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What Does The Word Yoga Mean

Yoga Is A Way Of Life; It Is Not Removed From It We Do Not Need To Feel Disappointed Or Frustrated Considering Our Limitations With Regard To Physical Health; Shape And Size Of The Body; Lack Of Time; Lack Of Space Or Unavailability Of A Teacher Yoga In Fact Is The Means To Overcome All These Problems Yoga Includes Every Aspect Of Life Yoga Touches Everything In Life All Healing Methods And Meditations Are Part And Parcel Of Yoga Yoga Is Like The Sun Itself Which Brightens Everything That Comes Into Contact With It


Yoga is usually defined as union: union between the limited self and the Divine Self. The aim of Yoga is not really to unite us with anything for we are already united. It is to help us realize our identity with the Divine Self, to make us know and tune into our intrinsic nature.

There are many definitions of Yoga, which apply to all levels of existence and awareness. At the physical level, we need to harmonize the functions of different organs, muscles and nerves so that they do not hamper or oppose each other. Disharmony in various body parts and systems brings about inefficiency and lethargy or clumsiness. Moreover, it manifests in diseases in the body.

In this context we can define Yoga as physical harmony & health and mental balance & peace.

The Bhagwad Gita, a very widely known classical text on Yoga, gives various definitions of Yoga.

  • Yoga is equanimity of mind in success and failure.
  • Yoga is discretion in work.
  • Yoga is the remover of misery and destroyer of pain.Yoga is the supreme secret of life.
  • Yoga is serenity.
  • Yoga is the giver of infinite happiness. Patañjali, the author of the classical Yoga text, The Yoga Sutras, defines Yoga as, “complete control over patterns or modifications of the mind.”
  • The Structure of Yoga:

    The various branches of Yoga could be, for practical purposes, classified into five basic groups:

    The Key To Understanding The Meaning Of Yoga Is In Understanding Yoga Is A Verb Rather Than A Noun

    Verbs are actions, conditions or experiences.

    In an insightful paper by Colleen McDonough, Lulu Song, Kathy Hirsh Pasek, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff and Robert Lannon entitled “An Image is worth a thousand words: Why nouns tend to dominate verbs in early world learning” in Developmental Science they examine why nouns are easier to acquire than verbs.

    They state that nouns are more concrete whereas verbs are “fleeting and dynamic and unfold in time and space.” “Learning the name of an action requires that children perceptually abstract the invariants of the action across multiple exemplars that show wide variation.”

    To illustrate this, think about the term “dancing.”  All kinds of different activities and body movements count as dancing.  And even though your idea of it might involve lederhosen while mine needs electric slides, we eventually come to agree they are both forms of dance.

    It’s easier to put a label on something that is stable rather than a dynamic activity. There are exceptions, though.  Nouns such as “idea or passenger” are typically learned after verbs like “hug” and “kiss.” McDonough et al. say that this may boil down to the idea of “imageability”; how easy it is to evoke a mental image. We can conjure up a hug easier than imagining an idea.

    This “imageability” is why I asked you to picture yoga. It’s easy for us to think of yoga as a noun. But engaging in a process is harder for us to get our heads around.

    Yoga Is A Sanskrit Word Derived From The Sanskrit Root Yuj Which Means To Connect Join Or Balance

    The most important thing, however, is that Yoga – with its entire applications and implications – is a powerful means to an end. The ultimate end of all human pursuits is “Moksha.” Moksha is freedom from all bondage; freedom from insecurities; freedom from the clutches of desires; freedom from the sense of limitations and inadequacy; freedom from all that thwarts us on our divine journey in life. In other words, the end of all human pursuits is everlasting peace, happiness and a sense of fulfillment. This is possible with steady and prolonged sincere practice of Yoga. It activates a process of cleansing and purification of mind, which in turn, prepares us for the dawning of Self-knowledge. Yoga means this connection; this knowledge that removes the impurities and the veil of ignorance that keeps us strangers to ourselves.

