and Persian as early as the 11th century.[79]

Malaysia's top Islamic body in 2008 passed a fatwa, which is legally non-binding, against Muslims practicing yoga, saying it had elements of "Hindu spiritual teachings" and could lead to blasphemy and is therefore haraam. Muslim yoga teachers in Malaysia criticized the decision as "insulting".[80] Sisters in Islam, a women's rights group in Malaysia, also expressed disappointment and said they would continue with their yoga classes.[81] The fatwa states that yoga practiced only as physical exercise is permissible, but prohibits the chanting of religious mantras,[82] and states that teachings such as uniting of a human with God is not consistent with Islamic philosophy.[83] In a similar vein, the Council of Ulemas, an Islamic body in Indonesia, passed a fatwa banning yoga on the grounds that it contains "Hindu elements"[84] These fatwas have, in turn, been criticized by Darul Uloom Deoband, a Deobandi Islamic seminary in India.[85]

In May 2009, Turkey's head of the Directorate of Religious Affairs, Ali Bardakoğlu, discounted Yoga as a commercial venture promoting extremism- comments made in the context of Yoga practice possibly competing with and eroding participation in Islam [86].

The only sect of the Islam community, who have successfully incorporated yoga in their practice are the Jogi Faqirs who are Muslim converts from the Hindu Jogi caste.


In 1989, the Vatican declared that Eastern meditation practices such as Zen and yoga can "degenerate into a cult of the body".[87] In spite of the Vatican statement, many Roman Catholics bring elements of Yoga, Buddhism, and Hinduism into their spiritual practices.[88]

Some fundamentalist Christian organizations consider yoga practice to be coherent to its religious background and therefore a non-Christian religious practice. It is also considered a part of the New Age movement and therefore inconsistent with Christianity.[89]


Tantrism is a practice that is supposed to alter the relation of its practitioners to the ordinary social, religious, and logical reality in which they live. Through Tantric practice, an individual perceives reality as maya, illusion, and the individual achieves liberation from it.[90] This particular path to salvation among the several offered by Hinduism, links Tantrism to those practices of Indian religions, such as yoga, meditation, and social renunciation, which are based on temporary or permanent withdrawal from social relationships and modes.[90]

Though the paths of Tantra & Yoga are contradictory[91], they do intersect at some common philosophies and goals. As Osho tries to differentiate between these two paths, he quotes:

Yoga is suppression with awareness; Tantra is indulgence with awareness.[92]

As Robert Svoboda attempts to summarize the three major paths of the Vedic knowledge, he exclaims:

Because every embodied individual is composed of a body, a mind and a spirit, the ancient Rishis of India who developed the Science of Life organized their wisdom into three bodies of knowledge: Ayurveda, which deals mainly with the physical body; Yoga, which deals mainly with spirit; and Tantra, which is mainly concerned with the mind. The philosophy of all three is identical; their manifestations differ because of their differing emphases. Ayurveda is most concerned woth the physical basis of life, concentrating on its harmony of mind and spirit. Yoga controls body and mind to enable them to harmonize with spirit, and Tantra seeks to use the mind to balance the demands of body and spirit.[93]

During tantric practices and studies, the student is instructed further in meditation technique, particularly chakra meditation. This is often in a limited form in comparison with the way this kind of meditation is known and used by Tantric practitioners and yogis elsewhere, but is more elaborate than the initiate's previous meditation. It is considered to be a kind of Kundalini Yoga for the purpose of moving the Goddess into the chakra located in the "heart", for meditation and worship.[94]

Goal of yoga

The goals of yoga are varied and range from improving health to achieving Moksha.[41] Within Jainism and the monist schools of Advaita Vedanta and Shaivism, the goal of yoga takes the form of Moksha, which is liberation from all worldly suffering and the cycle of birth and death (Samsara), at which point there is a realisation of identity with the Supreme Brahman. In the Mahabharata, the goal of yoga is variously described as entering the world of Brahma, as Brahman, or as perceiving the Brahman or Atman that pervades all things.[95] For the bhakti schools of Vaishnavism, bhakti or service to Svayam bhagavan itself may be the ultimate goal of the yoga process, where the goal is to enjoy an eternal relationship with Vishnu.[96]



