Definition: The Sanskrit noun ‘yoga’ is derived from the root ‘yuj’; to attach, join, harness, yoke.
Yoga can be translated as union of the individual with the Cosmic. The seed of oneness is in our hearts, yoga helps it grow and connect with the Source. The waves represent the fluctuations of the mind-field, which we learn to quiet as we establish ourselves in the stillness of pure presence.
“Yoga is the cultivation of a subtle internal state, and the truth is that you can’t tell whether anyone is doing yoga by looking at them. The real yoga is an internal process.”
— C. Hareesh Wallis
1.2 yoga cittavritti nirodah
Yoga is the control of the modifications of the mind-field. — Patanjali
Traditional yogic paths were created by those who sought the Truth. Not the transient truths of society and tradition, but of an Ultimate Reality beyond the comprehension of the finite mind. Through direct perception we come to realize the teachings of yoga. As the sage Vyasa said “Yoga must be known through yoga, and Yoga itself leads to Yoga.”
True yoga is not something that you bring into your life; it is your life that you bring into your yoga. The barometer of our practice happens both on and off the mat. The gentle caress of a child, the play of light on a leaf, the surrender of savasana, the forgiveness of a trespassing, the willingness to get-up after you’ve fallen many times….all this is part of your yoga.
If you think of yoga as a very long journey, each of the yogic paths (jnana, hatha, raja, bhakti, karma yoga etc.) are like different lanes on a highway. Different lanes reflect archetypes of the spiritual journey for seekers of various temperaments, and most of us will switch between lanes over the course of the journey. Sometimes our practice will be more focused on concentration, other times on devotion, at others on the breath and physical practices, and at others in philosophical study or service to others. Ultimately, your path is uniquely your own when the journey leads you home.
Yoga is an inner practice that mirrors outwardly. Just as the tree draws nourishment from its roots hidden in the soil, your inner work will bear fruits of wisdom and flowerings of enlightenment. While the journey may be long and difficult, it promises freedom to those who walk it with sincerity, faith and devotion.
Remember the mystical proclamation of the ancient masters: “I Am That”.