What Is Yoga

What Is Yoga



Yoga can seem like a​ complicated concept - or,​ at​ the​ least,​ a​ dizzying array of​ physical manipulations that turn seemingly happy-looking human beings into happy looking human pretzels.

Even more disconcerting,​ a​ stereotype does exist in​ places where the​ term yoga is​ synonymous with cult,​ or​ some kind of​ archaic spiritual belief that compels one to​ quit their job,​ sell their house,​ and go live in​ the​ middle of​ nowhere.

In actual fact,​ Yoga is​ a​ very basic "thing". if​ you’ve had the​ opportunity to​ visit a​ country where it​ has been established for generations – India,​ Japan,​ China,​ and others – it’s really rather,​ well,​ "ordinary".

The practice of​ yoga came to​ the​ west back in​ 1893 when one of​ India’s celebrated gurus,​ Swami Vivekananda,​ was welcomed at​ the​ World Fair in​ Chicago. He is​ now known for having sparked the​ West’s interest in​ yoga.

Literally,​ the​ word yoga comes from the​ Sanskrit term Yug,​ which means: “to yoke,​ bind,​ join,​ or​ direct one’s attention”. at​ the​ same time,​ yoga can also imply concepts such as​ fusion,​ union,​ and discipline.

The sacred scriptures of​ Hinduism (an ancient belief system from India that has a​ global presence) also defines yoga as​ “unitive discipline”; the​ kind of​ discipline that,​ according to​ experts Georg Feuerstein and Stephan Bodian in​ their book Living Yoga,​ leads to​ inner and outer union,​ harmony and joy.

In essence,​ yoga is​ most commonly understood as​ conscious living; of​ tapping into one’s inner potential for happiness (what Sankrit refers to​ as​ ananda).

What Yoga Isn’t:

Sometimes it’s helpful to​ understand things by what they aren’t; especially when dealing with a​ topic,​ like Yoga,​ that is​ quite easily misunderstood.

Authors and yoga scholars Feuerstein and Bodian help us understand yoga by telling us what it​ is​ NOT:

Yoga is​ NOT calisthenics (marked by the​ headstand,​ the​ lotus posture or​ some pretzel-like pose). While it​ is​ true that yoga involves many postures – especially in​ hatha yoga – these are only intended to​ make people get in​ touch with their inner feelings.

Yoga is​ NOT a​ system of​ meditation – or​ a​ religion – the​ way many people are misled to​ believe. Meditation is​ only part of​ the​ whole process of​ bringing ourselves into the​ realm of​ the​ spiritual.

What is​ the​ essence of​ Yoga?

Virtually all yogic science and philosophy states that a​ human being is​ but a​ fragment of​ an​ enormous universe,​ and when this human being learns to​ “communion” with this vastness,​ then he/she attains union with something that is​ bigger than him/her.

This attachment or​ tapping into something bigger thus enables one to​ walk the​ true path of​ happiness. By flowing along with the​ force,​ the​ individual is​ able to​ discover truth.

And with truth comes realization; but to​ attain realization,​ our words,​ thoughts and deeds must be based on​ truth. People attend courses on​ yoga and go to​ studios to​ learn new techniques in​ yoga,​ but yoga teacher Tim Miller said that “True yoga begins when leave the​ studio; it’s all about being awake and being mindful of​ your actions".




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