What is Yoga?
“Yoga should be known through yoga, as yoga itself is a teacher.” ~ Sage Vyasa
Before we understand what Yoga is, let’s clarify what Yoga is not. Yoga is not a philosophy; it is not something one can think about. Yoga is not a religion; it is not Hindu, it is not Mohammedan. Yoga is not a scripture; it is not a Shastra. Yoga is a pure science; just as physics or chemistry. Yoga is not Christian or Buddhist, yoga does not belong to any religion or philosophy.
Yoga is a science of the Inner Being.
What is the aim of Yoga?
Yoga gives us a road map for achieving perfect harmony between body and mind,individual and universal consciousness. The word “Yoga” comes from the Sanskrit root “Yuj,” which means “to join” or “to yoke” or “to unite.” The practice of Yoga leads to the union of our body, mind, and soul for healthy and holistic living. The continued practice of Yoga will lead to a sense of Peace, Integrity, Well-being and Oneness.
The aim of Yoga is Self-Actualization and Self-Realization
How do we obtain Self-Actualization through Yoga?
As Rishi Patanjali says, “Yoga Chitta Vriti Nirodhah,” which translates to “Yoga is the silencing of the modification of the mind.” Only by silencing the mind can we transcend the mind. With this transcendence, we begin our inner journey towards our True Self.
Yoga is an inner journey towards our True Self.
Although the main practice of yoga revolves around the mind, the first step towards yoga begins with the body known as asana practice. Hence, it is necessary to start yoga practice by bringing more attention and awareness to the body. Only when the body is in a balanced state or condition can we proceed further on the path of yoga or inner journey.
How do we start the journey into the Eight Fold Path of Yoga?
Ashtanga yoga – as described by Rishi Patanjali – depicts the entire map of our inner journey on the eight fold path of Yoga. Eight fold path of yoga depicts the inner journey in a step-by-step methodology.
No doubt, there are numerous ways and platforms to experience yoga. But a yoga teacher training course is the most profound way to experience those eight limbs or steps of yoga. This experience also helps in receiving the skill to teach it to others.
But to really grasp the experiential, transformational and holistic aspects of yoga through a yoga teacher training course, one needs to practice meditation—the state of no-mind. This is because the path of yoga is not of thinking, pondering, reasoning or analyzing. We cannot reduce the ultimate Truth of life into knowledge in the way that we normally do in standard educational systems.