For thousands of years yoga has influenced lifestyle, philosophy, science, and culture. While said to stem from India, the exact geographical origin of yoga is still subject for debate among some scholars and practitioners. Yoga refers to traditional physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines. The Sanskrit word “yoga” has many meanings, and is derived from the Sanskrit root "yuj," which means "to control", "to yoke" or "to unite," and the earliest archeological existence of yoga can be found in the depictions of yogic postures depicted on stone seals, some of which date as far back as 3,000 B.C.
While yoga reached Armenia decades ago, it has received more and more attention in recent years. Today, several yoga centers in our country teach the mystery of yoga science, and its physical, mental, and spiritual growth for Armenians. These centers include the Yoga Federation of Armenia, Art of Living Foundation, Armenia Branch, Himalayan Yoga in Armenia, and “Shunch” (breath) Yoga Center, among others.
Himalayan Yoga in Yerevan provides indoor and outdoor classes to various youth groups. Vahagn Vardumyan, one of the center’s teachers, studied the yoga science in the Indian Himalayas for five months. Vahagn describes yoga by one of its most important Sanskrit meanings: Connection – connection to your inner self, connection to the people around you, connection to nature.
“Yoga is a science, not just a sport-like activity as presented in many sources. The style "Ashtanga Yoga" which, again in Sanskrit means “eight (stairs) limbs yoga,” is a very broad and complex system of physical, mental, and spiritual practices that empower the human being with help of body postures (Asana), breathing exercises (Pranayama), concentration exercises (meditation), and many more tools of self realization,” says Vahagn. “Basically, the closer you get to focused concentration, the closer you get to self-discovery and the more fun it becomes.”
The meaning of our self is not to be found in its separateness from God and others, but in the ceaseless realization of yoga, of union.