What Is Yoga?
“Yoga” is a Sanskrit word signifying the practical side of religion. The goal of Yoga is to teach obedience to the laws of our moral and physical nature, leading to the attainment of perfect health, moral and spiritual perfection.
In the Sacred Book of India, the Bhagavad Gita, each chapter is devoted to some form of “Yoga,” or method of realizing the Ultimate Truth and attaining the highest wisdom.
What Is A Yogi?
A “Yogi” is a person who reaches the highest ideal of religion through various practices. The great goal, according to the Bhagavad Gita, is to unite the individual soul with the Universal Spirit.
What Does Yoga Mean?
Hindu writers have many meanings for “Yoga”, including:
- The union of two external objects
- The mixing of one thing with another
- The preservation of what one possesses
- The transformation of one thing into another
- The flowing of a thought current towards an object
- That power of sound which makes it convey a specific idea
- The union of one soul with another or with the universal Spirit
- The connection of the causes which produce a common effect
- The reasoning that is necessary for the discovery of a certain truth
- The restraint of all thought action through concentration and meditation
Many different branches of art, science, psychology, philosophy, and religion are described by the word Yoga, but if you consider the literal meaning of the word, a method of realizing the Ultimate Truth and attaining the highest wisdom, you can understand its varied usage.
In Short, Yoga Is…
- the mental training necessary for the attainment of self-control
- the union of the individual soul with God
- divine communion & spiritual perfection
The effort required for Yoga is both mental and physical.
Volumes have been written in India describing the different branches and methods of “Yoga,” and the various goals that can be reached through its practice. If the goal is to acquire perfect health and longevity, then the effort of both the mind and body in unison to accomplish this through certain techniques is “Yoga.”
Patience and perseverance are absolutely necessary for anyone who desires to practice Yoga, but Yoga, when carried out with understanding and a positive spirit, are sure to bring you wonderful results.
Source: How To Be A Yogi, written by Swâmi Abhedânanda, 1902
Image: Bär Baer