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Generally Yoga means unity.
Millions of people today practice yoga postures- which are very healthy if we practice them correctly and without a competition- or hold their breath saying that they practice Yoga. In the West Yoga is understood at the body level.
People very often push themselves too hard in the name of Yoga. Each year thousands of injuries are reported while practicing Yoga and probably the same number of unreported.
But, what all this has to do with the unification?
The number of benefits of Yoga postures are numerous but both those nice twists and holding breath are just a part of Hatha Yoga which is a complexed system of exercises originally practiced in ancient India. Both yoga postures and holding breath are just a tiny part of the great wisdom about the Self which is much higher than our little limited self.
Yoga is a profound science about the human-cosmic forces. It is the first psychology and a very noble gymnastic for a mental and soul beauty.
Yoga is a complete and therewith a very complex Journey. Both the way we think and speak or our way of nutrition are connected to yoga. How we treat ourselves and others is yoga.
Many people are convinced that material things, or a special person, or anything what comes from outside can bring serenity into their hearts and piece to their mind. But 5000 years ago, Rishis and Maharishis, the ancient sages and seers knew how to mastery own senses and how to come into the unity with own self, with others and with nature. This unity is called Yoga.
The first mention of Yoga appears in Rig Veda.
THE WORD YOGA
The word Yoga has its root in sanskrit, one of the oldest languages in the world and the language of yoga. There are many meanings of this word.
Wilson in his dictionary (1832) describes yoga with 30 different meanings, some of them are:
junction. Meeting. Religious and abstract meditation. Union with the Supreme Being by means of abstract contemplation. Connexion of one thing with another as of cause with effect, predicate with subject, quality with substance. Consequence. Result. The main end or object of any thing or act. (In astronomy) The leading or principal star of a lunar mansion. The twenty-seventh part of 360° of a great circle measured on the plane of the ecliptic, and used in calculating the longitudes of the sun and moon; each Yógas has a distinct name; astrologers also enumerate twenty-eight Yógas differently named from the foregoing, and corresponding with the twenty-eight Nakshatras, or the divisions of the moon’s path, but varying according to the day of the week. 30 A period, or the time during which the sum of the motions of the sun and moon amount to one Nakshatra, the mean duration of which is 23hs. 47′ 44“.
Monier-Williams in his dictionary (1872) describes yoga with over 70 different meanings. Some of them are:
the act of yoking, joining, junction, conjunction, uniting, union, contact; the harnessing or putting to (of horses); a yoke,a supernatural means, charm, incantation, spell, magic, magical art; fraud, deceit, a combination or configuration of stars, a constellation, asterism, fixing the mind on a particular point and keeping the body in a fixed posture.
As we see it, it is not easy to define Yoga in one word but in todays’ world the most common and popular explanation of Yoga is the unity or better unification.
The oldest and most explicit treatise on Yoga is the Katha Upanishad, one of the 108 Upanishads, the ancient Indian text collections and it says that the body is the car, the mind is the charioteer, that senses are the horses, the sense objects are the roads, the mind is the reins and the self is the traveler (the soul). The true self can come to the expression only when it is united with his own body, senses and the spirit.
Which kind of unity yoga is and how that ancient wisdom teach us how to awake our forces and ripe the fruits from the unlimited perspectives of our mind and body, you can read in this short introduction on the next pages.