Meaning of yoga practice and the word yoga.

Last week I had to go to the immigration office to renew my visa. I’m currently stuck  in the Philippines due to the quarantine situation that has taken place over all the world.

Anyway, I booked a Grab car to get there (that’s the Uber taxi in the Philippines). The driver was super nice and I guess he was locked by himself during this quarantine because he really wanted to have a conversation. Usually the drivers here don’t want to talk that much because of the language barrier or because they are very shy and want to mind their own business.

So this guy Eduardo, the driver, talks about what he did with his time in quarantine and asked me what I do to make money here. I told him I’m teaching yoga online. He then asked “What exactly is yoga?” Based on his current knowledge, he believes yoga is a religion. Then I explained to him what yoga means to me and what I was taught at school through my books and teachers.

The yoga that we know today was developed as part of a tantric civilization which existed in India and in all parts of the world more than 10,000 years ago. In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, yoga is identified as discipline, art, science and philosophy. It touches the life of a man at every level, physically, mentally and spiritually.

Yoga is a practical method for making one’s life purposeful, useful and noble. It is in fact, not a religion but more a state of mind and purpose. Yoga does not promise anything to anyone, it is up to you to do it or not. Anyone can practice yoga, even if you’re a Christian, Muslim, Orthodox or Buddhist. Yoga has no heaven or hell, so you won’t be punished if you’re not doing it every day.

Yoga enables every part of the human system to become attuned to its essence; the conscious seer within. Yoga allows you to experience and perceive the world within and around you touching the divine joy of all creation and to have your own God, whatever/whomever he is.

As honey is sweet from any part of the honeycomb, so is yoga.

Yoga is your friend, always there to support you, to lift you from the clutches of pain and sorrow, to live fully, to become active and vibrant. It transforms the mind, making it harmonious. Yoga helps keep the body and mind in tune with the essence and the soul, so that all three are blended into one.

Yoga can be your daily routine to ensure good health and happiness. Yogic exercises have both a preventive and curative value.

The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root “yuj” meaning to bind, join, attach, union or communion. A poise of the soul which enables one to look at life in all aspects evenly.

All interpretations differ, so I leave it to you to understand the meaning of yoga.

“Yoga is not an ancient myth buried in oblivion. It is the most valuable inheritance of the present. It is the essential need of today and the culture of tomorrow.”

                                                          –Swami Satyananda Saraswati