    Yoga should never be mistaken for any other mode of exercise, which is operational only on a physical level.

    Misconception 4: Yoga Means Relaxation And Going With The Flow


    Well anyone that’s ever been to a dynamic yoga class will testify that yoga is not necessarily relaxing! Rather than presuming that yoga means resting, it is more accurate to consider that the practices generate a release through a sort of active relaxation.

    And what if, by nature, like me, you are someone whose natural temperament tends towards high energy, inner-drive and ambition? Yoga can certainly undisputedly offer the reprise from one’s own exhausting tendencies however more than that, Yoga provides a way of channeling that fire energy in a way that is replenishing, energizing and relaxing within the exertion itself.

    Within the context of yoga, Patanjali Yoga Sutras 8-limbs describes 2 seemingly opposing personal restraints of  ‘dedicated practice’   alongside contentment .  Which suggests that it is important to apply yourself with an exertion of dedicated and disciplined practice yet at the same time, be totally content. What a confusing  challenge!

    So For many years I had wrestled with trying to navigate between the effort of practice and the grace of contentment, the bipolar precepts appeared to me on first view to be contradictory and incompatible with one another.

    I realised that Flow-state is the conduit in which Patanjali’s precepts of effort and contentment can co-exist. The mechanism for that channeling I consider to be what positive psychologists identify as the Flow-state.

    What Does The Word Yoga Mean What Is The Meaning Of Yoga Word

    What does Namaste mean? And other common Yoga terms ...

    Let’s get together and head-on with an interesting exercise. Let us go around asking 10 yogis one question- “what does the word yoga mean”. When we ask this question to 10 yogis, we will probably get 10 different answers. 

    This is because yoga comes in different styles and forms and is taken up by various people for a variety of reasons. Therefore, it is pretty clear that yoga is a broad concept and is presented in a myriad of ways to serve the people attached to it keeping in mind their needs.

    The Meaning Of Surrender In The Yoga Sutras: Isvarapranidhana

    In Master Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, the 5th of the niyamas is isvarapranidhana . This Sanskrit word can be translated as the surrender of the self or complete surrender to a supreme being or higher power.

    Isvara translates to the divine, God, supreme being, higher power, ultimate reality, or true self. While pranidhana is usually translated as surrender, offer, dedicate or devote.

    Surrender As Turning Inward

    The ego is the doer who relies on separation to operate. Forego, subject and object are distinct. The ego is outwardly focused, seeking reward in the form of praise, recognition or achievement, the getting of things.

    The yogi who has completely surrendered in yoga practice is looking within. Yoga Sutra 1.25 speaks of the omniscient qualities of our master, our higher power, while 1.26 remind us that this supreme being is the highest teacher of all and that by turning inward and connecting to them, by contemplating their name and their nature, we will reach the ability to focus the mind and avoid all obstacles.

    Read more: Explore how to bring awareness to your asana practice and attain a deeper level of consciousness.

    What Does The Word Yoga Mean Meaning And Definition Of Yoga


    Have you ever wondered about the meaning of yoga? or what does the word yoga mean ? If this interests you, this is going to be a very interesting article for you. We have deep dived into history and mythology of yoga make things clear about meaning of yoga and the word ‘Yoga’ along with its definition. Stay Tuned. 

    What Are The Specific Health Conditions Improved By Yoga

    Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis affects about 1.3 million Americans — most of them are women. Yoga may help people with arthritis deal with pain and stiffness, improve their range of motion, and increase strength for daily activities.

    Multiple sclerosis: Certain forms of yoga may help reduce fatigue in people with multiple sclerosis , according to researchers at Oregon Health and Science University who adapted the Iyengar form of yoga for people with MS.

    Individuals who are inactive or elderly: If you are inactive, yoga may be the ideal exercise for both mind and body to begin your activity life. Yoga also provides stress reduction in addition to strengthening the bones and muscles and improving posture as well as overall health and vitality. Because you don’t have to be in peak physical shape to practice yoga, it is the right activity for sedentary people and for seniors who might not otherwise exercise. Instructors can help modify yoga poses. You don’t have to get down on the floor or a mat to practice yoga. It can be started while you simply sit in a chair.

