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Portland Metro Yoga Message Board › History of Yoga Questions

History of Yoga Questions

A former member
Post #: 8
Does anyone have any questions about the general aspects of yoga & its history?

I would love to get a discussion about yoga started for us to expand our knowledge of yoga, and teach each other new things!

My training is specifically in the Ashtanga - Tantra - Hatha tradition. I can start with a few broad definitions to clarify the terms.

Yoga began in India around 5,000 years ago, and the strange language you hear teachers reciting is Sanskrit, which is the sacred language of the Vedic Scriptures, and other ancient yoga philosophy.

ASHTANGA
Ashtanga literally means 8 limbed: eight (ashta) limbs (anga). The eight limbs denoted by the word ashtanga refer specifically to the eight spiritual practices outlined by the sage Patanjali in the Yoga Sutra.

Vinyasa method:
This style of yoga is characterized by a focus on viṅyāsa, or a dynamic connecting posture, that creates a flow between the more static traditional yoga postures. Vinyasa translates as linking and the system also implies the linking of the movement to the breath. Essentially the breath dictates the movement and the length of time held in the postures. Unlike some Hatha yoga styles, attention is also placed on the journey between the postures not just the postures themselves. The viṅyāsa 'flow' is a variant of Sūrya namaskāra, the Sun Salutation. The whole practice is defined by six specific series of postures, always done in the same order, combined with specific breathing patterns

HATHA
What most people refer to as simply "yoga" is actually Hatha Yoga. Hatha Yoga is a system of yoga introduced by Yogi Swatmarama, a yogic sage in the 15th century in India. This particular system of yoga is the most popular one, and it is from which several other Styles of Yoga originated including Power Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, and Kundalini Yoga. The word "hatha" comes from the Sanskrit terms "ha" meaning "sun" and "tha" meaning "moon". Thus, Hatha Yoga is known as the branch of Yoga that unites pairs of opposites referring to the positive (sun) and negative (moon) currents in the system. It concentrates on the third (Asana) and fourth (Pranayama) steps in the Eight Limbs of Yoga.


TANTRA
Rather than a single coherent system, Tantra is an accumulation of practices and ideas which has among its characteristics the use of chanting, visualizations and energy work. The Tantric practitioner seeks to use the divine power that flows through the universe (including one's own body) to attain purposeful goals. These goals may be spiritual, material or both.

A practitioner of tantra considers mystical experience or the guidance of a Guru imperative. In the process of working with energy, the Tantric has various tools at hand. These include yoga?to actuate processes that will yoke the practitioner to the divine. Also important are the use of visualizations of the deity and verbalisation or evocation through mantras?which may be construed as seeing and singing the power into being; identification and internalisation of the divine is enacted?often through a total identification with a deity, such that the aspirant "becomes" the deity.



So that is alot of information! Let's discuss!
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