What is yoga? Not sure what yoga is about? Read a simple definition of yoga





The word 'yoga' has been related to many concepts and practices. So what is yoga? Understanding what yoga is really about can be a challenge!

What is yoga: Yoga definition from the Yogasutras

The word 'yoga' is said to be derived from the verbal root ‘yuj’, which has many meanings such as 'to control', 'to contemplate', 'to yoke', 'to unite', etc.

The most important definition of yoga is given in the Yogasutras (of Patanjali):

what is yoga~ Yogas citta-vrtti-nirodhah [Sanskrit, Verse 1.2]

~ Yoga is (happens with) the cessation, stilling of the activities of the mind [English Translation]

[Citta = general term for the mind; Vrtti = fluctuation, state, permutation, activity; Nirodhah = cessation, restraint, control]

What is yoga: More interpretations

Other classical texts have defined yoga as duhkha-samyoga-viyogam = separation from the union with pain or as samatvan = eveness of the mind (Bhagavad Gita); duhkhabhavah = the absence of pain; or the attainment of liberation.

Various yoga teachers and gurus have further elaborated these definitions based on their understanding and experience of yoga.

So it is apparent from the above definitions that yoga contributes to the clarity and stillness of the mind and that yoga happens when the mind is not actively engaged in thoughts, emotions and other activities, which arise out of unconscious mechanisms.

'State of yoga'

In a 'state of yoga', we can experience what happens beyond thoughts and feelings - a state known as pure consciousness or awareness. This cannot happen when we are emotionally aroused, caught up in emotions and thoughts.

By definition then, when there is pure consciousness, there is 'freedom' - including freedom from mental suffering, and the true essence can be experienced.

what is yoga If we stay always at the level of thoughts and feelings, then we cannot perceive that there is something else.

So in a yoga session, a practitioner is 'working out' not just the body but also the mind and the spirit, since the 'mind, body, spirit' is an integrated system.

The 'state of yoga' has a lot do with mindfulness and meditation!
It has a lot to do with accessing a state that does not necessarily communicate through words and bodily sensations, as it goes beyond our human dimension into another realm, a different level of experience...

As children we are not taught to go into this state of experience, as a result most people are not aware of it and it becomes a real struggle to understand it later on in life!

If you would like to enrich your life, then take a small step in a different direction!

The journey begins now!

What is Yoga? Read this article about the History of Yoga - Click to leave this page


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