What “Yoga” Means


Just trying to describe the Meaning of Yoga

Yoga is more than the physical postures, not only perfect body bending business.

As I have seen in western world here many teachers are more focus in body figures, most of the teachers market their classes by showing perfect body postures in social media or websites, which is not bad at least they are trying. My point of view is completely from the experience and cultural background i am come from and the yoga I studied since childhood.

Some teacher started giving different names as well, like healing yoga, yoga breathing, hot yoga, all sorts. I didn’t see teaching in depth of yoga and teacher are following the path of yogic life, as for ancient text described. No many teacher are teaching the roots of Yoga. Without root how any plant can grow and give a fruits? “My grandfather used to say be like a tree, strong, healthy and lots of fruits and flowers, and serve others, bees, birds and animals, stand tall. I have been to few classes myself to understand the teaching in west, but did not resonate to me. I come from hindu brahmin family, I learn teaching of Vedanta, yoga sutra from grandfather and learn with gurus from very young age, to be honest I didn’t like it at that time because it was force to become something i have no understanding about at all, without my choice. It wasn’t just posture tho. I don’t even remember when was the first I start learning, I remember my grandfather forcing me to chanting Gayatri mantra early morning at 5am, I was maybe 6-7 years old. So Yoga is not easy business it has depth, meaning with propose. According to my Guru, one only can be teacher once you attain proper practice of all yoga sutra and experience, taste of union with self, teacher shouldn’t be for money of self image with big ego, he/she should be living yogic life and devote on teaching of true yoga sutra for life. I am not sure how anyone can become teacher by doing 200HRS yoga teacher training then teach, I find out some are teaching yoga after learning from Youtube as well.

I am not against posture, pranayama or meditation only classes, its good they do, but before we teach we must learn, practice and teach properly, but you cannot say that is full yoga. You must explain the yoga teaching and its roots to you students even if its boring for some.

Yoga is secret, and pure. Its is not like pizza, whatever you you throw in to make and say name of pizza. Yoga is just Yoga has no other form or Name. It has branches which is also good to practice if that can help you, but learn first properly the meaning of it.

In Himalayas Yogi are practicing yoga and teaching from any years and those true yogis teach lives life according to yogic principles, so much simpler and with full happiness, without any EGO. They do not teach to become rich, rather pass the knowledge to coming generations for betterment of Mother Earth or society.

Anyway I will try to explain yoga below so next time you look for yoga training check for good teacher who can actually teach you from roots, that will give you good foundation in life with full understanding of Yoga sutra. To teach you have to have full experience.  I will try to explain yoga below.The true meaning of yoga is union with the real self.

If you ask all yoga teacher you been to “What is yoga?,” you would probably get many different answers without depth but with some good words and language they use. Yoga is being labeled, branded and packaged to sale to fulfil Ego of modern Gurus. Many gurus have made fortune by teaching filter yoga, like Bikram hot yoga.

They knows the ways to market, products and people will attached to it because it is fun. And fulfil the Ego of self. But propose of real yoga is opposite.

In order to understand the true meaning of yoga, it is helpful to start with the YOGA word itself.

What Does Yoga Actually Mean?

 Teaching Group Yoga

The word yoga comes from the  ancient Sanskrit  language word “yug,” which means to yoke or unite/ union. you can give different meaning like Joining or connecting one entity to another, merging one entity into another, applying one entity to another, implementation of an entity or idea or person.

So yoga is union of pure self ( consciousness) with universe or the body we live in.

This union is not referring to your hand touching your foot or your nose reaching your knees. It’s also not referring to the union of mind and body, although, this is commonly repeated within the yoga community.

The word yoga is referring to is uniting individual consciousness (our individual reality) with divine or pure consciousness (the essence of truth as perceived when we quiet our five senses and reconnect with the soul( or inner-self within).

Yoga philosophy is one of the six branches of ancient text veda, which are considered to be one of the world’s oldest scriptures, and some of the text has refer to many truth according to Modern science as well. To knows more about veda 

The Sanskrit word, veda, means “knowledge.” There are 4 main vedas.

 “Rig Veda” “Yajur Veda,”  “Sama Veda”  “Atharva Veda.” 

The underlying teaching, of the Vedas is the concept that the individual is not an independent entity, but, rather, a part of the Universal Consciousness.

The first branch, called vedanta, explains that all knowledge and experience comes from one underlying consciousness, or reality.

The second branch, Sankhya, describes how the one consciousness differentiated itself to appear as many things.

The third branch, which is yoga philosophy, describes the processes needed to realize our unity with the one consciousness so that we may free ourselves from the suffering felt through our perceived separation.

All yoga practice is to serve the unfolding of infinite potential of both the human mind and eternal Self.

Through this ultimate union of the self with the Divine, we experience lasting bliss, and liberation from suffering.

1. Hatha 
Most people in the West i have see is Hatha yoga, as it includes the physical practice of yoga Asanas that have become so popular.

In addition to asana practice, there are other energy controlling techniques through the Breathing and cleansing rituals to purify and strengthen the physical body, enabling control of both our internal and external state of being. These were all formulated with the intent of preparing the body to be still in meditation. This is more like focusing in body and settling the mind. 

2. Karma 

Karma Yoga is the second path of practice. It is selfless service offered to others without attachment to the results. To truly practice Karma yoga the learner or teachers should performs all actions with the consciousness of Spirit as the doer of all. This requires inner renunciation and the release of the Ego which I and mine, believing it is the initiator of action

3. Mantra / Tantra

The third path is . This is the centering of consciousness within through the repetition of Sanskrit Bija mantra ( Seeds mantra) Man- innersole Tra- Repetition,  representing a particular aspect of Spirit.

