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Yoga as the awareness of the unity of the whole and not as an organized belief system

Yoga was first mentioned in the Vedas, ancient collection of Indian scriptures written between 1500 BC and 1200 BC. The word was used as a more general concept describing it as a state of union of the divine and the self, and not as we commonly know it today. Today, Yoga is mostly known for being a practical system with specific techniques and disciplines that improve the human being in many levels. There are many different points of view, but one generally accepted describes Yoga as a spiritual practice that prepares the body and mind to higher states of awareness.

Many schools and methods have risen throughout the years. They differ in their approach and many times in the concept of Yoga. Yoga has undergone many transformations and is now found all over the world. It has adapted to many different countries, cultures and even religions. This proves how Yoga is adaptable and flexible and goes beyond specific organized systems. It is adaptable to everyone, it is globally accepted and so many people are experiencing its benefits. The physical and mental results are palpable and people are eager to feel good and healthy, and Yoga, as a practical and technical system, has this positive effect on its practitioners.

But what is Yoga?

First of all, Yoga can be seen through many prisms, and through the eyes of Yoga, all of them are a perspective of reality, so all are right! But what does Yoga truly mean?

Before going to the meaning, I want you to imagine a tree, and just like the tree, everything is born from a seed. To fully understand Yoga, we need to travel back in time and understand how it was born and in what context the word was used. We are describing Yoga from the perspective of the seed. We are not disproving the tree as it is today, but to understand the tree as a whole, we have to understand its origin.

The first time Yoga was used in ancient texts was to describe a certain state of connection. It was never seen as an organized system of practice, with specific techniques and disciplines of practice. It was not even seen as a practical thing. All methods, techniques, and structures came after. At its core beginning it was something you accomplished. A state of Yoga. But what did they mean by this? If we look deeper at the meaning of the word, we can find the answer.

Yoga means union

Before being seen as a systematized practice, the word was used with the purpose of describing a state of union. Yoga literally means union and for thousands of years, it was only used from this angle. Today we can describe Yoga from many perspectives, but describing Yoga as something with a beginning and end is missing the point of Yoga, because Yoga is this understanding and especially the experience of everything as one.

It is the true notion of reality. In other words, Yoga is the knowledge that everything is contained in the smallest and biggest representation of the universe and that the light of existence is mirrored in everything. The way that the light is exposed back will differ and create different shapes, so diversity is born. But ultimately the source of the light is the same. And that light is the essence of existence and understanding that the light is reality and that reality is not the reflection of it, is understanding Yoga.

Yoga describes the unity of the complexity of the universe

The universe in its deepest scientifical, spiritual, religious, and mathematical wisdom does not manifest in extremes, poles, or duality. It is infinitive and limitless. This is not to deny or critique the different forms of view because in a very broad, and true perspective, all of them contain a part of the reality. And Yoga lies in everything and every shape of reality, because nevertheless it expresses the unity of all.

Yoga is everywhere

There are many religions, philosophies, spiritual knowledges and even fields of science emphasizing the oneness of all fragmented units and their opposites. The way that this knowledge is transmitted will naturally be different due to diversity. But in the essence lies the concept of unity. Unity is Yoga and the word literally means union. In science they express it through the term singularity, in philosophy Monism, and in religion we can find it through many other words, such as God, Krishna, Tao… Different words for the same reality. Yoga and all of them are the understanding of this truth, so creating disunion between them is illogical.

Disunion in Yoga is absurd

It is ironic how a word that means union has created so much division throughout its existence. So many schools and masters have claimed that “this is the true Yoga”, and if we look at it from an anthropologic and linguistic perspective this goes against the primary meaning of Yoga. And if you interpret this from a spiritual angle, even more so. There have been so many misconceptions in Yoga and if you are experiencing separation or discrimination in this practice, you are not experiencing Yoga. And this extends to other spiritual practices, religions, or any form of thought that is meant to expand awareness and unite you with the divine. You may be experiencing the benefits of them at a physical and mental level, but you will be distanced from their true purpose.

Now this does not mean that you should only practice Yoga if you have this point of view. This is not to discriminate any form or reason for your practice. All of them are equally valid. The way you choose to project the light of Yoga is a reflection of Yoga. If you only want to look at Yoga from a well-being perspective that is perfect. But if you are discriminating or experiencing sensations of unacceptance through the practice of Yoga, by the group, school, teacher, or guru, the essence of Yoga is not present.

Yoga is found through the self

Many people externalize the essence of Yoga outside themselves. If we are searching for the understanding of all universes, we have to travel inside as well. We can relate this notion to the concept that says, “God is found within”. There are many other forms to express this. God, Krishna, Tao, Unity, the universe, etc. They are all expressing the concept of unity and to fully understand it, you have to understand that you too are this unity. Having the separation of the self from the whole is contradictory. Because you are God.

You are Yoga.

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