The word Yoga is originated from a Sanskrit root, Yuj, meaning unity or yoke. The purpose of Yoga is to unite ourselves with our highest nature, which means peace, plenty, prosperity, development & progress. This re-integration is accomplished through the practices of various yoga disciplines. Until this re-integration takes place, we identify ourselves with our limitations -- the limitations of the body, mind, and senses. Thus, we feel incomplete and limited and are subject to feelings of unhappiness, sorrow, insecurity, fear and separation since we have separated ourselves from the experience of the whole. When the restlessness of the mind, intellect & self is establised through the practice of Yoga, the Yogi by the grace of Spirit within himself finds fulfilment. There is nothing higher than this. The ultimate aim of this philosophy is to strike a balance between mind and body and attain self-enlightenment. To achieve this, Yoga uses movement, breath, posture, relaxation and meditation to establish a healthy, lively and balanced approach to life.
Maharishi Patanjali explains in his first Sutra, "Atha Yoganusasanam" that Yoga is a discipline. Various Yoga disciplines are -- Personal discipline (Yama), Social discipline (Niyama), Physical discipline (Asana), Pranic discipline (Pranayama), Senses discipline (Pratyahara), Mental discipline (Dharana), Intellect discipline (Dhyana)& Full-self discipline (Samadhi). Those who understand the importance of this discipline should prepare themselves to learn, study, and practice Yoga with mind, action and speech. Maharishi Patanjali's first lesson is that you have to discipline yourself & must keep the balance in every field of your life. For that, follow these seven commandants in everyday’s life.
Nothing is impossible
Harmony is called Yoga - "Samatvam Yoga Uchyate"- says the Bhagavadgita. It means that in every situation keeping your balance is very important. There are three As in it- Adjust, Accommodate & Adapt. Yoga does not mean remaining hungry or eating too much or remaining wide-awake for nights together or to sleep long hours or to remain completely silent continuously or go on speaking without respite. Such imbalances cannot be termed Yoga. Do everything in moderation. Gurudev Swami Shri Sivananda used to say," In all conditions, I am blissful, I am blissful, I am blissful, absolute".
In Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna has given a very beautiful and exact definition of Yoga, "Yogah Karmasu Kaushalam". It means that Yoga is skill & efficiency in action. Work alone is your privilege, never let the fruits of action be your motive. Be not affected by success or failure. Lord Krishna says that performing all your Karmas with skill & efficiency is Yog. Whatever work you do, do it whole-heartedly & well organized. A lady, who is a good cook can become a good Yogini because her mind is alert in her job. If you are talking, talk, if you are walking walk, if you are eating eat and even if you are getting angry then get angry whole-heartedly. It means that if you are exclusively focussed towards a job & your mind is alert and stays alongwith the body, the condition is termed Yoga.
Maharsi Patanjali also defines Yoga as "Yogah Chitta Vrihti Nirodhah". It means steady control of the restless mind. Mind, by its very nature, is outgoing and unsteady.
Thoughts come & go from the Mind. The four inner organic faculties or functions of mind are Manas, Buddi, Chitta and Ahamkara. (a) Mind is having the power & faculty of attention, selection & rejection. (b) Mind reasons, that is intellect - Buddi. (c) Memory or Chitta accumulates the reasoning. It is the faculty of consciousness, in which all actions of the present, memories of the past and visions of the future take place. Mind keeps reasoning on irrelevant things. Ego or Ahamkara, is the "I"syndrome, the state which ascertains that 'I am know all'. It is rigidity.
We require a calm, serene, one-pointed mind, free from negative emotions and the distractions created by cravings, obsessions, and desires. To reach the subtler levels of consciousness and awareness, we need willpower, clarity of mind and the ability to consciously direct the mind towards our goal. Removing the fickleness or taking out the bad thoughts of the mind is Yog. “Yoga is the control of the Vrittis (modifications of the mind field,)” It means the control of all four faculties of the psyche.
Gita tells us, "Yuktahara Viharascha" That means maintaining balance in life style. We require correct eating & living habits. We need good health, a calm mind, sincerity and a burning desire to rise above our human imperfections. Our health is maintained by a simple and well- regulated diet, adequate sleep, some physical exercise and relaxation. Imbalance or excesses in food, exercise, sleep or our personal relationships produce physical and emotional disruptions.
If one desires to satisfactorily carry out any job, it is essential to have a healthy body & mind. He who is temperate in his habits of eating, sleeping, working and recreation can mitigate all material pains by practicing the Yoga system. Hatha yoga can bestow health. Raja Yoga leads to highest state in the absolute.
Yoga is a way of life. It is the science of consciousness, creativity & personality development. It is the science of the self, of the body & of the mind. Actually, its meaning, definition & explanation may differ from person to person in view of varied nature of an individual's feelings & experiences. But one thing is perfectly clear that Yoga is always concerned with three integrated components of body, mind & consciousness.
Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna