What is Yoga?

The question `what is yoga' often arises in our minds and it leads to answers which reveal more about ourselves and our world than we can ever envisage. The word yoga means to unite and it has originated from the Sanskrit word `Yuj'. It denotes the union of the individual self and the universal spirit which created human beings and established their relationship with the cosmos. It is not only a means to attain the supreme truth of the world but also of achieving spirituality. Apart from teaching self development and self realization, yoga benefits stretch as far as purifying our thoughts and desires.

Yoga exercises and meditation not only give us inner calm and tranquility but also provide us with mental relaxation. The various yoga poses are designed to equip us for developing stress management and strengthening our minds and body. There has been a lot of yoga research carried out by various yogis and instructors to redesign the traditional postures suitable to the ever increasing and changing needs of the human race. The word yoga exudes serenity, balance and control of our senses. The practice of yoga is associated with performing pose (asana), although it is just one of the eight paths of yoga. The other paths of yoga are concerned with mental and spiritual activities.

Yoga means creating fitness of the mind, body and spirit by performing postures. Practicing yoga increases the physical and mental stamina and aligns the body perfectly. The approach to performing these poses may differ according to the culture of the instructor and the requirements of the learners but the poses essentially remain the same. While we practice yoga, our individual style evolves and our experience and relationship with the poses change with time. We can acclimatize ourselves to performing yoga poses according to our body types and flexibility but eventually we all will be performing the same postures and imbibing the essence of yoga into our lives.