What does Yoga Mean?

“Yoga” is a term that originates from ancient India and has a rich philosophical and spiritual background. While it’s often associated with physical postures and exercises, yoga encompasses much more than that. At its core, yoga is about achieving a sense of harmony and balance within oneself and with the world around us.

The word “yoga” itself means “union” or “connection.” It refers to the idea of uniting or connecting different aspects of ourselves, such as the body, mind, and spirit, in order to achieve a state of overall well-being and inner peace. This union isn’t just about physical aspects but also involves mental, emotional, and even spiritual elements.

There are several paths or approaches to yoga, each focusing on different aspects of this union:

  1. Hatha Yoga: This is the most well-known aspect of yoga in the Western world. It emphasizes physical postures (asanas) and breathing exercises (pranayama) to promote physical health and flexibility. It also has benefits for mental calmness and stress reduction.
  2. Raja Yoga: Also known as the “royal path,” this form focuses on meditation and mental control. It aims to still the mind and achieve self-mastery through concentration and meditation.
  3. Karma Yoga: This path is centered around selfless action and service. Practitioners of karma yoga aim to perform their duties and responsibilities without attachment to the outcomes, thus cultivating a sense of detachment and inner peace.
  4. Bhakti Yoga: Bhakti yoga is the path of devotion and love. It involves channeling emotions and feelings into a deep devotion towards a higher power, which can lead to unity and connectedness.
  5. Jnana Yoga: This path emphasizes wisdom and knowledge. Practitioners of jnana yoga seek to understand the nature of reality and the self through intellectual pursuits, self-inquiry, and philosophical contemplation.
  6. Tantra Yoga: Tantra yoga incorporates various techniques, including rituals, mantras, and energy practices, to achieve spiritual awakening. It’s often misunderstood due to its association with sexual practices, but its main focus is on harnessing and transcending energies.

So, when someone says “Yoga is Union,” they are referring to the overarching philosophy that yoga helps us unite or connect various aspects of ourselves and our existence. This union leads to a state of balance, harmony, and inner peace. Whether through physical postures, meditation, selfless service, devotion, wisdom, or energy practices, the goal of yoga is to bring all these aspects together, leading to a holistic and fulfilled life.


Carolynn Binnie

I joined the wellbeing industry in 1994 and I've spent my lifetime helping people move from negative stress to a more fufiling and happy mindset.

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