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Simple Definition Of Yoga - Understanding Yoga

A simple definition of yoga and understanding Yoga through the words of ancient Hindu teachers.

Yoga is return to the source. We have been taught that we are different from the source and Yoga is an attempt to correct this wrong. In the process of this correction we find answer to questions like ‘Who am I.’ What is the meaning of life? New questions arise and we become seekers. Till now we have been seeking answers outside. But once we started knowing yoga, we realize that the answer is not outside but inside.

What is all this here? Is there a life after death? Am I being constructive by being part of 
the rat race? What is the source of all that I can see and I cannot? When you sit in a yoga pose you are slowly move towards finding answer to these and many other questions.

What Is Meaning Of Term Yoga?

The term ‘yoga’ is etymologically derived from two roots: yuj and yujir. Yuj means samadhi, deep concentration, in which the real nature of the individual Self is revealed. Yujir means joining together or union. Here it refers to the union of individual Self and the universal Self. The former is the yogic definition and the latter is the Vedantic definition of yoga. We need to consider both these definitions of Yoga — former representing the process of individualization and the latter representing the process of universalisation. These two processes give a complete picture of a human being’s spiritual journey towards ultimate perfection.

Yoga Is Not A Mere Exercise Or Miracle Cure

Yoga should not be seen as a mere exercise or as a miracle cure for various diseases. Yoga can cure diseases but that can only happen, when you are able to realize that the life force in you is present in all animate an inanimate.

Om Puurnnam-Adah Puurnnam-Idam Puurnnaat-Purnnam-Udacyate
Puurnnasya Puurnnam-Aadaaya Puurnnam-Eva-Avashissyate ||
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

Om, That is complete, This is complete, From the completeness comes the completeness If completeness is taken away from completeness, Only completeness remains
Om Peace Peace Peace

This above said mantra is the base of Yoga.

Yoga is Quest for Truth

The universal teachings that were put forth in the Vedas and Upanishads by the great teachers of immemorial was put together in one place by Sage Patanjali – Patanjali Yoga Sutra – one of the six orthodox philosophies of Hinduism. (Contentment brings supreme happiness says Sage Patanjali)

When Sage Patanjali composed Yoga Sutras there was no Hinduism. There was no concept of religion. There was only quest for the truth.

Yoga is for the welfare of all living beings. It is not to be narrowed down. It should not be compartmentalized as of a particular religion. If you think in such a way then you need to go back to the basics. Yoga is for all.

Yoga is Mastery over the Mind

Yoga is about gaining mastery over the mind. The ‘I’ should be knocked out with the help of Yoga. For this we need to achieve self-realization. Yoga helps us in achieving self realization.

Yoga does not provide instant solutions.

You will be disappointed if you are doing Yoga on the Yoga mat with hope to cut down on weight, to look more handsome or beautiful, or to find immediate cure to a troubling disease. You might have paid a huge amount of fees to learn Yoga in the hope of achieving a particular result. Sorry but you paid the fees in a yoga shop - and shops run on profit. You are just a customer for them.

The knowledge of Yoga is free and it is for all. A true Yoga teacher will never take fees from you. The teacher will also not accept a person as a disciple, if the person is looking for instant solutions. ... when a man becomes pure and perfect, the sweet influence of his character spreads everywhere, and all who seek the Truth are naturally drawn towards him. (says Sri Ramakrishna)

Yoga is correcting all wrong teachings

This body is an extension of the Supreme Truth (God). Dust of ignorance is the covering the light hidden in us. This light is present in all animate and inanimate. We have painted, mismanaged and tortured the body, thinking that it is something different. Something unique. Yoga is correcting all this wrong.

Through the various asanas, Yoga takes us back to our original figure - to our original source. We then realize that the body is our temporary abode and all we need to do is keep it in its natural form.

The body knows how to take care of itself. After a particular period of time, the body prepares itself for transformation (which we wrongly refer as death). This ancient teaching also helps us in leaving the world in grace.

Yoga is not costly. You need not pay a hefty price to learn Yoga. You need not travel to find it. Yoga is inside you.

Taking a long walk and contemplating is also Yoga. Doing asanas in the morning and evening is also Yoga. But doing Yoga with having a particular end result in mind will cause disappointment.

Self-enquiry, discipline, self-control (mastery over anger, ego and desire), self-realization, mastery over the senses and sweating out on yoga mat will surely give you result. And believe me there is no comparison to what you will achieve. It cannot be described in words. You need to feel it to know it.

Yoga is the union of all. See all in one. Realizing that there is no second.

Along with Yoga you should also read the Bhagavad Gita, Katha Upanishad, Yoga Vasishta and teachings of Ashtavakra.

Above all please do not become a pawn in the hands of a Guru, or God men, in the name of Yoga.

The Story of Queen Chudala from Yoga Vasistha – Remain in the world and practice detachment