WHAT IS YOGA?
by Sanjay Attada
Yoga is a Hindu spiritual practice that originated in India thousands of years ago.
The word “Yoga” means “to join”, “to unite”, “to integrate”, “to meet”, “ to link”, “to merge”, “to regulate”, “to harmonize”, “ to yoke” etc.
The Yoga Sutra was written in Sanskrit by the Hindu sage Patanjali thousands of years ago. Yoga is as old as the Hindu Scriptures. We can discuss and write a lot on this subject….but the real understanding and realization happens in practice of these sutras and they are practical and anyone can apply them at any time. They are not time bound, they are timeless.
Yoga is a part of religion and has always been treated as such in India, the country of its birth. Yoga is not divorced from religion.
Yoga aims to unite the body, mind and soul. It is the union between Individual Consciousness and Cosmic Consciousness. It is the integration of body, mind and soul. It is the attainment of Bliss or Pure Consciousness.
Yoga is a way of living, a way of religion and religious living. It is an art, science, philosophy, culture and religion – a discipline of the body, mind and soul.
Yoga harnesses and uses the latent powers in the mind and body of man, combining them into a unified functioning whole that leads to unity with God.
Yoga is a method of psychologically and philosophically “tuning in” to the higher frequency by “yoking” the body and mind to higher awareness.
Yoga lays stress on bodily and mental poise to produce equanimity of the spirit.
Yoga has a complete message for humanity. It has a message for the human body, the human mind and for the human soul.
Yoga Shastras or Yogic Scriptures recognize the independence of body and mind. It prescribes certain practices both for the mind and for the body so that the two might develop themselves in a spirit of cooperation to such a balanced psycho-physiological condition that they should cease to enslave the human soul. Yogis say that thus freed from the shackles of body and mind, the soul realizes its boundless existence of infinite bliss.
While acknowledging the independence of body and mind, Yogic scriptures hold that the influence of mind on body is far more powerful than the influence of the body on the mind. Definitely the body has some influence on the mind. Hence mental practices from the bulk of the Yogic curriculum, although physical practice also have a definite place in it. As such, the scriptures do not exclude the physical practice and insist the equilibrium of the mind so that the soul could be liberated. Therefore, Hatha Yoga is re-integration through strength of body and mind or through conjunction of Sun-Moon life currents.
Yoga is a scientific and methodical way to attain perfection through the control of the elements of physical, metaphysical and psychic nature. The physical body, the active will power and the understanding mind are brought under total control.
Yoga is the submission of lower desires to higher desires. Yoga teaches the technique of controlling the mighty waves of the mind and of subduing them completely to the primordial consciousness.
Yoga is a practical philosophy dealing with various methods and means to God-realization. Yoga philosophy is a philosophy that is wholly practical.
Yoga is an exact science based on certain immutable laws of nature. Yoga contains in it the master key to unlock the realms of Peace, Bliss, Mystery and Miracle. Yoga is a process by which the suspension of all the functions of the mind could be achieved.
Yoga is a science that teaches us the method of joining the Individual Soul and the Supreme Soul. It is a merging of the Individual Spirit with the Cosmic or Universal Spirit. Yoga is the process by which the human soul is brought into conscious communion with God. Yoga teaches us how to control the modifications of the mind and attain Moksha or Liberation.
Yoga is Equanimity. Yoga is Serenity. Yoga is Skill in Action. Yoga is Control of the Mind and Senses.
The object of Yoga is to weaken what are called the five afflictions, i.e., Ignorance, Egoism, Likes, Dislikes and the instinct of self-preservation.
Thus Yoga is all embracing, all inclusive and is universal in its application leading to all-around development of body, mind and soul.
Guru Sanjay Attada was introduced to Yoga by his grandfather and father. His grandfather was a centenarian and a practitioner of Yoga and Pranayama regularly. Sanjay was a disciple of Swami Bua for 12 years and learned intricacies of Hatha Yoga, Pranayama and Kriya. He traveled with Swami Bua around the world and gave demos in Yoga studios and expos. His yoga classes have been covered by Sun TV, CNN, NBC,CUNY, NY Times, Daily News and other news media. He has met with yoga experts like Baba Ramdev, Asana Andiyappan, Amruta Desai, Shivbalayogi, Parthasarathi, Sri Ravishenkar and several others. He currently teaches Yoga at the Hindu Temple and gives lessons in Queens and Manhattan for yoga aspirants. He is the Director of Enterprise services at Scholastic and also works as a consultant and architect for eCommerce and eBusinesses.