  1. ^ For the uses of the word in Pāli literature, see Thomas William Rhys Davids, William Stede, Pali-English dictionary. Reprint by Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1993, page 558: [1]
  2. ^ Denise Lardner Carmody, John Carmody, Serene Compassion. Oxford University Press US, 1996, page 68.
  3. ^ Stuart Ray Sarbacker, Samadhi: The Numinous and Cessative in Indo-Tibetan Yoga. SUNY Press, 2005, pages 1-2.
  4. ^ a b Tattvarthasutra [6.1], see Manu Doshi (2007) Translation of Tattvarthasutra, Ahmedabad: Shrut Ratnakar p. 102
  5. ^ "Yoga has five principal meanings: 1) yoga as a disciplined method for attaining a goal; 2) yoga as techniques of controlling the body and the mind; 3) yoga as a name of one of the schools or systems of philosophy (darśana); 4) yoga in connection with other words, such as hatha-, mantra-, and laya-, referring to traditions specialising in particular techniques of yoga; 5) yoga as the goal of yoga practice." Jacobsen, p. 4.
  6. ^ Monier-Williams includes "it is the second of the two Sāṃkhya systems", and " abstraction practised as a system (as taught by Patañjali and called the Yoga philosophy)" in his definitions of "yoga".
  7. ^ Pandit Usharbudh Arya (1985). The philosophy of hatha yoga. Himalayan Institute Press; 2nd ed.
  8. ^ Sri Swami Rama (2008) The royal path: Practical lessons on yoga. Himalayan Institute Press; New Ed edition.
  9. ^ Swami Prabhavananda (Translator), Christopher Isherwood (Translator), Patanjali (Author). (1996). Vedanta Press; How to know god: The yoga aphorisms of Patanjali. New Ed edition.
  10. ^ Jacobsen, p. 4.
  11. ^ For a list of 38 meanings of the word "yoga" see: Apte, p. 788.
  12. ^ For "yoga" as derived from the Sanskrit root "yuj" with meanings of "to control", "to yoke, or "to unite" see: Flood (1996), p. 94.
  13. ^ For meaning 1. joining, uniting, and 2., union, junction, combination see: Apte, p. 788.
  14. ^ For "mode, manner, means", see: Apte, p. 788, definition 5.
  15. ^ For "expedient, means in general", see: Apte, p. 788, definition 13.
  16. ^ For "yoga" as derived from the root "yujir samadhau" rather than "yujir yoge", see Maehle p. 141
  17. ^ American Heritage Dictionary: "Yogi, One who practices yoga." Websters: "Yogi, A follower of the yoga philosophy; an ascetic."
  18. ^ Flood, p. 94.
  19. ^ Possehl (2003), pp. 144-145
  20. ^ See:
  21. ^ Flood, pp. 94–95.
  22. ^ a b Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge, 2007, page 51.
  23. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge, 2007, page 56.
  24. ^ Richard Gombrich, "Theravada Buddhism: A Social History from Ancient Benares to Modern Colombo." Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1988, page 44.
  25. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge, 2007, page 50.
  26. ^ Flood, p. 95. Scholars do not list the Katha Upanishad among those that can be safely described as pre-Buddhist, see for example Helmuth von Glasenapp, from the 1950 Proceedings of the "Akademie der Wissenschaften und Literatur", [2]. Some have argued that it is post-Buddhist, see for example Arvind Sharma's review of Hajime Nakamura's A History of Early Vedanta Philosophy, Philosophy East and West, Vol. 37, No. 3 (Jul., 1987), pp. 325-331. For a comprehensive examination of the uses of the Pali word "yoga" in early Buddhist texts, see Thomas William Rhys Davids, William Stede, "Pali-English dictionary." Reprint by Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1993, page 558: [3]. For the use of the word in the sense of "spiritual practice" in the Dhammapada, see Gil Fronsdal, "The Dhammapada", Shambhala, 2005, pages 56, 130.
  27. ^ For an overview of the six orthodox schools, with detail on the grouping of schools, see: Radhakrishnan and Moore, "Contents", and pp. 453–487.
  28. ^ For a brief overview of the Yoga school of philosophy see: Chatterjee and Datta, p. 43.
  29. ^ For close connection between Yoga philosophy and Samkhya, see: Chatterjee and Datta, p. 43.
  30. ^ For Yoga acceptance of Samkhya concepts, but with addition of a category for God, see: Radhakrishnan and Moore, p. 453.
  31. ^ For Yoga as accepting the 25 principles of Samkhya with the addition of God, see: Chatterjee and Datta, p. 43.
  32. ^ Müller (1899), Chapter 7, "Yoga Philosophy", p. 104.
  33. ^ Zimmer (1951), p. 280.
  34. ^ For Patanjali as the founder of the philosophical system called Yoga see: Chatterjee and Datta, p. 42.
  35. ^ For "raja yoga" as a system for control of the mind and connection to Patanjali's Yoga Sutras as a key work, see: Flood (1996), pp. 96–98.
  36. ^ Patañjali (2001-02-01). "Yoga Sutras of Patañjali" (etext). Studio 34 Yoga Healing Arts. Retrieved 2008-11-24. 
  37. ^ For text and word-by-word translation as "Yoga is the inhibition of the modifications of the mind" see: Taimni, p. 6.
  38. ^ Barbara Stoler Miller, Yoga: Discipline of Freedom: the Yoga Sutra Attributed to Patanjali; a Translation of the Text, with Commentary, Introduction, and Glossary of Keywords. University of California Press, 1996, page 9.
  39. ^ Vivekanada, p. 115.
  40. ^ Stephen H. Phillips, Classical Indian Metaphysics: Refutations of Realism and the Emergence of "new Logic". Open Court Publishing, 1995., pages 12–13.
  41. ^ a b Jacobsen, p. 10.
  42. ^ "...Bhagavad Gita, including a complete chapter (ch. 6) devoted to traditional yoga practice. The Gita also introduces the famous three kinds of yoga, 'knowledge' (jnana), 'action' (karma), and 'love' (bhakti)." Flood, p. 96.
