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The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Yuj' which means to join or unite. The union referred to is that of the individual self-uniting with Cosmic Consciousness or the Universal Spirit. Yoga is believed to have evolved during the period of the 'Sat Yuga', also called the Golden age. It was not until the discovery of the Indus- valley civilization, the largest civilization: that the knowledge about the origin of Yoga surfaced. One of the earliest expositions on Yoga was written by the Indian sage Patanjali. His work, known today as "Patanjali's Yoga Sutras" is widely available on the net.
The Eight Limbs of Yoga "Patanjali defines yoga as" Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha "- Yoga is the cessation of mental fluctuations." Hence, yoga can be defined as a state of complete stillness of mind. To achieve this goal, Patanjali prescribes the eight limbs or stagesevery practitioner must master. Today, Ashtanga yoga (which means 'eight-limbedyoga') is sometimes thought to be a particular style or series of postures. Butthese are really the eight stages described by Patanjali. They are: