What is Yoga?

What is Yoga?

Actually, there is no such word as ‘Yoga’ in the Sanskrit language or in the Vedic scriptures; the proper word is ‘Yog’, which means to unite. It is derived from the root ‘yuj’, which means to join. The Garuda Purana defines Yog as:

संयोगो योग इत्युक्तो जीवात्मपरमात्मनोः॥
saṁyogo yoga ityukto jīvātmaparamātmanoḥ ||

“The union of the soul with the Supreme is called Yog.”

Yog therefore, is the divine science that has been practiced in India for thousands of years, to yoke the individual soul with the Supreme soul. Among the works on Yog available now, the Yog Darshan of Patanjali is the most ancient one, and it is in the form of sutras.  In his Yog Darshan, Patanjali prescribes a graded discipline comprising eight steps, called the astang yog. They are yama (restraint), niyama (observances), asan (posture), pranayam (breath control), pratyahara (state of withdrawal), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (total absorption).  Most of the yoga studios in the western world just take the one arm of the yogasan – and practice it as yoga.

“While the central theme of Yog remains the highest goal of the spiritual path, physical yogic practices enshrined in it give direct and tangible benefits to everyone regardless of their spiritual aims,” says Swami Mukundananda ji. It is indispensable in the present times, as “Yog has proved itself as a panacea by giving a welcome relief to stress-stricken people,” he adds.

Yog incorporates the science of healthy and righteous living into our daily life. It works on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of an individual. If practiced regularly and sincerely, Yog helps an individual to connect to one’s deepest self at the core and create harmony, well being, and inner peace.  The process is a gradual ascent into the fundamental state of sat-chit-anand, a state that we are meant to be.

3 Comments
  • Champa Srinivas
    Posted at 19:15h, 20 May Reply

    Meaning of Yog, very well explained

  • Surbhi Joshi
    Posted at 02:03h, 02 June Reply

    Wonderful explanation of the term “yoga”. We often misinterpret it and consider it to be only a type of physical exercise. This article enlightens the real meaning of yoga

  • Soundarya
    Posted at 08:30h, 08 June Reply

    True yog is to connect with God. Nice detailed explaination about the true meaning of yog!!

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