The word “Yoga” has many meanings, because it is many. Confusing! yes it can be, so I will attempt to explain what I have understood so far.
A simple and most common explanation is as “Union”. It is derived from Sanskrit word which means to yoke, or to harness. Many yoga practitioners and supporters even term it as union of body, mind and spirit.
I feel this explanation, while true, seems incomplete and could even be misleading. It may be that for the people who are or want to be spiritual, and feel good about this definition of Yoga. This is fine as we can’t have one solution for every one and every thing.
In fact, Yoga is an ancient philosophy, practiced in the region – now part of India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. In those days this society enjoyed peace and prosperity. There is also evidence of many advances in the fields of Mathematics, Astrology, Physics, and other branches of science during this period. Particularly in philosophy, and there were many atheist and nature worshipers in this period.
From various literature, and practices in this region, it seems “harmonious integration” would be a better expression for the true meaning of Yoga. Also yoga of body, mind and senses could better deliver true essence of this philosophy and practices.
Practice of Yoga in any form, improves body, relaxes mind and improves control of senses. You have to choose the best and most suitable way to improve body, mind and senses for you. Keep in mind, maintaining harmony of all these systems is very important.
Body, mind and senses are all interlinked, there union already exists. We need to make them work in harmony, for overall health and wellbeing. I think, that is why “Harmonious Integration” would be a better term to explain the meaning of Yoga.
Harmonious Integration of Internal Universe(Body, Mind & Senses) to external Universe around us ( People, Earth, Animals, Plants, Elements, & Cosmos).
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