It comes from the Sanskrit verb Yuj meaning ‘to unite’, ‘to join’, this is the classic explanation for a series of techniques and methods aiming to unite the individual self to the universal self.
Stop now, don’t fill your head with hypothesis on the meaning, there is much more to say on this and many ways to deepen these introductive words… in addition somebody could question that once this union is reached the whole point of yoga will be to move forward to something else… yes man, there are a lot of philosophical concepts behind the science of yoga… nowadays in this society we like to know everything and more, we have access to a global intelligence telling us all the answers (google it!!)… starting a yogic path filling own’s mind with these concepts is very western, it’s like reading a book starting from the end… maybe you don’t like the end (possibly because it was apparently so abstract that you couldn’t grasp it) and abandon the book… and that would be really a shame!
Traditionally yoga was taught step by step, when the student (well, at those times he was called disciple and his teacher was the guru!!) was firm in his actual step, then he was ready to get new information for his next step… information was blended with practice -> information+practice=knowledge!
This is a very important point… yoga isn’t a theoretical path but it’s 99% practical/experiential. For sure you will read about the benefits coming from a posture or type of breathing… it will be real yoga when you’ll practice that posture or breathing and experience the benefits coming from it!
Now let’s try to figure out what could be yoga in year 2013, Europe!
You already understand that you have a body (powered by a physical energy), probably you understand that you have a mind (powered by a mental energy, of course!) and probably you noticed that sometimes you feel centered and sometimes far from them… i mean a lot of people is constantly moving in space at a minimum of their physical possibilities (little example, stand and then bend forward with straight legs and knees and see if you can touch the floor with your hands!), with recurrent or chronic pains (back and neck/shoulders are the most typical), a lot of people is even proud to say “my mind is a mess” and go on in their daily lives with a constant mental chattering without even the idea that they can stop that internal voice! Somebody is anxious, somebody is depressed, somebody is both together, others are frightened and there is people always angry and ready to fight… should i go on? got the concept? yes, there are extreme situations but most of us can find themselves in these words, at least sometimes!
Yoga means union, through yoga you will (easily!!!) reach the union between you and your body, between you and your mind, you will feel more comfortable in all your movements, you will drop on your path all the chronic pains that you have now (can you imagine this?), your mind will be under your control, letting you to decide how to react to external events (you’ll forget the 5 minutes explosions!!!), you will be more able to concentrate (on your job, study, hobby, …), you will sleep better and wake up more rested, your digestion will improve, your energy levels will improve and so on…
…and the best of the best is that all these changes don’t happen to 1 over 1.000.000 people, they happen to everybody practicing yoga… this is why we define yoga a science… everybody practicing this method gets the same results, this is fully verifiable by yourself in your daily life, try, experiment, get it!
If you are more scientifically oriented (i am!!) i tell you the secret of all these changes… through yoga you deeply work on your nervous system, i could even say that yoga is all about the nervous system… we’ll talk more on this in some next post!
For the moment understand this concept: through yoga you will get the union between your body, your mind and your self, you will feel better, your mind will be friendly to you and most important…
these are only informations… -> information+practice=knowledge -> knowledge is direct experience of information, yoga is not about the theory but it’s a practice!