YOGA: AN INTRODUCTION

definition of yoga

This is a series of articles wherein you will get to know the deepest of Yogic knowledge and secrets in the simplest of words. Starting from the very basic, each consecutive part of this series will let you journey through more and more esoteric aspects of Yoga but for effective and mass conveyance of the knowledge, the simplicity of language will be retained.

The first part in this series addresses the most basic question, “What is Yoga?”. Read on to get the answer.

Living in the “modern” 21st century has provided us access to almost all the information that man could ever seek. Information on subjects such as Yoga was once scanty and whatever little was available, was discarded by (mostly) the Westerners as being either false or full of superstition.

Yoga, however, stood the test of time and is now accepted as well as recognized worldwide as a bona fide ‘science’.

Yoga an introduction
Yoga an introduction

But an irony still looms. Ask anyone what Yoga is and most are likely to come up with answers such as “It is a way of life” or “It is a system of exercises to stay fit and healthy” or “Yoga is a discipline meant to keep our bodies disease-free” or “…….” or “…….” or “…….”. There’s not going to be any end to these ‘ors’.

With so many definitions of Yoga being put forward and such mushroom growth of ‘Yoga And Fitness Centres’ across the country (or even the globe), the very fundamentals of Yoga seem to be lost, a very obvious consequence of which is the emergence of the most basic question, “What is Yoga?”.

If you have ever found yourself pondering as to what Yoga might really be, you have landed at the right place.

The most precise and yet the most complete definition of Yoga is encapsulated in the following Sanskrit verse:-

योगश्चित्तवृत्तिः निरोधः ।।

For all those who start getting jitters by just having a look at any Sanskrit text, we are here to simplify and explain. The aforementioned verse may be broken down into –

योगः चित्त वृत्तिः निरोधः ।।

Let us examine the broken down text word by word.

योगः (transliterated Yogah) means ‘Yoga is’.

चित्त (transliterated Chitta) may be loosely translated (for the beginners and the uninitiated) to be ‘the mind’.

वृत्तिः (transliterated Vrittih) may again be loosely translated (for the beginners and the uninitiated) to be ‘the desires arising in the mind’.

निरोधः (transliterated Nirodhah) translates to ‘to restrain / to hold back / to check / to stop’.

In a nutshell, all the above translations leave us with a very clear definition of Yoga. In essence, ‘Yoga is the restrain of the desires arising in the mind’. Essentially, that is what Yoga is.

The above explanation is so fundamental and yet so complete that it assimilates within itself three very important aspects of Yoga; the definition of Yoga, the aim of Yoga and the means to achieve that aim.

Leaving all the readers with such a crisp definition of Yoga, we urge all to put deep thought into the definition given above. We are more than sure that all sincere seekers will definitely benefit from it.

Stay tuned for the next article in the series…..

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