  43. ^ Gambhirananda, p. 16.
  44. ^ Jacobsen, p. 46.
  45. ^ Living Yoga: Creating a Life Practice - Page 42 by Christy Turlington (page 42)
  46. ^ Guiding Yoga's Light: Yoga Lessons for Yoga Teachers - Page 10 by Nancy Gerstein
  47. ^ Mindfulness Yoga: The Awakened Union of Breath Body & Mind - Page 6 by Frank Jude Boccio
  48. ^ Hatha Yoga: Its Context, Theory and Practice by Mikel Burley (page 16)
  49. ^ Feuerstein, Georg. (1996). The Shambhala Guide to Yoga. Boston & London: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  50. ^ a b Zen Buddhism: A History (India and China) by Heinrich Dumoulin, James W. Heisig, Paul F. Knitter (page 22)
  51. ^ Barbara Stoler Miller, Yoga: Discipline of Freedom: the Yoga Sutra Attributed to Patanjali; a Translation of the Text, with Commentary, Introduction, and Glossary of Keywords. University of California Press, 1996, page 8.
  52. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge, 2007, page 73.
  53. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge, 2007, page 105.
  54. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge, 2007, page 96.
  55. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge, 2007, page 109.
  56. ^ Dan Lusthaus: "What is and isn't Yogacara"
  57. ^ Dan Lusthaus. Buddhist Phenomenology: A Philosophical Investigation of Yogacara Buddhism and the Ch'eng Wei-shih Lun. Published 2002 (Routledge). ISBN 0700711864. pg 533
  58. ^ Simple Tibetan Buddhism: A Guide to Tantric Living By C. Alexander Simpkins, Annellen M. Simpkins. Published 2001. Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 0804831998
  59. ^ The Buddhist Tradition in India, China, and Japan. Edited by William Theodore de Bary. Pgs. 207-208. ISBN 0-394-71696-5 - "The Meditation school, called Ch'an in Chinese from the Sanskrit dhyāna, is best known in the West by the Japanese pronunciation Zen"
  60. ^ Zen Buddhism: A History (India and China) by Heinrich Dumoulin, James W. Heisig, Paul F. Knitter (Page xviii)
  61. ^ Zen Buddhism: A History (India and China) by Heinrich Dumoulin, James W. Heisig, Paul F. Knitter (page 13). Translated by James W. Heisig, Paul F. Knitter. Contributor John McRae. Published 2005 World Wisdom. 387 pages. ISBN 0941532895 [Exact quote: "This phenomenon merits special attention since yogic roots are to be found in the Zen Buddhist school of meditation."]
  62. ^ Zen Buddhism: A History (India and China) by Heinrich Dumoulin, James W. Heisig, Paul F. Knitter (page 13)
  63. ^ The Lion's Roar: An Introduction to Tantra by Chogyam Trungpa. Shambhala, 2001 ISBN 1570628955
  64. ^ Secret of the Vajra World: The Tantric Buddhism of Tibet by Ray, Reginald A. Shambhala: 2002. ISBN 157062917X pg 37-38
  65. ^ Secret of the Vajra World: The Tantric Buddhism of Tibet by Ray, Reginald A. Shambhala: 2002. ISBN 157062917X pg 57
  66. ^ Yantra Yoga: The Tibetan Yoga of Movement by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu. Snow Lion, 2008. ISBN 1559393084
  67. ^ Chang, G.C.C. (1993). Tibetan Yoga. New Jersey: Carol Publishing Group. ISBN 0-8065-1453-1, p.7
  68. ^ a b Tattvarthasutra [6.2]
  69. ^ Niyamasara [134-40]
  70. ^ Zydenbos, Robert. Jainism Today and Its Future. München: Manya Verlag, 2006. p.66
  71. ^ Zimmer, Heinrich in (ed.) Joseph Campbell: Philosophies of India. New York: Princeton University Press, 1969 p.60
  72. ^ Chapple, Christopher.(1993) Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions. New York: SUNY Press, 1993 p. 7
  73. ^ Zydenbos (2006) p.66
  74. ^ A History of Yoga by Vivian Worthington (1982) Routledge ISBN 071009258X p. 29
  75. ^ Vivian Worthington (1982) p. 35
  76. ^ Chapple, Christopher.(1993), p.6
  77. ^ Chapple, Christopher.(1993), pp.6-9
  78. ^ Situating Sufism and Yoga
  79. ^ Carolina Seminar on Comparative Islamic Studies
  80. ^ Top Islamic body: Yoga is not for Muslims - CNN
  81. ^ [4]
  82. ^ "Malaysia leader: Yoga for Muslims OK without chant", Associated Press
  83. ^ [5]
  84. ^ [6]
  85. ^ [7]
  86. ^
  87. ^ 1989 Letter from Vatican to Bishops on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation
  88. ^ Steinfels, Peter (1990-01-07). "Trying to Reconcile the Ways of the Vatican and the East". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-05. 
  89. ^ Dr Ankerberg, John & Dr Weldon, John, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, Harvest House Publishers, 1996
  90. ^ a b Title: Mesocosm: Hinduism and the Organization of a Traditional Newar City in Nepal. Author: Robert I. Levy. Published: University of California Press, 1991. pp 313
  91. ^ Second Chapter, The Book of Secrets, St. Martin's Griffin, 1998. ISBN 0312180586, 9780312180584
  92. ^ P. 16 Second Chapter, The Book of Secrets, St. Martin's Griffin, 1998. ISBN 0312180586, 9780312180584
  93. ^ Your ayurvedic constitution: Prakruti by Robert Svoboda Motilal Banarsidass Publication,2005; ISBN 8120818407, 9788120818408 Google Books
  94. ^ Title: Mesocosm: Hinduism and the Organization of a Traditional Newar City in Nepal. Author: Robert I. Levy. Published: University of California Press, 1991. pp 317
  95. ^ Jacobsen, p. 9.
  96. ^ "Vaishnavism" Britannica Concise "Characterized by an emphasis on bhakti, its goal is to escape from the cycle of birth and death in order to enjoy the presence of Vishnu."


