Translated from the Sanskrit, yoga literally means union. While there are many versions of what union really means, my personal favorite is by an early twentieth century yogi, Sri Krishna Prem. He tells us that “Yoga is the reuniting of our own individual soul with its eternal essence – universal spirit.”
Where does yoga come from? Although historically it originated over 5000 years ago, the living yoga is reborn fresh in the body, mind and heart of the practitioner. In other words the soul of yoga is always present, here and now. While its cultural roots are in ancient India, its universal origin is the burning desire in the center of each human heart – the yearing to be happy and free of suffering. It is a way of life that combines practice, philosophy and psychology to address the physical, mental and spiritual needs of an aspirant.
Using the psycho-spiritual instruments of yoga such as asana, and pranayama, the original yogis were able to access meditative states that brought them to a new level of awareness, a oneness beyond the usual thinking processes of ordinary mind. These various practices are able to develop strength, sensitivity, awareness and flexibility –to only in the physical body, but also in the energy, heart, mind and consciousness of a sincere practitioner.
Yoga, in essence, is a culture of the soul. Developed over countless generations and carried through various lineages of teacher/practitioners up to the present day, it still radiated the energy of transformation and the wisdom of compassionate awareness.
Yoga, in essence, is a culture of the soul. Developed over countless generations and carried through various lineages of teacher/practitioners up to the present day, it still radiates the energy of transformation and the wisdom of compassionate awareness.
According to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, the classical text on yoga, the purpose of yoga is to lead to a silence of the mind (1.2). This silence is the prerquisite for the mind to be able to accurately reflect objective reality without its own subjective distortion. Yoga does not create this reality, which is above the mind, but only prepares the mind to apprehend it, by assisting in the transformation of the mind – from an ordinary mind full of noise, like a whole army of frenzied and drunken monkeys – to a still mind.