    Ongoing research: The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health is evaluating yoga as a treatment for chronic low back pain, insomnia, and other conditions.

    Us National Library Of Medicinerate This Definition:

  • Yoga

    A major orthodox system of Hindu philosophy based on Sankhya but differing from it in being theistic and characterized by the teaching of raja-yoga as a practical method of liberating the self. It includes a system of exercises for attaining bodily or mental control and well-being with liberation of the self and union with the universal spirit.

  • Misconception 6: Yoga Means Union Of Mind Body Soul

    This one cracks me up the most because I think it’s the first thing you read in every mainstream yoga book and dare I say it, in many a foundation level yoga teaching manual.

    Sure yoga comes from the Sanskrit root word ‘Yuj’, which could mean yoke thus deemed to mean unite, however there are 39 other meanings/uses of the root word yuj including ‘a cabbage’…

    More often than not, the very same sources that depict yoga as union of mind-body-soul would then go onto use Patanjali as a source and frame of  reference for yoga despite Patanjali being at odds with the notion of union given the Sutras’ context of the Samkhya worldview which pertains to a distinction and separation between the soul and the material world as opposed to the union of it.

    Subhash explains it pretty well here:

    “Patanjali defines …… the purpose of stilling the mind to realize the non-connectedness between the soul and the material aspect of our being – body, mind and intellect. The word for this final state used in the yoga sutras is “kaivalya” which implies understanding that the soul is separate from the mind-body complex. In fact, Patanjanli clearly says that the main cause of our suffering is that we identify the soul with our mind and body. See sutras 2.23 thru 2.25 for more details. So, to reiterate, in the context of the yoga sutras, the word yoga does NOT mean union but in fact it means that we recognize the non-union of purusha and prakriti (body/mind etc.”

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    But What Does The Practice Of Yoga Really Mean

    Yoga also means relationship. Yoga IS relationship. And a relationship is yoga.

    The ancients understood yoga by way of relationships. In yoga, relationships are developed, and through relationships yoga is mastered.

    Each time you make an attempt to “link” with something, you are doing yoga.

    The fact is, YOU are a relationship. You are a composite and interaction of all the various parts of yourself. When you are doing yoga, you are serving the mind-body relationship, your energy and emotions, and your higher self, all at the same time.

    When you are practicing yoga you are connecting the physical postures with the breathing techniques. The union of these two parts are a vital relationship.

    In relating to the various parts of yourself, you first have to give them your attention. Then you can move closer to them by participating or interacting with them. You get a dialogue going.

    Eventually, you’ll find yourself in an intimate relationship with them.

    Being in a healthy relationship with yourself is the true meaning—and goal—of yoga.

    Get better at nurturing the relationship with yourself by reading: “Emotional Yoga: How the Body Can Heal the Mind“.

    Bija is the new Chair of The Global Wellness Institute Yoga Therapy Initiative. 

    Yoga & Meditation Teacher Training In India:


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    Should We All Agree On The Meaning Of Yoga

    So whilst the wellbeing-orientated meanings of yoga are misconstrued to a large extent by the mainstream and do not paint the whole picture of yoga, these sentiments of yoga meaning stillness, balance, peace, practice or union are certainly not a bad place to start one’s exploration of yoga and each of us our entitled to our own experience and understanding.


    If you’re interested in learning more about exploring the inter-play between effort and grace through flow-state, check out our 3 month yoga teacher training course that runs this year Jun 9th – Aug 27th 2018 With a 2 week immersion in Portugal followed by weekends in East Sussex.


    What Is Yoga Definition And Its Branches

    Yoga refers to traditional physical and mental disciplines originating in India. The word yoga is associated with meditative practices in both Buddhism and Hinduism. In Hinduism, it also refers to one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy, and to the goal towards which that school directs its practices.