  • Apte, Vaman Shivram (1965). The Practical Sanskrit Dictionary. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. ISBN 81-208-0567-4.  (fourth revised & enlarged edition).
  • Chang, G.C.C. (1993). Tibetan Yoga. New Jersey: Carol Publishing Group. ISBN 0-8065-1453-1
  • Chapple, Christopher.(1993) Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions. New York: SUNY Press, 1993 p. 7
  • Feuerstein, Georg (1996). The Shambhala Guide to Yoga. 1st ed.. Boston & London: Shambhala Publications. 
  • Flood, Gavin (1996). An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-43878-0. 
  • Gambhirananda, Swami (1998). Madhusudana Sarasvati Bhagavad_Gita: With the annotation Gūḍhārtha Dīpikā. Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama Publication Department. ISBN 81-7505-194-9. 
  • Jacobsen, Knut A. (Editor); Larson, Gerald James (Editor) (2005). Theory And Practice of Yoga: Essays in Honour of Gerald James Larson. Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 9004147578.  (Studies in the History of Religions, 110)
  • Maehle, Gregor (2006). Ashtanga Yoga: Practice & Philosophy. Novato: New World Library. ISBN 978-1-57731-606-0. 
  • Müller, Max (1899). Six Systems of Indian Philosophy; Samkhya and Yoga, Naya and Vaiseshika. Calcutta: Susil Gupta (India) Ltd.. ISBN 0-7661-4296-5.  Reprint edition; Originally published under the title of The Six Systems of Indian Philosophy.
  • Possehl, Gregory (2003). The Indus Civilization: A Contemporary Perspective. AltaMira Press. ISBN 978-0759101722. 
  • Radhakrishnan, S.; Moore, CA (1967). A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy. Princeton. ISBN 0-691-01958-4. 
  • Taimni, I. K. (1961). The Science of Yoga. Adyar, India: The Theosophical Publishing House. ISBN 81-7059-212-7. 
  • Worthington, Vivian A History of Yoga 1982 Routledge ISBN 071009258X
  • Zimmer, Heinrich (1951). Philosophies of India. New York, New York: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-01758-1.  Bollingen Series XXVI; Edited by Joseph Cambell.
  • Zydenbos, Robert. Jainism Today and Its Future. München: Manya Verlag, 2006. p. 66
  • [8]

