People understand Yoga as different things. Some think it’s physical exercise of asanas to get health through strength and flexibility of the physical body. Some imagine meditating person sitting with closed eyes to raise the level of awareness. Some consider it exercises with specific breathing ways to get special powers. And still others associate it with secret tantric techniques to raise our kundalini energy from the “Mooladhar Chakra = Base Chakra” to the “Sahasrar Chakra = Crown Chakra” and reach state of enlightenment.

Different professionals use Yoga as a supplement to their specific healing or self-development programs. Psychologists may use it for their clients as a tool of becoming more peaceful and conscious. Physiotherapist to remove back pain or help any other joints problems of their patients. Sport trainers to increase the performance of their players in competitions. Music teachers to take their students on entirely different levels of sensitivity.

Even Yoga Teachers will vary in their opinions about what Yoga really is and what it isn’t. There are so many styles and approaches to walking this path.

What Yoga Really Is?

“Yoga” in its original Sanskrit language is derived from the root word “Yuj” meaning to join together or unite. There can be many interpretations to that. To unite our outer physical self with our inner spiritual self. To unite our scattered pieces of the mind with its never-ending distractions and flow of thoughts into one focused, diamond-like-pure and perfect consciousness. To unite all our layers of existence – physical, energetic, emotional, mental, spiritual…

We are all one united creation…
We are all one united creation…

Our modern word Religion has similar connotations as the Latin word “Religare” means to reconnect. There can be many interpretations to that too. To reconnect oneself with the God. To reconnect with the Creator. To reconnect with the Source of Life.

According to Vedanta, the ending parts of the Vedas, Yoga is the union of the individual soul (Jivatma) with the universal soul (Paramatma).

Maharishi Patanjali, the Father of Yoga, in his Yoga Sutras wrote in the second verse of the first chapter (Samadhi Pada) :

योगः चित्त वृत्ति निरोधः

Yogah Chittavrtti Nirodhah

Yoga is the Eradication of the Mind Disturbances

The next verse follows:

तदा द्रष्टु स्वरूपेअवस्थानम्

Tada Drashtuh Svarupe Avasthanam

Then the Seer Dwells in its Own Form

Through disciplined “Abhyas & Vairagya = Practice & Detachment” one can attain perfect control over one’s own “Citta = Body/Consciousness Complex”. Without its disturbances one attains “Viveka Khyatir = Enlightened Discrimination” and one (the seer of the manifested world) is able to recognise one’s own true nature.

The first commentator of Yoga Sutras, the great Indian scholar Vyasa, wrote “Yuj Samadhau = Yoga is Samadhi” – the Yoga is complete meditative or spiritual absorption.

According to Srimad Bhagavad-Gita, the most important epic of Hinduism, there are two significant definitions of Yoga. “Yoga is Equanimity of Mind” as well as “Skill in Action is Yoga.

First derived from chapter 2, verse 48:

योगस्थ: कुरु कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा धनञ्जय |
सिद्ध्यसिद्ध्यो: समो भूत्वा समत्वं योग उच्यते ||

Yoga-sthaḥ kuru karmāṇi saṅgaṁ tyaktvā dhanañjaya
Siddhy-asiddhyoḥ samo bhūtvā samatvaṁ yoga uchyate

Be steadfast in the performance of your duty, O Dhananjaya (Arjun), abandoning attachment to success and failure. Such equanimity is called Yoga.

Second from chapter 2, verse 50:

बुद्धियुक्तो जहातीह उभे सुकृतदुष्कृते |
तस्माद्योगाय युज्यस्व योग: कर्मसु कौशलम् ||

Buddhi-yukto jahātīha ubhe sukṛita-duṣhkṛite
Tasmād yogāya yujyasva yogaḥ karmasu kauśhalam

Endowing the wisdom of equanimity, one can get rid of any reactions in this life itself. Thus, dedicate yourself to Yoga. Skill in action is Yoga.

Yoga comes from India and means the union of the mind, body and spirit. It is achieving the perfect state of being through disciplined, focused practice of body positions, breathing techniques, deep relaxation and meditation. Remaining in meditation allows one to achieve the state of “Samadhi = Trance Consciousness” which leads to complete liberation from the misery of life.

Yoga originates from Vedas. It is not easy to assign the exact date of Yoga beginnings as the scholars differ in their opinions when Vedas were written. Some state that Vedas came to be 5000 years ago, whereas others trace it back as much as 10,000 years ago or even farther back.

There are archaeological findings of meditating yogis on seals and fossils around the discovery of the Indus Valley Civilisation, which authenticates the existence of Yoga in ancient India.

Vedic teachers say that Yoga is as old as the people themselves and existed even before first religions or belief systems were created.

Yoga is not a religion as such. Anyone from any culture, belief system, social group or gender can do it. It is a complimentary self-development system for any human being to reach the state of “Kaivalya/Moksha/Nirvana” – the ultimate freedom from suffering of life.

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