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A Yoga is the physical, mental and spiritual practices or disciplines, which originated in ancient India, with the goal of attaining permanent peace. The term yoga comes from two roots that mean to concentrate. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali refer to it as stilling the altering states of mind.

B Various traditions of yoga are found in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. By the turn of the first millennium, hatha yoga emerged from the tantra form. It is the style that many people associate with the word yoga in contemporary times. Indian monks, beginning with Swami Vivekananda, brought yoga to the world. In the 1980s, yoga became popular as a system of physical exercise across the globe.

C Many studies have tried to determine the efficacy of yoga as a complementary intervention for cancer, schizophrenia, asthma and heart disease. In a national survey, long-term yoga practitioners reported musculo—skeletal and mental health improvements. The ultimate goal of Yoga is liberation, though the exact definition of what form this takes is dependent on the philosophical or theological system in question.

D Yoga also serves as excellent training for children and adolescents, both as a form of physical exercise and for breathing, concentration and relieving stress. Many school systems have contemplated incorporating yoga into their physical education curriculum.

E The practice brings forth absolute freedom when the lucidity of material nature and spirit reach a perfect balance. In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali indicates that the ultimate goal of yoga is a state of permanent peace or KaivaIya. Apart from the spiritual goals, the physical postures of yoga are used to alleviate health problems, reduce stress and make the spine supple. Yoga is also used as a complete exercise programme and physical therapy routine.

F The origins of yoga are a matter of debate. According to Crangle, Indian researchers have generally favoured a linear theory that interprets the origin and early development of Indian contemplative practices as a sequential growth from Aryan beginnings. Some argue that yoga came from the Indus Valley Civilization. The most compelling evidence suggests that it developed in the’ same ascetic circles as the early Sramana movements approximately around the sixth and fifth centuries BC.

G Yoga came to the attention of an educated western public in the mid-19th century along with other topics of Indian philosophy. In the context of this budding interest, N.C. Paul published his Treatise on Yoga Philosophy in 1851. The first Hindu teacher to, actively advocate and disseminate aspects of yoga to a western audience, Swami Vivekananda, toured Europe and the United States in the 1890s.

H During the 1910s and 1920s, yoga suffered a period of resistance because of xenophobic and puritanical sentiments. In the 1930s and 1940s yoga began to gain more public acceptance because of the celebrity interest. By the 1960s, interest in Hindu spirituality in the West reached its peak, giving rise to a great number of Neo-Hindu schools. Since 2001, the popularity of yoga has grown rapidly. The number of people who practise yoga has increased by more than five times since then. In 2013, the American President and his administration declared that yoga had become a universal language of spiritual exercise in the United States, transcending religious and cultural lines.

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