Further reading

  • Yoga Unveiled Documentary at
  • Patañjali (2001). Yoga Sutras of Patañjali. Studio 34 Yoga Healing Arts. 
  • Chatterjee, Satischandra; Datta, Dhirendramohan (1984). An Introduction to Indian Philosophy (Eighth Reprint ed.). Calcutta: University of Calcutta. 
  • Donatelle, Rebecca J. Health: The Basics. 6th ed. San Francisco: Pearson Education, Inc. 2005.
  • Harinanda, Swami. Yoga and The Portal. Jai Dee Marketing. ISBN 0978142950. 
  • Keay, John (2000). India: A History. New York: Grove Press. ISBN 0-8021-3797-0. 
  • Marshall, John (1931). Mohenjodaro and the Indus Civilization: Being an Official Account of Archaeological Excavations at Mohenjodaro Carried Out by the Government of India Between the Years 1922-27. Delhi: Indological Book House.
  • Michaels, Axel (2004). Hinduism: Past and Present. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-08953-1. 
  • Mittra, Dharma Sri. Asanas: 608 Yoga Poses. 1st ed. California: New World Library 2003.
  • Saraswati, swami satyananda. November 2002 (12th edition). "Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha" ISBN 81-86336-14-1
  • Usharabudh, Arya Pandit. Philosophy of Hatha Yoga. 2nd ed. Pennsylvania: Himalayan Institute Press 1977, 1985.
  • Vivekananda, Swami (1994). Raja Yoga. Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama Publication Department. ISBN 81-85301-16-6.  21st reprint edition.
  • Weber, Hans-Jörg L. (2007). Yogalehrende in Deutschland: eine humangeographische Studie unter besonderer Berücksichtigung von netzwerktheoretischen, bildungs- und religionsgeographischen Aspekten. Heidelberg: University of Heidelberg.

External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




From the verbal root √yuj (to yoke), from Proto-Indo-European *yewg- (to yoke, harness, join), whence also PIE noun *yugóm that gave Sanskrit युग (yugá).


