Yoga has as its root, two main meanings:
“Yujir yogeh” – which means to yolk, to connect, to reconnect, to find oneness as opposed to fragmentation of mind and body, is Yoga.
“Yogao samadhao” – yoga is samadhi – that is when the mind is unpossessed by its own content and the illuminative, creative, sattvik energy shines forth. Then we are present to what is, and not what should be or should have been.
Yoga is that discipline whereby one makes the choice to remain in the present, whereby one makes the choice from moment to moment to step out of one’s contradictions and confusions, whereby one chooses to change what one can change and let all else be. It is the balance between action and relaxation.
Yoga is not a system of thought…
…which is to say no one is required to adhere to a way of thinking. One can experiment, experience and go on discovering for oneself. In fact, yoga is freeing oneself from all thinking that is a conditioned response, so that thinking then becomes a useful tool, but not a helpless state of being, which we call “worrying”. And to that extent, the efficiency of thought in solving a problem itself is questioned, since anything is a problem, only when we make a problem out of it. And all of this is experiential. Yoga seeks to awaken the inner intelligence that lies hidden like embers. When we reconnect with the breath, that inner fire is lit, and the inner eyes are opened. This brings to light the fact of the inner suffering that a human experiences, which is common to all of humanity, and that same intelligence (which cannot be appropriated by any individual) also liberates one from the suffering.
The exact origin of yoga is difficult to know. References to yoga have been consistently made in the ancient scriptures of India which are called Shastras. Different teachers have used their own words to share and teach their experience of yoga:
“Yogastha kuru karmani sangam tyaktva dhananjaya
Siddhi-assidhyo‘ samo bhutvah samattvam yoga ucyate”
“Perform your action with total involvement and devotion (being established in yoga) without projecting your thought into the outcome. Such equanimity in mind and spirit is yoga.”
“Yogascittavrtti nirodhah. Tada drashtuh svarupe avasthanam.”
“Yoga is a discipline whereby mental modifications and movements in the content of the mind come to a state of stillness. Then the mind can watch, learn, observe. The see-er now being free from this constant movement, can realise reality.”
“As a well-cut diamond has many facets, each facet reflecting a different colour of light, so does the word yoga, each facet reflecting a different shade of meaning, and revealing different aspects of the entire range of human endeavor to win inner peace and happiness.”
Yoga is the end of sorrow
“Only a mind that is free from its own confines of fear, which is self-enclosing, the root of which is the movement of thought can realise the meaning of love. Only such a mind, free from the past, free from sorrow can know the meaning of love.”
“Yoga is like a honeycomb made up of countless cells that give sweetness. For thousands of years it has offerened many things to many people. You could be one among the crowd with a 9 to 5 job, or a stressed out homemaker looking for peace of mind. Or an ambitious executive or athlete trying to push the envelope. Or a spiritual seeker in search of self-realisation. Whatever your goal, be it physical or mental well being, inner balance or communion with the Divine- you will not be disappointed if you approach yoga with an open mind and the right attitude.”
Experiment and Experience on the Chair The Yoga Way