What is YOGA?

Updated: Feb 8, 2020

Derived from the Sanskrit Yuj (means to yoke or bind), yoga is often interpreted as “union”, union of the individual soul with the Universal Soul, with the humanity, with nature and with the true self.

Yoga is much more than the beautiful yet sometimes impossible asana poses from Instagram. Yoga is for everyone, and with more than 5000 years of history behind it, it is so much more than a physical practice. Yoga is about the mind, about consciousness, and consciousness is this place of peace and quiet where yoga resides.

A classic definition of Yoga has been given by Patanjali in The Yoga Sutras ( written in Sanskrit, the oldest language in India) “Yogas citta vritti nirodhah” which means “Yoga is stilling the fluctuations of the mind.” Cultivating detachment, we will stop identifying with our thoughts, feelings and sensations, turning away from the material towards the spiritual.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are a collection of 196 sutras (statements/scriptures) on the theory and practice of Yoga, written in Sanskrit. And dating from approximately 2000 years ago.

While most of us associate yoga with the physical movement (Asana), The Yoga Sutras outline eight limbs/branches of yoga: the Yamas (Restraints), Niyamas (Observances), Asana (Physical posture), Pranayama (Breath control), Pratyahara (Sense withdrawal), Dharana (Concentration), Dhyana (Meditation), Samadhi (Enlightenment).

Out of these 8 limbs, in most Yoga classes the focus is on Asana (Physical posture), and Pranayama (Breath control), so stay tuned as next week I will be writing in detail about these 2 limbs of Yoga.

In the meantime...

... Breathe In, Breathe Out.


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