what is yoga after all?

an aim at defining yoga in a digital drenched modern society

Yoga enjoys great popularity in the current times. As modern society has blurred with the digital sphere, yoga has been yet another subject endlessly explored on social media, especially since, more often than not, it’s appealing to the eye.

In our society, it is often seen as a practice of physical exercise. However, independent of any religion, yoga is a philosophical path of the Indian culture. It’s important to try and define in today’s socially obsessed world the true intention of ancient yoga.

The word yoga derives from the Sanskrit word yuj, which means to unite, to bind, to concentrate attention on, to use and to apply. It also means union, communion or unity.

According to the Indian philosophy, everything is permeated by Paramātmā, the Universal Supreme Spirit, of which Jīvātmā, the Human Spirit, is a part. Spiritually, yoga provides the means of uniting Jīvātmā to Paramātmā, which allows Morsa, liberation.

In a more pragmatical interpretation, we can understand yoga as a means to harmonize body, mind and soul.

Credit chuck herrera

The origins of yoga are ancient and because of that, the understanding of yoga can sometimes be unclear. Some evidence dates back to around 2700 BC, before the Vedic period, in the Indus Valley Civilization. One of the earliest written allusions to yoga can be found in the Vedas, the sacred texts of the Vedic religion, from which Hinduism later rose.

As time went by, the different Civilizations in the region went on influencing each other. The yogic tradition survived. It was flexible enough to further assimilate practices and knowledge from a variety of philosophical and religious texts, such as the Upanishads and others relative to Buddhism, Jainism and even Sufism.

In essence, yoga is a path that allows us to fully be in the here and now.

During a practice, each asana allows us to focus attention on ourselves. We are the totality in that very moment as we find space within us. Turning the attention entirely to one’s self at a precise moment allows focussing on that space-time point of the universe. Through this, yoga allows the union of the body with the mind and with the spirit.

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