The word Yoga can be translated as “union”. It is a way of life that leads the practitioner to realize the interconnected nature of reality.
It teaches us that we are more than just the body, but the body is integral to the practice. By connecting with the body, we can connect with the entire universe.
Yoga, as we know it today, stems from a holistic system that was developed in Ancient India. It is a huge subject that could easily take up many lifetimes of study. From a practical point of view, it offers a wide range of practices to calm the mind, strengthen the body, and connect to the innermost depths of consciousness.
The universe has a rhythm and harmony, and everything is interconnected. But sometimes we are too caught up in daily life to notice it, it is as if we are disconnected from the whole. Our conditioning means that we end up with a very limited view of reality. This makes us feel unfulfilled, we feel there is something missing, but we do not know what it is or how to find it. Yoga is the path of reconnecting with the true nature of the world, instead of seeing everything through the lenses of individual consciousness, we expand and connect with the entire universe.
Today’s world is very different from ancient India. We have a tendency to look for quick-fixes, we are addicted to constant stimulation, and are often overly concerned with our appearances. This has led to a very superficial understanding of Yoga, where people may practice simply to look and feel good. Even those with some understanding of the deeper aspects of Yoga may see it as a spiritual shortcut, a quick-fix to all life’s problems.
In reality, the path of Yoga requires immense practice, dedication, and effort. The expansion of the mind and body that is required means overcoming a lifetime of conditioning, so anybody expecting a quick fix is likely to be disappointed. However, those who are prepared to put in the effort and make this beautiful practice a part of their lifestyle will experience innumerable benefits. We should try and inspire ourselves to put in the necessary time and effort, and also manage any expectations we have about Yoga being a quick fix. It can be compared to learning to play a musical instrument: significant time and effort are required, but with regular practice, mastery is possible.