Ayurveda YOGA Series | What is YOGA?
Updated: Apr 21
What is Yoga? The word yoga comes from Sanskrit. It is a derivation of the word yuj, which means yoking, as in a team of oxen. In contemporary practice, this is often interpreted as a union.
Yoga is said to be for the purpose of uniting the body, breath, mind, and inner conscience. Yoga is really about creating a complete balance in the person through developing both strength and flexibility at all levels. The primary definition of the term Yoga is the state of union with the Divine or the experience of Oneness with the great Reality.
Yoga, therefore, represents the experience of Truth, the consciousness of Reality, and the ultimate union with the Divine.
The detailed all-encompassing meaning of Yoga is, it is a way of living that is scientifically conceived, experimentally developed, and evolved through the nurturing of many learned personalities enabling the humankind to purify the strata of existence beginning from the physical visible state, the Annamaya Kosha ascending to the functional physiological state, Praanamaya Kosha then to the subtler mental state, Manomaya Kosha proceeding to the intellectual state, Jnanamaya Kosha and further up to the knowledge state Vijnaanamaya Kosha and ultimately culminating in the realization of the Divine Bliss, reaching the goal at the Aanandamaya Kosha which has neither parallel nor opposites.
This subtle journey involves the strict adherence and dedicated observance of ASHTANGA YOGA namely, Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samaadhi, the greatest gift by the revered sage Patanjali. The depth and height of Yoga are such that the system got elevated to one of the Shatdarsanas of Indian Philosophy.
Yoga teaches a living being to concentrate the thoughts entirely upon the Supreme and elevate self to a higher subtler level by way of managing the Arishadvargas to gain command over the senses and to direct the inner self towards attaining a realization of the Universal Guiding Force.
What not is YOGA?
In a nutshell, a practice that does not create a union of body, breath mind and soul is not Yoga. Even if a person is perfect with the body and breath movements while performing the asanas and pranayamas, he/she cannot be a Yogi, if the observance of the Yama and Niyama is not happening.
That is not Yoga because the mind and soul are not integrated. Yoga is not mere acrobatics or gymnastics as is usually attributed. The common understanding is that Yoga is primarily concerned with the manipulation of the body into various twisted positions and producing queer sounds like standing on the head or roaring like a lion.
The physical postures are just a means of gaining control over the anatomy and physiology of one’s body to keep oneself healthy so that the Divine Consciousness is descended through a pure medium. The need of the hour is to ward off these misconceptions and reestablish Yoga on its rightful altar.
Yoga is neither magic nor the performance of any extraordinary or unusual mystical feat. Yoga is never ever a form of self-torture like lying on a bed of nails, burying oneself underground, chewing or swallowing pieces of glass, drinking acid, swallowing nails, or piercing oneself with pins and needles.
Yoga is not a ceremonial rite, religion, hedonism, palmistry, prophesying, astrology, thought-reading, or is it the dispensing of charms to ward off evil spirits or ghost possessions. Yoga is not auto-hypnotism or self-hypnosis or the ecstasy derived from the usage of psychotropic substances.
Yoga a not a cult though has the base of Indian philosophy owing to its origin in India With this strong base has highly evolved into a universal way of meaningful living that can be adopted and adapted by any race, nation, caste, or creed, or sect. To conclude Yoga is the Gift to Humanity that was conceived and developed by the learned sages with years and centuries of absolute dedication and focused penance.
Dr. Valsaladevi K. Senior Ayurveda Consultant, Lifestyle and Child Health Clinic at AVVVS Kozhikode and Sakalya Ayurveda Kozhikode Ayurveda Centre The Gateway Hotel PT Usha Road Kozhikode-673032 Chief Operating Officer, Salakya Ayurveda Management Services Managing Trustee, CARDIA Trust Courtesy:- http://www.ayushmart.in