Yoga has attracted worldwide attention during the last 7 decades. Roughly 1 billion people practice yoga in one or other form every week. It is a $30 billion industry worldwide. Rarely have we found amazing facts about yoga. It is a 6000 year old tradition. More than 3000 masters continued the yoga tradition who lived before 200 B.C. It has more than 1000 texts written much before the century. There are hundreds of studies done in every portion of the world, suggesting role yoga can play in wellbeing, managing illnesses, besides its primary goal of awakening, realization and transformation. It is important for a person treading the path of the ageless wisdom of yoga to understand the very essence of yoga. It can be understood by 5 definitions from most important texts
Five definitions should be taken together while beginning the practice of yoga as this will keep the mind on the goal of yoga
Yoga- Shikho Upanishad defines yoga as ‘union of sun and moon flow, of the individual and supreme consciousness, of Shiva and Shakti. Further it clarifies that duality is ignorance that needs to be thrown off and dissolved.’
Patanjali defines yoga as ‘emptying the mind of its contents’ leading to the discovery of one’s essential nature (of the nature of truth, wisdom, love, purest state of awareness, bliss).
Kathoupnishad defines yoga as ‘when five sense organs are established in mind & mind unites with Buddhi. The state brings equanimity and awakens auspicious higher consciousness. The state is of highest state known as liberation.’
Maitranyano Upanishad defines yoga ‘oneness of senses, mind and Prana; achieving concentrated state; becoming introvert by absorbing the senses into mind, mind into Buddhi and Buddhi into Soul is Yoga.’
Sri Aurobindo defines yoga as ‘self-conscious finding’.
There are more than 100 definitions in texts but above fine explains that yoga cannot be confined as cult, dogma, belief and faith. When we withdraw the mind within, we begin emptying the mind or merging the mind with higher principles. The awakening to higher consciousness, beyond ego, brings one face to face with what is termed as real-self. The real-self is behind the veil of apparent self-made of three bodies namely – gross, subtle and causal. One can begin yoga based on one’s temperament but reach at the same goal commonly known as awakening, realization and transformation.