Yoga, who are You?
Publicerad 28 january, 2021
“The spiritual subject of YOGA is a massive tree with many branches and deep and ancient roots in the soil of India. I see it as roots that grow in the undergrowth of the world connecting all Spiritual Traditions across the globe, sprouting out of the earth in the form of Teachings with their own distinguishing expression in South America, North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, the North and the South, the East and the West. All One.”
The above image is my own painting 'the Tree of Light' and the inverted tree photo is by my beloved.
This article is part of a series of expressions through the written word into the Yoga World. On this blog you will find all related articles in this series as the Category: Yoga.
I will begin with “Who is Yoga?” and travel onwards from there down and up, circling and criss-crossing on a path of prose, poetry, passion and pictures to entertain, educate and enthuse you along the way.
Here are my defintions.
Yoga - the state of -
…is the union with God, the Self-Realised, the Fully Enlightened state(s) of Being.
Yoga is the Indian / Sanskrit name for the Spiritual Divine Union with God and could be used to describe the same states in all spiritual practice, under other names, that expresses the ultimate perfection, the Divine, the Awakening, the Union of the individual self with Higher Consciousness /Creator/God/Universal Spirit/Divine Mother/Divine Father/Higher Self.
Yoga - the path of spiritual practice -
…is the path to Yoga, to God, with ancient origins in the spiritual traditions and teachings of great Sages, Masters, Divine Teachers who walked the Earth and shared their wisdom in what we know as the sub-continent of India. Those Spiritual Traditions and Teachings also have an intimate connection with what is today the Religions of India, especially Hinduism.
There are many types of Yoga Spiritual Practice.
Karma Yoga (Voluntary Service - often to the Guru),
Bhakti Yoga (Devotional Yoga through ritual, song, disciple-ship to God and Guru),
Jnana Yoga (Intellectual / Spiritual Study and meditation),
Raja Yoga (Mastering Energy for Meditation and Breath Practice)
...to name a few main types of Yoga Practice and philosophies.
Each type has many sub-divisions, sub-cultures with different methods, masters, philosophies and styles of Yoga practice. Many schools of Yoga today may have aspects of all or many of the main types of Yoga mentioned above or be specialised to one narrower path of practice. The defintions above are in no way complete and yet shows the great diversity of Practice in Yoga. There is something for everyone in this vast menu of Spiritual Yoga Practice offering.
image from a temple in Sri Lanka
Other definitions of Yoga:
Yoga, the word itself, translates to: union, connection, one-ness, to bring together, to yoke, to unite.
Yoga is the direct experience of effortless being. (unknown source)
Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind. (Patanjali - Yoga Sutras)
In the below somewhat limited dictionary definition you see the dualistic approach to Yoga. I will leave the subject of dualistic and non-dualistic philosophy for another day.
yo·âga | ËyÅ-gÉ
Definition of yoga
capitalized : a Hindu theistic philosophy teaching the suppression of all activity of body, mind, and will in order that the self may realize its distinction from them and attain liberation
: a system of physical postures, breathing techniques, and sometimes meditation derived from Yoga but often practiced independently especially in Western cultures to promote physical and emotional well-being
When I teach the subject of Yoga in my teacher trainings or practitioner courses one of the things we address are these delicious definitions of what or who Yoga is. We aim to put our own practice into the context of what Yoga is and the history and evolution of the practices of Yoga, from where it was to what it is now. Then we leave it in order to go deeper into the practice itself.
With love, Mithila