WHAT IS YOGA?
In this world we live in today, we tend to oversimplify a lot of complex concepts. Very profound philosophies, systems and methods, that used to be known only to the initiated and learned members of certain groups and societies, are now widely spread and available to anyone.
On one hand, this creates a lot of opportunities for spiritually inclined people to get a notion and interest in certain techniques, and then to pursue them deeper. On the other hand, however, oversimplifying concepts such as Yoga, meditation etc. may, and often does, lead to misconceptions about what these techniques really mean.
Nowadays, “Yoga” is most commonly associated with physical exercises. That is why so many new styles in Yoga crop up, designed to cater to the restless mind of a modern man who always craves variations, something different, something new. Few of these styles have anything to do with Yoga and although there is absolutely nothing wrong with the techniques and systems themselves, it is wrong to use a name of an ancient art designed to work on all the levels, physical, mental and spiritual, when we simply do some acrobatics with a hula hoop…
I do not want to make fun or judge different styles of Yoga. I tried many and enjoyed some greatly. But what came to me with years of practice and studying, is a deep conviction of Yoga being a complete and holistic art that goes far beyond anything that we experience in our day-to-day lives.
WHAT I BELIEVE YOGA REALLY IS
In definition, Yoga is agreed to mean ‘unity’ (from Sanskrit ‘yuj’ → to unite, merge, yoke). We ask: A unity of what with what?… The answer we most often get is: Yoga is the unity of body-mind-spirit. That’s all very nice, and true indeed, but while having a pretty good notion of what body is, we have very vague (if at all) experience of the mind and, most often, absolutely no understanding of the spirit.
Feeling stuck in this description of the unknown with more unknown, I gave it a lot of reflection. And from there came my own, simple and comprehensive (I hope) definition of Yoga, as unity of the known with the unknown. We start of at the point that we understand, and from there proceed to explore and integrate into our being all that is yet veiled and unknown to us, all that we cannot as yet comprehend about the world or our deep, vast Selves. We call this unknown ‘mind and spirit’, but I find it useful to give no name to the phenomena that are not understood (and I mean really understood, not just logically analysed with my reason but also felt deep within my intuitive powers), other than just ‘unknown’.
On another level, the aim of Yoga is two-fold: to unite all the scattered inner parts of your being, through experiencing, understanding and acceptance, as well to unite you with the world, the creation and all other beings dwelling in this realm we live in.
This is my simple understanding of Yoga but there are many more levels and each of them can be divided into more and more subtle layers. Some of these I discuss in my blog. Some others I may never reach or realize. If you have your own experience or understanding, please share it with us here!
I’m so happy to be on this journey with You.
Blessings from the depth of my heart.