From the first time I studied Yoga, it has been an all-encompassing term in my understanding. Under this umbrella term, we talk about physical fitness, mental health, emotional balance, spiritual growth, and a synchronicity of body, breath, and mind.
But lately, especially since I joined Instagram in 2019, I hear people and see posts that say ‘Yoga and meditation workshop, Yoga and breathwork classes’ and so on. Yoga seems to have slowly come to mean āsana, or any form of relatively slow physical movement.
That’s what’s led me to write this, to share my little understanding of the word, the concept, the philosophy of Yoga. What is Yoga all about?
Yoga – The Word
The word derives from a Sanskrit word ‘yuj’. Yuj means union, joining, or coming together.
This word has been used in the Rgvéda (the oldest of the four main Vedic texts), which is the very first mention of Yoga in any written text, approximately 4000-5000 years ago.
Yoga – The Concept
The concept of Yoga speaks about absolute balance, symmetry, and harmony among the different aspects of the Self – body-breath-mind, body-mind-soul. It speaks about harmony between our outer and inner selves. It discusses building mindfulness by emptying the mind.
When our thoughts, words, and actions are all in alignment with each other, we are happy, at peace with ourselves. This is the state of Yoga – absolute bliss, painlessness, and no disturbances within the various aspects of the Self.
Yoga – The Philosophy
The philosophy of Yoga, expounded on by many enlightened souls over the centuries, discusses tools and methods to achieve what the concept of Yoga enunciates.
The philosophy gives us concepts to live by in our everyday lives, exercises that strengthen the mind through the body, breathwork to channelise energy and focus, and to slowly work our way towards a meditative state of of being.
It gives us ways to determine whether our thoughts, words, and actions are just, fair, and equitable. It guides us on how to deal with everyday situations, people of every kind, and the ups and downs that are so intrinsic to life itself.
It shows the way to deal effectively with everything life brings our way without being disturbed by any of it, without letting any of it affect our inner sense of well-being and balance. It helps us be objective and make decisions with clarity.
As you can see, in my understanding of Yoga, it is an all-encompassing idea that can guide us in every single aspect of life and help us contextualise the various concepts and methods that are a part of Yoga.
What is your understanding of Yoga? Leave a comment and let you know your thoughts on this!