What is yoga?
The word “yoga” derives from the Sanscrit root “yudzh”, which means “to connect”, “to compound”, “to affix”, “to hitch” – i.e. orientation and concentration of mind to practice. This root also means “union”, “fellowship” – i.e. the real link between our will and this of the Creator; interconnection of all the powers in our body, the mind and the soul with the Creator; discipline of mind, emotions, and will. Another meaning is equilibration of soul, which gives an opportunity to the person to look calm on life in all its aspects.
Yoga is one of the six orthodoxal systems in the Indian philosophy. It is systemized by Pantanjali in his classical work “Yoga sutras”, which consists of 185 short aphorisms. Indian thinking is sodden by the Supreme Universal Spirit (Paramathma, the Creator), of whom the individual soul (Dzhivatma) is just a part. The system is called yoga, because it gives the resources, by which Dzhivatma can connect or compound with Paramathma and thus to accomplish Moksha – freedom.
A person that follows the path og yoga is called yogi.
In “Bhagavad gita” Shri Krishna explains to Arjuna the meaning of yoga as liberation of sorrow and pain. There is said: “When his mind and ego (Ahamkara) are controlled, and free of restless thoughts to the point of rest, the person becomes Mukta – combination with the Creator.” “The lamp does not tingle where is no wind”, the same is with an yogi who controls his mind and ego, even immersed in depths. When the restless ming and ego are overcome by practicing yoga, the yogi – by the grace of the Spirit inside of him – achieves fulfillment. Then he is familiar with the eternal delight, which is out of the sensory receptions and which cannot be reached by understanding. He is permanently abiding into this reality, he has found the most empyreal treasure. There is nothing ore empyreal than this. And the one who has achieved this cannot be affected even by the greatest sorrow. This is the real meaning of yoga – deliverance of the contact with pain and sorrow.
“Bhagavat gita” gives an explonation that takes notice to karma yoga – yoga of the action. There is said: “Work is your one and only privilege, but not the result of it. Never let the results to be your grounds, and never ever stop working. Work in the name of the Creator, and leave your egoistic wishes in the background. Do not be affected by success or failure. That kind of full balance is called yoga.”
Yoga is also characterized as wisdom actions, full of activities successful life, harmony and continence. “Yoga is not for the one who sleeps a lot, nor for the one that stays awake. Via continence in nourishment and rest, regular labor and coordination between sleep and watch yoga eliminates all the pain and sorrow.”
“Katha Upanishad” describes yoga in this way: “When the senses are relieved, when the mind is relaxed – the highest stage is reached. This constant control over mind is defined as yoga. The one that reaches that – he is free of deceptions.”
In sutra II, chapter I of “Yoga sutras”, Patanjali decribes yoga as “chitta vritti nirodha”. This can be translated as surcease (nirodha) of mental (chitta) permutations (vritti) or as suppression (nirodha) of mental (chitta) hesitations (vritti). The word “chitta” denotes the mind as a whole, consisting of three categories: mind (manas) – the individual mind with its own power, ability to choose, beware and rejection; this is the hesitating part; mentality (budhi) – this is the state of determination; and ego (Ahamkara) – the exponent of “I know”. The word ”vritti” is formed by the root “vrit” – “to squirl”, “to turn over”. It means a way of acting, way of living, state of mind. Yoga is a method through which the restless mind relieves, and its energy is directed to creativity. Like a wild river is captured in big lakes, channels and huge storage reservoirs, and so is the mind when under control – provides rest and produces more than enough energy for a person to be elevated. But the problem for control over mind cannot be solved that easy! This is certified by the following dialogue in chapter VI of “Bhagavat gita” where Arjuna asks Shri Krishna: “Krishna, you told me about yoga as a unity with the Brahman (The Absolute Spirit), who is always one. But how can this be contemporary, when mind is so unsteady and unstable? Mind is unbridled and obstinate, powerful and willful, not easy to be tamed – like the wind”. Shri Krishna answered: “There is no doubt that mind is restless and not easy to be tamed, but it can be taught by constant practice (abhasiya) and through exemption of wishes (vairagya). Aperson who cannot control his mind will hardly reach unity with the Creator, but the one who controls theis body can manage it – if invests effort and points their energy into the right direction.