A gentle introduction to Yoga

The term Yoga, though popular, remains superficially understood by most of us. Despite having grown up in India, I always had thought Yoga is a form of physical exercise. If you think of Yoga the same way, this post is right for you.

The short story is that – Yoga means Union.
– Is it the union of the body, the mind and/or the soul?
– Is it the union of God’s Consciousness with the Human Consciousness?
– Is it the union of the soul and the Holy Spirit?

I leave it to you to decide. Depending on your personal identity – this may vary.
Let’s now look into different ways of attaining such a remarkable union.

1.Yoga as Action/Service (Karma Yoga)
– Action here implies nurturing the righteous (Dharma) way of living.
– You might want to read one of my earlier posts (jump to point 3 in the post).
– For example, Mahatma Gandhi is a Karma Yogi. (NB: The scripture Bhagavad Gita played a crucial role in Gandhi’s life.)

By dedicating all your works to Me, you will be freed from the bondage of good and bad results. With your mind attached to Me through renunciation, you will be liberated and will reach Me.

Bhagavad Gita

2. Yoga as ‘Asana
– This is the Yoga as we all know of. It is a set of body postures that involve gentle twisting, balancing poses accompanied by conscious breathing.
– This also includes Meditation.

3.Yoga as Devotion (Bhakti Yoga)
– This involves Prayers, Singing the Gods’ names with deepest yearning for the divine connection and so on.
– This is also called as the path of Love.

If one offers to Me with devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or even water, I delightfully partake of that article offered with love by My devotee in pure consciousness.

Bhagavad Gita

4.Yoga as ‘Inner’ Wisdom (Gnana Yoga)
– Understanding the deepest mysteries of the human mind consciousness itself is a form of Yoga. You might translate this into Intellectual form of Yoga. As an example, Socrates is a Gnana Yogi.

An unexamined life is not worth living.

One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing.

I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing.

Socrates

Having laid out these techniques, I’d also like to state that there is no one particular path for all beings. Probably, that is why we have different options, no? It’s been said that for a sincere aspirant, the path shall be laid before him/her. However, it is also evident that none of these paths are completely distinct from the rest.

It doesn’t matter if one is an atheist or a monotheist or a polytheist, these techniques remain valid to live a righteous living.

I hope this post was useful to you. Thank you for reading.

What do you think is your path, as of now? πŸ™‚

18 thoughts on “A gentle introduction to Yoga

  1. A wonderful preview to yoga. You are right. While many of us do yoga regularly not many are aware of its profound structure and mechanism and neither the teachers bother to explain them to us. So thank you VS for this intro. Are you into yoga ?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Radhika! πŸ™‚ You’re right about the Yoga instructors who do not usually begin their lessons with a brief introduction on the principles of Yoga. ( I want to understand Yoga Sutras by Patanjali when time permits).

      I’m not much into Asana – I had done here and there throughout my life. Recently, during the covid19 lockdown, I practiced it consistently but not anymore πŸ˜€

      I practice regular Meditation and I like reading (and practicing) the philosophy “Advaita Vedanta”. I’m recently pulled into Bhakti Yoga. These are my ways to bring back myself into the Void Space! πŸ™‚

      How about you?

      – Velu

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow! Velu, it’s good to know that you are deeply associated with our spiritual culture and philosophy. Wonderful!
        I had been doing yoga for over an year until the lockdown. Now somehow the routine has gone into a spin.
        While I like to ponder on my thoughts in solitude I am not much into meditation.
        Hope I’ll reach there sometime.

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      2. Thank you, Radhika! πŸ™‚
        I’m glad you practice Yoga-asana! I chose Dance instead of going for the traditional Yoga, also because I was confused to choose between Hatha, Ashtanga and other kinds lol.

        It is not too difficult for you to tap into, what I call, The Void Space. To practice meditation in the beginning days, it is important to find the tool that anchors us in the ‘present moment’. For me, it is my Breathing. For an artist, it could be the brushes. For a foodie, it could be the food. For you, as a writer, it could be your own words. Oh, tea is also a great tool ahah! In my opinion, any attempt to silence the mind by sitting in a lotus posture makes things worse for a beginner. πŸ˜€ The key is to find something your mind is least-resistance with and use that as a tool to meditate upon.

        Bonus point: Ask yourself, “From where do those words come, much before your mind recognizes them?”. It is the Void Space! Stay there! (Gnana Yoga)

        My best wishes for your continued journey! ❀

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  2. Here in the small town where I live yoga is just excersice . You can go to gym and start excersice yourself. I have a health proplem my bones are flexibillity and hypermobillity ..and I have in the past some dislocations..
    However gyms made pilates ,yoga ,stretching in the same philosophy . ..one two three . I have test some kinds of excersice , I am good in some excersices however I have suggestions from doctors to strength my muscle tone … its a gift from God . I have Ehlers danlos syndrom ..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear friend,

    Thank you for your comment. May God bless you immensely! βœ¨πŸ™πŸΎPlease let us know how it goes as you keep practicing on strengthening the muscle tone. πŸ™‚

    Like

    1. Thank you for reading!
      Well, a lazy mind is intelligent, they say! And we have so many other options to reach the Union! Meditating can be a challenge for many, since you love doing it, probably that’s the path for you! πŸ™‚

      Best wishes,
      Velu

      Like

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