What is yoga?
Yoga (in sanskrit yuj means to yoke, to unite) is one of the orthodox philosophical systems (darshans) of India. It significantly influenced also a number of other philosophical systems. The basic text of yoga is the Patanjali Yoga sutra (cca 2 - 7th Centrury BC ?). Philosophicaly yoga is closely related to the sankhya system (also one of the philosophical systems of India).
Yoga can be understood as a system of techniques and methods for preparing humans for a state of yoga - i.e. a state of integration, where all the physical, mental and spiritual faculties are in complete harmony. This means a high quality life, which is in full agreement with personal and universal dharma. The state of yoga means also the realisation of the Essence of Being. Yoga supports holistic life, an ethical value system and a healthy lifestyle.
Yoga is known to have existed at least for 5 millennia. From India it diffused also to other Asian countries, and reached Europe mostly through Greek, Arab and British mediators. In the West, it became wider known in the 20th Century. Today it became a part of the global cultural and spiritual heritage. Some sources estimate that today, about 300 million of people practice yoga.
Yoga has a number of classic and also modern branches (Patanjali yoga, ashtanga, hatha, ghatastha, jnana, bhakti, karma, kriya, tantra, sahaja, savita, vivarta, power, purna, etc.). Some are traditional, some are reformed (like Okido) and some are non-orthodox (e.g. those advocating "yoga competitions" or "yoga sport"). There is a number of European and global organisations that act as umbrella organisations uniting certain styles of yoga. In Europe the ideals of classic yoga are best represented by the vision and mission of the European union of yoga (EUY). In CE Europe yoga started to become known in the 20th Century. Its greater pupolarity in ex-Czechoslovakia and Slovakia started in the 1980-s.