What is Yoga? Yoga is commonly understood to be physical gymnastics – the mere practice of breathing exercises or Pranayama, meditation techniques or Dhyana, physical exercises and postures or Asanas. Of course, these are parts of Ashtanga Yoga or the Eight Limbs of Yoga, but in reality this is not Yoga. The role of Asanas or meditation is a part of the overall Yogic experience, but Yoga means something entirely different.
Yoga is “Yuj” or Union – Union with God. It is the ability to detach oneself from the world and connect with God. It is building a connection with God. Just as a SIM card, pinging for the satellite discovers its own network, and then follows the network wherever it goes, similarly, being in Yoga means being in constant union with God and never disconnecting from God. One who is connected to God grows closer to God and finally achieves God. A true seeker of God tries to remain in Yoga at all times.
The science behind Yoga is to experience the true joy and bliss that comes from the union with the higher power. However, the world has understood Yoga to be a lifestyle solution for wellness – for attaining a fit body and mind. Yoga is also understood to be the union of body, mind and Soul. Sure, Yoga is good for the body and mind, but the bigger question is – Are we the body-mind complex? The one who is on a quest, realizes that he is not the body or the mind. He discovers the deeper meaning of Yoga and uses it as the foundation for self-realization, Liberation and Enlightenment.
Yoga can be practised in four ways – Karma Yoga or Yoga of Action, Bhakti Yoga or Yoga of Devotion, Jnana Yoga or Yoga of Education and Dhyana Yoga or Yoga of Meditation. These four ways help us to build a union with that Omniscient Power and as long as we are in Yoga, connected or in union with God, it doesn’t matter what type of Yoga we are in. Therefore, one need not specifically separate the four channels of Yoga. Bhakti Yoga can lead to Karma Yoga, just as Dhyana Yoga or Silence and Meditation can lead to Jnana Yoga. The four different forms of Yoga must create an uninterrupted and continuous connection with God. If this happens, one is on the path to Liberation and achieves the ultimate goal of life.
While spiritual aspirants continue to remain in Yoga, living with faith, hope and enthusiasm, the common man of the world doesn’t live in a state of Yoga, rather lives in Bhoga, which means that he lives with desires, cravings, expectations, and passion. This is opposite to the path of spiritual enlightenment. This makes one sink into the world of pleasures. Finally, it is up to us to choose between Yoga (union with God) or Bhoga (to live with desires). The choice is ours.