For example would be SO HUM, meaning I am that. It is an affirmation of the unity of the individual self with Universal Self.  Or the Practice the AUM (OM) which is the sound of 3 state of human reality, merging into silence which is Self. A- Waken state, U- Dream state, M- Deep sleep state, and 4th one is silence state, no body no mint only consciousness.  

4. Bhakti 

The fourth path is Bhakti Yoga ( Bhakti means devotion) the practice of devotional love. Through Bhakti yoga we surrender self completely and strive to perceive the inherent oneness of all beings, maintaining unending worship of god you believe in, no human god with name, but the god which is you “I”am. 

Bhakti yoga is the path of pure immersion in love. Buddha ask to his followers to devote life in devotion of universe – 5 elements. Muslim do the same in name of Allah,And christian do in the name of Jesus Christ, and Hindu believes in everything is god. This is called Bhakti.

5. Jnana Yoga
Finally, the fifth path of practice, and the one said to be the most difficult. 

The attitude of  one-ness with the infinite. A spiritual practice that pursues knowledge with questions such as “who am I, what am I” among others. It is considered to be the most direct, but also the most difficult path to find absolute truth. But if we study Advaita Vedanta which believe that soul is not different from the god or consciousness, it believes you are the absolute and you are the god. 

6. Raja Yoga (The Royal Path)

Combining all of the above into one final and complete Raja Yoga is the practice described in the Ancient Hindu scripture Bhagwat Geeta (Song of the God) translated by the Indian ancient sage Patanjali who is also called the father of Patanjali Yoga Sutra.

The ancient text known as the yoga sutra is credited to Patanjali in which he outlines the all eight limbs of Yoga ( Astanga Yoga). These inner and outer practices all move toward a scientific method of of meditation that enables us to perceive our unity with the ever present, ever conscious, blissful self.

Eight Limbs of Yoga

  • Yama – Ethical behavior
  • Niyama – Spiritual practice
  • Asana – Physical poses
  • Pranayama – Breath control
  • Pratyahara – Turning our senses away from outside influence
  • Dharana – Concentration
  • Dhyana – Meditation
  • Samadhi – The ultimate state of consciousness and the goal of Hatha yog

 Yama moral qualities we need to cultivate in order to reconnect with our true unified nature.

  • Ahimsa(Non-violence)
  • Satya (Truthfulness)
  • Asteya (Non-stealing)
  • Bhramacharya (Self-control)
  • Aparigraha(Non-attachment)

The second limb comprises the Niyamas or observances that help us to integrate our inner and outer experience, helping us to establish a more harmonious life.

Yoga posture

They include:

  • Saucha (Purification)
  • santosha(Contentment)
  • Tapasya (Right effort)
  • Svadhyaha (Self-reflection)
  • Ishvara paridhana (Devotion to the god you believe)

Asana is next, the third limb. It is the practice of correct posture to create a stable physical body that can sit at ease in meditation. This practice is more common in western world.

The fourth limb is Pranayama, the management of  life force energy through the breath, environment and visualisation.


Pranayama is also one of the important part in Yoga, without pranayama yoga never become complete or purify. Breathing in oxygen and breathing out toxic from the body is very important part of human wellbeing according to yoga. ( one of the five elements) In west lots of people start teaching paranayam, by saying Yoga Breathing.

Prathayara is the fifth limb, and the practice of withdrawing from the sensory pull of the material world in order to shift inward toward stillness.

 Dharana Is the sixth limb The mind thinks about one object and avoids other thoughts; awareness of the object is still interrupted.” Dhāraṇā is the initial step of deep concentrative meditation, where the object being focused upon is held in the mind without consciousness wavering from it.

Dhayana is the seventh limb, the state of stillness where individual consciousness reunites with universal consciousness.

Samadhi is the Eight and final limb of yoga, the full and final yoga union sustained for all time, the ever-awakening bliss of pure awareness.

Samadhi is said to be a fourth kind of consciousness: it is beyond the states of waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep. Those who have witnessed it as an external phenomenon report that the experience appeared to have fallen into a kind of trance. The hair on the head and body stood erect. The half-closed eyes became fixed. Sometimes there was an astonishing loss of weight, or even levitation of the body from the ground. But these are mere symptoms, and tell us nothing. There is only one way to find out what samadhi is like: you must have it yourself.

“Yoga” Is union of all above.

Although, these various designations of practice may sound complicated, they all point to the true meaning of yoga, which is union.

The illusion of separation from our true nature is enormous so this may be a lifetime or more of practice, but each aspect of yoga benefits us physicallyemotionallymentally and spiritually as we go along.

Recognising one source of all consciousness and all creation, yoga as a philosophy can be practiced by anyone, of any religious faith or background. Yoga is not religion and do not ask for attain god, it only teaches self discovery and joyful life.

We can atleast follow some part of yoga, and understand fully what yoga means, then whatever you practice it won’t go wrong, yoga is not perfections it is living science, and for life time. Practice with harmony-producing directives for our daily life.

We pay to learn for our personal growth, then we must enquiry about true meanings of product and the Root of the knowledge, little knowledge can be dangerous, so try to get full knowledge, and then your choice, whats fits in your life.

Learn from authentic and real teachers who have spend their life to learn with passion this philoshopy and live according to yoga sutra, without experiencing ourself we don’t know the truth.

Finally people ask me do I teach Yoga? My answer is No because I am still learning and not living like a full Yogi, but I have understanding about yoga. I am learning Vedanta which is more profound to understand Prakriti ( universe) Life.

I can teach the Paranayam and meditation which I am doing from very young age and have depth knowledge about it.

Explaining Yoga.

My knowledge and practice in Ayurveda is main focus, I live life according to Ayurveda, focusing in wellbeing, that I can explain, teach.

For Ayurvedic massage and chikitsa you can email me – info@ganeshhealing.com