Yoga is the physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines that aim to transform body and mind. The term denotes a variety of schools, practices and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism and Jainism, the best-known being Hatha yoga and Raja yoga. The term yoga is derived from the literal meaning of “yoking together” a span of horses or oxen, but came to be applied to the “yoking” of mind and body.
The origins of Yoga have been speculated to date back to pre-vedic Indian traditions, but most likely developed around the sixth and fifth centuries BC. The earliest accounts of yoga-practices are in the Buddhist Nikayas. Yoga gurus from India later introduced yoga to the west, following the success of Swami Vivekananda in the late 19th and an early 20th century. In the 1980s, yoga became popular as a system of physical exercise across the Western world. This form of yoga is often called Hatha yoga.
Being the centre of origin of Yoga India offers a host of opportunities to learn the disciplines of yoga. Yoga Retreats in North India are located close to Rishikesh along the banks of River Ganges. Combination of Yoga and Ayurveda is available in the Southern state of Kerala.
Ayurveda or Ayurvedic medicine a system of Hindu traditional medicine, is native to the Indian subcontinent, and is a form of alternative medicine. The oldest known Ayurvedic texts are the Suśrutha Saṃhitā and the Charaka Saṃhitā. These Classical Sanskrit texts are among the foundational and formally compiled works of Ayurveda.
By the medieval period, Ayurvedic practitioners developed a number of medicinal preparations and surgical procedures for the treatment of various ailments. Practices that are derived from Ayurvedic medicine are regarded as part of complementary and alternative medicine and along with Siddha Medicine and Traditional Chinese medicine. Ayurveda is well integrated into the Indian National health care system, with state hospitals for Ayurveda established across the country.
Kerala, the Land of Ayurveda
Kerala possesses an unbroken tradition of Ayurveda that has surpassed the many invasions and intrusions both foreign and native. For hundreds of years the Ayurveda Vaidyas (traditional practitioners of Ayurveda) were almost the only access for people seeking healing from every kind of disease in Kerala.
Being the only available line of treatment for the people, the Vaidyars of Kerala were challenged to interpret the theories of Ayurveda and adapt them actively into effective healing systems in everyday life. Thus almost all the contemporary procedures and protocols of Ayurveda have evolved in and around Kerala.
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