chapter  4
10 Pages

Yoga for Relaxation and Concentration

Derived from the root yuj (to bind together, hold fast, yoke) the word yoga serves to designate any ascetic technique and any method of meditation (Eliade, 1969, p. 4). “Classic” yoga, a system of philosophy expounded by Patañjali in his celebrated Yoga-sutras, probably dates from the 2nd century B.C., but Patañjali does not expound on a personal system; as he points out himself, he is publishing and correcting the doctrinal and technical traditions of yoga. His Yoga-sutras represent a codification of ancient techniques, ones known to Indian ascetics and mystics long before his time. Side by side with “classic” yoga, there are countless forms of “popular” or “mystical” yoga. However, generally speaking, the emphasis in all forms of yoga is placed on self-discipline and concentration of mind, on practical physical exercises and techniques of meditation. The setting for meditation should be one in which there are minimal distractions, in which colors and lighting are subdued (Deikman, 1972, pp. 204-205). The guidance of a master (or guru) is considered to be of great importance.