What is yoga to you?

Posted on: September 4th, 2018 By:
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What is yoga to you? We see the word painted on windows. On t-shirts. Online. Nearly everywhere it seems. Many things ares associated with yoga in our modern world, but what is yoga? What is yoga to you?

Young woman silhouette practicing yoga on the sea beach at sunset

Young woman silhouette practicing yoga on the sea beach at sunset, Photo by Sanctuary Yoga

Hmmm. I suppose it depends who you ask. Is this a loaded question or a simple question? Perhaps this is a question that springs other questions. Where to find the answers? There are many paths. In text and in experience. Many books have been written about yoga, with deep philosophical examination. In this post, we can ask ourselves a few questions to explore what yoga means to us. So, what is yoga?

Where Did you First Discover Yoga?

We all stumble upon things in life at different times and for different reasons. Maybe you first discovered yoga in a gym, or in a philosophical book. Maybe you’ve noticed athletic focused yoga studios popping up around your town. Maybe you know someone or several people who practice yoga. Maybe you have been practicing for years on your own path (there are many paths and styles of yoga), but what is yoga?

to yoke

One of the six orthodox systems of Indian philosophy, yoga has been around for many years. Derived from the Sanskrit root word yuj, the word yoga means to to yoke, join or bind; union or communion, to use and apply; to concentrate or direct one’s attention to.

To me, yoga is a lifestyle. Yoga is a ladder with no end. Sometimes we fall off and climb back up. Sometimes we have climbed so high, but the view becomes foggy. It is uncertain what to do or where to go next. Maybe stillness is where to be. When you continue to climb, it may be astonishing to look back at where you began.

Food for Thought

I won’t leave you with an entire book today, but here are some quotes that may spark understanding or inspiration for your own definition of yoga.

Most often, these three words ‘mind, body, spirit’ are what I hear teachers refer to when describing the practice of yoga.

“Most of our fundamental attitudes to life have physical counterparts in the body.” ––Yehudi Menuhin

“Yoga is a timeless pragmatic science evolved over thousands of years dealing with the physical, moral, mental, and spiritual well being of man as a whole.” ––B.K.S. Iyengar

Lately, this is my favorite yoga quote I’ve come across:

“Yoga is deliberate disruption.” -original source unknown


What is yoga to you?

Answer in the comments below!

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