Yoga Defined: Your Path to Experiencing It

yoga defined, yoga pose in a deep meditation with a horse

From Definition to Experience : Yoga Explained

The simple question – what is yoga is frequently answered: 

“Yoga is a holistic practice originating from ancient India that combines physical postures, breathing techniques, meditation, and ethical principles to promote physical health, mental clarity, and spiritual growth.”(Source)

I do not disagree –   I’d like to offer a more personal and relatable perspective based on my experience.

Peaceful buddha in a yoga meditation

What is Yoga? 

Yoga is profound knowledge that reveals the purpose of life and how to live a happy life.

This wisdom is accessible to anyone willing to be open and eager to learn. The knowledge provided by yoga allows you to experiment, challenge, master, and adopt it as a lifestyle.

By practicing asanas (yoga poses), pranayama (breathing exercises), and meditation (controlling one’s focus), you can gain a deeper understanding of how to fulfill your purpose and achieve happiness.

How Do Yoga Asanas (Poses) Promote Happiness?

Yoga asanas are essential to the practice, incorporating various elements that enhance overall well-being:

  • Achieve Physical Comfort: Improve balance, enhance posture, and sustain positions comfortably.
  • Pressure Points: Increase blood flow, release stagnant energy, and facilitate energy flow.
  • Engage Subtle Muscles: Develop strength and flexibility at a deeper level.

Asanas develop mental discipline.

Yoga poses force your mind to focus on a single point, reducing distractions. The requirement for balance and smooth transitions into asanas ensures the mind quickly returns to its focal point. Coordinating breathing with asanas not only deepens the pose but also harmonizes the body and mind. 

Whether concentrating on balance, breathing, coordination, or muscle engagement, yoga asanas are a powerful tool for training the mind to focus.

Yoga pose, the headstand asana for beginners
Yoga pranayama and meditation at a lake.

What is Pranayama?

Often viewed as merely breath control, pranayama is a far more comprehensive practice. It blends “prana” (energy) and “yama” (guidelines) from Sanskrit, involving the subtle movement of energy and demanding a deeper body awareness than asanas. 

While breath regulation is most commonly associated with pranayama, there are also techniques involving sound, vibration, and mental focus. Pranayama enhances internal focus, removing external distractions necessary for balancing in asanas.

Asanas concentrate on the physical body, whereas pranayama enhances concentration on more subtle, internal aspects. Both asanas and pranayama train the mind to concentrate, but pranayama does it on a more refined level.

What are Yoga Meditations?

Yoga meditations bring awareness to mental activity, allowing us to become conscious of how quickly our thoughts shift from one thing to the next.

They engage in techniques that:

  • Bring focus to body parts, driving much-needed healing, relaxation, and rest to the body.
  • Explore and dispel personal barriers that prevent us from believing in our capabilities and reaching our potential.
  • Cultivate feelings of connection to other living things, forgiveness, and compassion, and guide us to a sense of purpose.

Through meditation, we can train our minds to choose a focal point and maintain focus for extended periods. As the Bhagavad Gita teaches, “The mind acts like an enemy for those who do not control it.” (Bhagavad Gita 6:6). Mastery over the mind through yoga asanas, pranayama, and meditation practices helps us develop and sustain positive beliefs, igniting compassion and loving emotions. “You become what you believe and you are responsible for your beliefs.” – Sri Dharma Mittra. 

Ultimately, it is within meditation that all knowledge and wisdom are truly understood, allowing us to naturally become compassionate and happy individuals.

Happy is the Purpose of Life & Happy makes Life worth living.

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