What Is Yoga?
Yoga is now. That’s it.
Okay, it’s far more than that. But that sentence, Yoga is now, is the whole thing boiled down to three words.
The problem is that “now” is a pretty hard concept to put into practice in our daily lives. Have you ever tried to live in the moment, right here, right now, with no distractions and no other thoughts in your head? It’s difficult. That’s why a man named Patanjali, who lived during the second century BC, wrote the Yoga Sutras as a guide to yoga. “Yoga is now” is the first of his 196 sutras. But it’s only the beginning of his teachings.
Yoga is all about increasing physical and emotional strength. its practice gives a different level of confidence.
Patanjali, who is considered to be the founder of the philosophy of yoga, defines yoga as the ability to cease identification with the movements of the mind—in other words, to “live in the now.” The literal translation of yoga is “to yoke” or “union” or “to join.” Modern yogis translate this as the union of the mind and the body. This is why when most of us think of yoga, we think of Down Dog or fancy balancing poses. Much of the work that we do in the physical the practice of yoga is meant to carry over into our mental states.
For example, if we hold a pose and work through some discomfort in our thighs or our arms, then we learn to understand that when we are faced with the pain that comes from the difficult times in our lives, we have the strength to get through it. The physical helps the mental and vice versa; therefore, one cannot exist without the other, and that is why we have yoga—or the union of the two.