What is Yoga?

The word “yoga” essentially means “that which brings you to reality”. Literally, it means “union”.

Yoga is believed to have been developed up to 5,000 years ago in India as a comprehensive system for wellbeing on all levels: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. While Yoga is often equated with Hatha Yoga, the well-known system of postures and breathing techniques, Hatha Yoga is only a part of the overall discipline of Yoga. Today, many millions of people use various aspects of Yoga to help raise their quality of life in such diverse areas as fitness, stress relief, wellness, vitality, mental clarity, healing, peace of mind and spiritual growth.

Yoga is a system, not of beliefs, but of techniques and guidance for enriched living. Among Yoga’s many source texts, the two best known are the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali and the Bhagavad Gita. Both explain the nature of, and the obstacles one faces on the journey toward enlightened awareness and fulfillment, as well as a variety of methods for cultivating both.

Some aspects of Yoga are too illusive to be learned from books or lectures and must be experienced directly; hence Yoga’s time-honored tradition of the student–teacher relationship, in which the teacher guides the student as they develop a practice which brings deeper understanding through personal experience.