योग (yóga) m.

  1. the act of yoking, joining, attaching, harnessing, putting to (of horses)
    आ तेन यातं मनसो जवीयसा रथं यं वां रभवश्चक्रुरश्विना |
    यस्य योगे दुहिता जायते दिव उभे अहनीसुदिने विवस्वतः ||
    ā tena yātaṃ manaso javīyasā rathaṃ yaṃ vāṃ ṛbhavaścakruraśvinā |
    yasya yoghe duhitā jāyate diva ubhe ahanīsudine vivasvataḥ ||
    Come on that Chariot which the Rbhus wrought for you, the Chariot, Asvins, that is speedier than thought,
    At harnessing whereof Heaven's Daughter springs to birth, and from Vivasvan come auspicious Night and Day.
  2. a yoke, team, vehicle, conveyance
  3. employment, use, application, performance
  4. equipping or arraying (of an army)
  5. fixing (of an arrow on the bow-string)
  6. putting on (of armour)
  7. a remedy, cure
  8. a means, expedient, device, way, manner, method
  9. a supernatural means, charm, incantation, magical art
  10. a trick, stratagem, fraud, deceit (cf. yoga-nanda)
  11. undertaking, business, work
  12. acquisition, gain, profit, wealth, property
  13. occasion, opportunity
  14. any junction, union, combination, contact with (+instrumental with or without सह (sahá), or compound)
    योगम् (yogam) √ito agree, consent, acquiesce in anything
  15. mixing of various materials, mixture
  16. partaking of, possessing (instrumental or compound)
  17. connection, relation (योगात् (yogāt), योगेन (yógena) and योगतस् (yóga-tas) at the end of a compound: in consequence of, on account of, by reason of, according to, through)
  18. putting together, arrangement, disposition, regular succession
  19. fitting together, fitness, propriety, suitability
    योगेन (yógena) and योगतस् (yóga-tas)suitably, fitly, duly, in the right manner
  20. exertion, endeavour, zeal, diligence, industry, care, attention
    योगतस् (yóga-tas)strenuously, assiduously
    पूर्णेन योगेन (pūrṇena yogena)with all one's powers, with overflowing zeal
  21. yoga: application or concentration of the thoughts, abstract contemplation, meditation, (especially) self-concentration, abstract meditation and mental abstraction practised as a system
  22. any simple act or rite conducive to yoga or abstract meditation
  23. Yoga personified (as the son of Dharma and Kriya
  24. a follower of the yoga system
  25. (in samkhya) the union of soul with matter (one of the 10 मूलिकअर्था (mūlika-arthā)s or radical facts)
  26. (with पाशुपत (pāśupata)s) the union of the individual soul with the universal soul
  27. (with पाञ्चरात्र (pāñcarātra)s) devotion, pious seeking after God
  28. (with जैन (jaina)s) contact or mixing with the outer world
  29. (astronomy) conjunction, lucky conjuncture
  30. (astronomy) a constellation, [fasterism]] (these, with the moon, are called चान्द्रयोगाः (cāndra-yogāḥ) and are 13 in number; without the moon they are called खयोगाः (kha-yogāḥ), or नाभसयोगाः (nābhasa-yogāḥ))
  31. (astronomy) the leading or principal star of a lunar asterism
  32. (astronomy) name of a variable division of time (during which the joint motion in longitude of the sun and moon amounts to 13 degrees 20 minutes; there are 27 such yogas beginning with विष्कम्भ (viṣkambha) and ending with वैधृति (vaidhṛti))
  33. (arithmetic) addition, sum, total
  34. (grammar) the connection of words together, syntactical dependence of a word, construction (at the end of a compound = dependent on, ruled by)
  35. (grammar) a combined or concentrated grammatical rule or aphorism
  36. the connection of a word with its root, original or etymological meaning (as opposed to रूढि (rūḍhi))
  37. a violator of confidence, spy
  38. name of a scholiast or commentator on the परमार्थसार (paramārthasāra)



  • Sir Monier Monier-Williams, A Sanskrit-English dictionary etymologically and philologically arranged with special reference to cognate Indo-European languages, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1898, page 0856

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