School of Yoga explains yoga concepts

Read about the contributions of five generations of Yogacharya Sundaram’s family to the worldwide growth of yoga.

Today, yoga is synonymous with āsana, prāṇāyāma, fitness and lifestyle and meditation. However, this is only one aspect of yoga, the material aspect. Therefore, for the serious yogi, understanding the overall yoga concepts is important if he or she wishes to go beyond the material limitations of yoga.

Classical yoga can mean many things.

To start with, yoga can roughly be translated as yoking, the word “yoga” is a cognate of the English – yoke and refers to all forms of yoking or bonding between two entities.

  • The yoking of 2 individuals into a perfect union. In a marriage, the man and woman merge to become one or ardhāṅgani (half body or merger of two individuals into a composite entity)
  • The yoking of our expectations with our efforts to achieve our goals.
  • The yoking of our individuality with our work. Also, this can mean our yoking to a concept or belief system into a seamless entity. This can manifest in an artist merging with his creation, soldier or patriot sacrificing for his country.
  • The yoking of an individual’s behaviour (svabhāva) with his or her natural self (svadharma) to form a wholesome personality (svatantra).
  • Union of the soul (ātma) with God (paramātman) to achieve self-realisation.

All aspects of yoga focus on enhancing situational awareness or prajñā which operates at 2 levels – awareness of the Self in any situation (vijñāna) and the impact of change in the situation on our Self (jñāna). Importantly, this awareness emanates from our sense of Self (asmitā), which is why yoga is an exercise in the evolution of cognition of the consciousness (citta).

All the above concepts are anchored in traditional Indian culture, hence understanding this background is important for understanding yoga completely.

This section deals with the concept of yoga, such as karma (action), dharma (natural state/ order or conditioning), asmitā (sense of Self), their integration into yoga, various types of yoga and yoga solutions.

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