What Does Yoga Mean? January 07, 2018
Yoga means many things. It is most widely defined by the same Indo-European root for the English word “yoke”, so is often referred to as that which joins. In joining we have many options, movement to breath, body to spirit, heart to mind. In these and other combinations then, yoga seeks, to one degree or another, to make whole.
Sanskrit scholars also trace the etymology of yoga to the root ‘yuj’ meaning to contemplate. What is it we contemplate? At the highest, it is the contemplation of the Self; the full whole Self. More then that, it is the knowing of this fullness and then living life from that fullness as opposed to partiality. Everyone wants to make a difference. Never mind difference says one great teacher, there is enough difference in the world, make wholeness.
Yoga is the physical practice making the body strong and supple- yoking apparent opposites. It is one of the classical Hindu schools that provides a philosophical frame work, on which Tantra builds upon to offer a blue print, a method, a path by which we may experience that wholeness now in this very body, in this life. From this source space, it is a potent lens from which to view, to contemplate the big questions of life: why is there something instead of nothing? Why am I here? How do I fit in? What is my purpose and place in the frame of things?
Everything pulses. Surging out, life evolves and presents itself in a coat of many colors. A multi-hued diversity is displayed everyday in so many ways. But what surges out has a source. What is that source? What is the source of my life, of my individual identity? What surges out has a corresponding current that naturally magnetically pulls back in. We are indeed metaphorically each that individual wave surging from the ocean of consciousness, crashing to the shore and we must return. We are called. Whether or how we heed that call is our choice and in many ways the definition of our fullest humanity.
Yoga is many things, It is the breath and the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind that affords the capacity to be one pointed ‘ekagra’. Wherever we place our attention, we go deep because we have practiced going deep into self, knowing the whole Self. We deserve no less.
At the highest, and we are always aiming for the highest, right? At the highest yoga, from the Tantric Shivite non-dual perspective, is more about re-joining as it were; reclaiming what is already the case, but been forgotten. Having increased capacity, realizing the fullness of human capability, living from the source of diversity permits the highest deepest contemplation to bloom.
Know your source, live in fullness, and watch the multi-hued display of life take on more vivid color, increase in richness and depth and multiply in possible iteration. You deserve no less.