Understanding Yoga

“Yoga aims for complete awareness/mindfulness in whatever you do”. BKS Iyengar


Yoga is an art, science, and philosophy initiated in India thousands of years ago.

The first yoga sutra, which is a compilation of all the foundations of yoga, says:

“Here, now, starts the explanation of yoga.”

And then, the second sutra says:

“Yoga is the restraint of the fluctuations of the mind.”

So, the whole practice of yoga aims to bring the clarity of the mind to the surface when we, through yoga practice, disengage from the disturbances that our thoughts bring to the account.  Also, as said, yoga happens here and now.

When a person practices yoga, it may be for one hour and a few hours a week or yet when someone practices long enough for an extended period, yoga mind state becomes the norm of living.

Yoga brings numerous benefits

  • Mental Clarity
  • Mental agility
  • Easier solution making
  • Balances all the systems of the body (respiratory, circulatory, nervous system, skeleton-muscular system, muscular system, etc)
  • Brings self-awareness leading to better choice related to our daily living
  • Increased awareness/mindfulness
  • Improves breathing capacity
  • Sense of confidence

Yoga in the last few years, particularly in the previous 10 years, has become more contemporary and fashionable, lots of yoga style started to pop up, and its essence dissipated hugely.

Yoga offers 10 commandments for a better inter-relationship and social relationship

Yamas – Restraints

  • Ahimsa
  • Satya
  • Asteya non-stealing
  • Brahmacharya – right use of energy
  • Aparigraha freedom from avarice

Niyamas – Observances

  • Saucha – cleanliness or purity
  • Santosa – Contentment
  • Tapas – internal discipline
  • Svadhyaya – the study of one own self
  • Isvara Pranidhana – surrender to the source, universe

The science of yoga understand 5 layers of our existence

  • Annamaya Kosha – the body layer
  • Pranamaya Kosha – the breath layer
  • Manomaya Kosha – the mind layer
  • Vjanamaya kosha – the intellect layer
  • Anandamaya kosha – the bliss layer

Considering the fifth layer, yoga is taught from the external layer, the body through our bones, muscles, skin, organs, etc to the innermost layer like the breath layer, the second one.

When the practitioner of yoga works on himself deepening his knowledge of the physical body, he will peel to the second layer. Then with practice and consistency, we peel to the third layer and hence achieving the knowledge, experiential/practical knowledge.  We are spiritual beings that the essence of yoga is the experience of unity with the universal, collective consciousness/mind.

This is the central focus of yoga practice.  Of course, for us, mortals, the understanding that we are all united through our consciousness, that if we take care and responsibility for our actions, thoughts, words, and deeds, we are contributing not only for our individual selves but for the whole network of inter-relationships we have in life.