heart of yoga
What is Yoga?
What once was a totally foreign concept from somewhere “over there” is now offered as a lunchtime class for employees of forward-thinking corporations.
But what is yoga? Let’s take a look at the word itself to get some clues. Then, we’ll backtrack into the past to see where yoga came from, and how it got from there to here – where you are.
Every philosophy, every religion, and every therapy addresses the human need to feel whole. That’s because when you feel whole, you feel happy, with everything finding its place – and its peace. This is where yoga comes in, harmonizing body, mind, and spirit.
A life that incorporates a practice of yoga is a healthy, happy, whole life, as modern as it is ancient. Even better, you don’t have to believe anything in particular, or even give up your own beliefs to practice it, because yoga is just between you and yourself.
Yoga means literally to yoke, to unite, to be whole. It comes from the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit. The Sanskrit word yug is the great- grandfather, so to speak, of the English word yoke.
Yoga “yokes” all the separate parts of you into an integrated whole. This is why many people say that yoga makes them feel peaceful: you feel at peace when you are not conflicted, when your mind is not tugged in ten different directions, and when your body is relaxed. You may experience what dedicated yoga practitioners confirm; that a peaceful calm seems to emanate from them and transform their relationships with others. People will say, “You seem different somehow. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it’s there.” What they are sensing is your inner peace.
How did Yoga develop?
Thousands of years ago, highly evolved humans created the system of yoga. Through their own personal experience of yoga, this ancient science developed and eventually was passed on from master to student, from generation to generation.
The ancient science of yoga developed in more than one wise old civilization, but under different names, of course. Archaeological discoveries have confirmed forms of yoga in ancient Chinese and Mayan cultures, as well as in India and Tibet.