    The Sanskrit word yoga has many meanings, and is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj, meaning to control, to yoke or to unite. Translations include joining, uniting, union, conjunction and means. Outside India, the term yoga is typically associated with Hatha Yoga and its asanas or as a form of exercise. A practitioner of Yoga is called a Yogi or Yogini .

    Major branches of yoga include Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Hatha Yoga. Raja Yoga, compiled in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and known simply as yoga in the context of Hindu philosophy, is part of the Samkhya tradition. Many other Hindu texts discuss aspects of yoga, including the Vedas, Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Shiva Samhita and various Tantras.

    How To Use Namaste In Your Yoga Practice

    Barkataki is careful not to tell people they can or can’t use the term, but suggests yogis to be thoughtful when they evoke namaste. She and other South Asian yogis encourage people to educate themselves about this and any Sanskrit terms, and acknowledge that the term has a deeper meaning in Indian culture. 

    If the word and gesture are used in yoga settings, Palkhivala says it may be done both at the beginning and at the end of class. The first will be a greeting of respect.  “At the end of class, the mind is less active and the energy in the room is more peaceful,” he says. “The teacher initiates Namaste as a symbol of gratitude and respect toward her students and her own teachers, and in return invites the students to connect with their lineage, thereby allowing the truth to flow—the truth that we are all one when we live from the heart.”

    For a teacher and student, namaste allows two individuals to come together energetically,” Palkhivala says. “If it is done with deep feeling in the heart and with the mind surrendered, a deep union of spirits can blossom.”

    Watch:When Is It Inappropriate to Use the Word Namaste?

    Princeton’s Wordnetrate This Definition:

  • yoganoun

    Hindu discipline aimed at training the consciousness for a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility that is achieved through the three paths of actions and knowledge and devotion

  • yoganoun

    a system of exercises practiced as part of the Hindu discipline to promote control of the body and mind

  • The Yoga Scripts Didnt Mention Wellbeing


    Unsurprisingly, all of which denote a notion of wellbeing. You may think that these are reasonable responses. Undeniably yoga can make you feel good and of course it has proven health benefits.

    However shouldn’t we question why or how we have shoehorned the tradition of yoga into our culture in a way that suits our incessant search for wellbeing?

    My contention is that there is a clear discrepancy between these aforementioned ‘wellbeing-orientated meanings’ of yoga to what is conveyed from within the scriptural traditional worldview of yoga.

    To reduce the entire historical, cultural and spiritual tradition of yoga into a wellbeing package is a dis-service to ourselves and to the tradition of yoga. The consequences of which could even be an impediment to wellbeing.

    I have dedicated 21 of my 35 years of my life exploring, experimenting and studying yoga. Based on my study and experience. I find I would define the meaning of yoga in a very different way to the aforementioned student’s responses.

    Indeed my study, practice and experience of yoga doesn’t lead me to define the meaning of yoga as  centrally concerned with wellbeing. I confess, I’m not completely still, balanced, peaceful or 100%  relaxed. I don’t get on a yoga mat daily and I don’t necessarily relate to the notion of ‘union’…

    So as a practitioner am I doing it wrong, and as a yoga teacher am I failing my students? If I do not live up to their definitions of what yoga means to them?


    The Benefit Of Yoga As Something You Do

    When we engage, we change how the situation unfolds. Instead of things simply happening to us, we become an active participant. We exercise our agency, the ability to act.

    Yoga is an invitation to get off the sidelines and act. As we do so we can now affect how the game turns out. Our participation creates the possibility of change and gives us different options than if we just stood by.

    If you were to break down the process of “doing yoga” it would be:

  • Act. Engage, Create Yoga by getting involved.
  • Pay Attention
  • This will give you choices.
  • Make a choice.
  • Learn from that choice then repeat 1
  • Engage doesn’t mean to dive into a situation without thinking. On the contrary, you endeavor to see what’s going on. You want to understand.

    In the Indian mind, actions are the ways we think, move and speak. By training our attention on something, we are engaging with it. We are connecting through yoga.

