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Any mention of India is incomplete without discussing Yoga, a centuries old traditional way to heal mind and soul along with body. According to some, the history of India dates back to 200 BC as there literature discussing the same. However, many also claim that the science of Yoga was invented during the Vedic times (2000-3000 B.C.). Yoga in India boasts of rich history and centuries’ old tradition and practices which are still performed with the aim of curing body and relieving mind and soul of worries and diseases.

The word “yoga” literally means “union” and has been derived from the language Sanskrit word “yog”. The term yoga symbolises the unity of body, mind and soul in a spiritual sense. Here the importance is given to the concept of uniting individual soul with the universal soul which is divine. This is done through rigorous mental and physical efforts. A perfect coordination between body, soul and mind is brought which leads to state of tranquillity.

Yoga empowers an individual to organize and intact one’s mind and control and work as per a person’s will and decision. It deals with both physical as well as mental health. A needed balance has been maintained between endocrine and nervous system of our body, mind and soul in Yoga. A soothing harmony between the three is brought with the help of the science of Yoga. This eventually leads to serene symphony of life.

Not just in India which is the birthplace of this art of life, yoga has been acclaimed all over the world because of its exceptionally merits. In India, there are many centres and places authentic and best of Yoga services assisting tourists in every way possible.

Basic elements of Yoga

There various important aspects which are taken care in yoga. Ashtanga Yoga which is one of the most common forms of Yoga is consisted of eight basic features. These are Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi.

All these eight elements are equally important and together bring in a state of complete wellness. Yama emphasises on truth, self-control, nonviolence, control against vices such as stealing, greed, etc. which brings in a positive way of leading life. Niyama deals with human values such as contentment, self-study, penance and cleanliness and leads to complete surrender to God.

Asanas (exercises) include varied kinds of yogic postures. These postures are performed in order to keep one’s body fit and flexible and away from illnesses. Hatha (physical) yoga is one of the most popular forms of yoga not only in India but all around the world. This requires proper concentration so as to maintain the balance of flexibility and strength. Asanas which include exercise of all the body parts not just help in physical well-being but also helps in proper functioning of various internal organs, glands and nerves as well.

Pranayama deals with the proper management of the breath. This helps in upgrading our consciousness of the universe along with our mental and bodily strength.

Pratyahara when performed leads to composure of mind which leads alienating the individual from five senses.

The last two elements Dharana and Dhyana endorse concentration and meditation. This leads to complete interaction as well as connection between the subject and object where the individual who is mediating is the subject and is not separated from his/her object of meditation. The art of meditation can cure problems such as depression, schizophrenia, irrational fears, etc. Mediation has further various kinds such as chakra, yantra and mantra. All these work together to calm the mind and soul along with ultimate empowering of the same.

Samadhi which is the final features symbolises ultimate state of oneness with universal soul that is God.

Rishikesh in India - The Yoga Capital of the World

One of holiest and spiritual destination of India, Rishikesh is rightly called at the yoga capital of the country because of the umpteen numbers of yoga centres and the naturals setting of the place. Located in the Garhwal region in the state of Uttaranchal on the banks of Holy River Ganga, Rishikesh presents a perfect natural setting to experience the divine art of Yoga.

Comprising of three areas - Rishikesh, Muni-ki-Reti and Swargashram, Rishikesh presents tourists with various kinds of on meditation, yoga along with on Hinduism and its way of life. There are many internationally acclaimed centres offering tourists with bets of the yoga experience and services to help them in complete healing of mind and soul.

Some of the popular yoga ashrams in Rishikesh are Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Sivananda Ashram, Yoga Study Center (for Hatha Yoga), Yoga Niketan, Sri Ved Niketan, Dayananda Vedanta Ashram, Brahma Niwas, Sacha Vedic Sansthan, etc. Patanjali Yogpeeth is a trust is also located here which organises various camps of yoga and has been popular all over the world. In Rishikesh, an annual International Yoga Festival is held during the month of February every year. This organised by the UP Tourism.

Along with this, city of Rishikesh with rich and exotic natural setting is also suitable for various kinds of adventure sports. With options such as rafting, rock climbing, kayaking, mountaineering and trekking, the place is nothing less than a paradise for those seeking some excitement along with relaxation through meditation and yoga.