    This connection is not only physical but mental, emotional and even spiritual. It involves your whole being and differs from getting on a treadmill and staring at a TV.

    As you practice yoga you ask, how does this feel in my body? What thoughts or emotions am I having? How can I work with this? Elite athletes know about the importance of connecting your physical being with your mental and emotional state. They call it the mental game.

    How To Surrender In Yoga And Meditation

    Try the following suggestions to bring isvarapranidhana and surrender to your yoga or meditation practice.

    • Set an intention. Offer your practice to a higher being, make it less about you.
    • Be present.  Let go of all expectations and see what unfolds.
    • Practice equanimity. See everything that arises as equally sent by the divine to help strengthen your practice.
    • Listen. Rest when you need to rest. Move when you need to move.
    • Question. In moments of discomfort, stay and question the sensation.
    • Cease effort. Rest in spaciousness instead.
    • Dedicate. Let go of the fruits of your actions. Offer them up to someone else.

    What is a better yoga pose for surrendering than corpse pose? Discover the meaning of savasana at the end of every yoga class and the benefits of staying even longer.

    The results of our yoga and meditation practice are not something we get, they are something we reveal. We cannot reach these highest states of being by doing and trying. We can only reach them through surrender. Yoga Sutra 2.45 tells us that through isvarapranidhana, this devotion and willingness to let go, full integration, samadhi, is achieved.

    Our yoga and meditation practice requires trust and faith that all we need is already within us. Our relationship to a higher being can help us see these qualities “outside” ourselves, and through the practice of surrender, isvarapranidhana, we ultimately recognize these qualities within, as the distinction between “within” and “without” breaks down.

    Common Yoga Symbols And Their Meanings

    yoga meaning

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    Symbols are a huge part of our lives whether we take notice of them or not, and in yoga they are very prevalent and hold a lot of meaning. Yoga symbols, like quotes, are an important part of human communication and are meant to convey a message, idea, concept, experience and/or spiritual belief in a visual form.

    As humans, we try to find understanding and meaning in nearly everything we see and do and symbols help us do this. Yoga incorporates a lot of symbols to help us understand a deeper meaning behind everyday things. Depending on the culture using the yoga symbol, the meanings can be completely different.

    We put together a list of the 10 most common yoga symbols used in yoga and explained their deeper meaning. Read on to learn more about these popular symbols.

    How Do I Get Started With Yoga Classes

    You don’t have to be flexible to practice yoga. In fact, yoga will help you become flexible. Because there are many different styles of yoga, ranging from gentle to vigorous, you will want to find a teacher and style that suit your needs, abilities, limitations, current physical condition, and class schedule.

    Make sure the teacher knows about any health conditions and your level of fitness. Don’t force any movements or poses. Mastery will come with practice. Wear comfortable, stretchable, or slightly loose clothing and expect to take off your shoes.

    A yoga class should make you feel invigorated, calm, and not in physical discomfort. Try to attend a yoga class twice a week or more. Classes usually last 60-90 minutes.

    Some of the other guidelines for practicing yoga are as follows:

    • Remove contact lenses, wrist watch, and other accessories, and tie up long hair.
    • Do not attempt yoga on a full stomach.
    • Use a nonslip mat that is long enough for you to lie fully stretched on your back.
    • Do a warm-up session. The muscles need to be fluid for the complex stretches.
    • Practice in a quiet and peaceful environment.

    You can take steps to prevent stress in your life.

    Yoga Philosophy Originated From Vedas

    Yoga is a philosophy and is one of the six branches of the Vedas which is considered to be not only India’s but one of the world’s oldest scriptures. Practicing the philosophy of yoga is believed to serve the unfolding of infinite potential of both the human mind and the eternal self that lies within us.

    Through yoga, we achieve ultimate union of the self with our divine consciousness which help us experience eternal bliss while liberating us from the worldly sufferings. In yogic term, this eternal bliss is termed to be “Moksha”.

    Also Read our post on History and Origin of Yoga and Is Yoga A Haram For Muslims?


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