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What is yoga? What will it do for me?

People’s views of this can be as varied as fingerprints!

The recent explosion of yoga’s popularity around the globe has portrayed yoga in so many various shades and colours that finding the most authentic yoga may pose (no pun intended) a challenge. So what gives yoga its authenticity? Is there such a thing as the original yoga, and the original yoga teacher?

In studying the ancient Sanskrit texts in which the word yoga first appeared, one observes that its usage was quite broad. Contrary to what some may think, the definition of yoga was not restricted to the bodily postures most of the western world associates it with, but rather, it encompassed a wide range of ways to connect with one’s highest potential. It also expanded beyond that into descriptions of what such evolved states of being felt like.

Thus, those who first used the word yoga regarded it as a highly complex term. Their definition of yoga was expansive and included not only the process of yoga but the outcome as well.

In ancient yoga texts, the various means whereby one practiced yoga directly merged with the aims of those very practices. It’s as if yoga were asking us not to worry about time, or about what yoga can do for us, or where it can take us, but to simply be in the present moment with our yoga practice.

For in addition to asana and pranayama, yoga according to the Bhagavad Gita is:

1.Clear, discerning, totally voluntary, dynamic participation in one’s life.

2.Everlasting, primal, revealing, the archetypal light and fueled by love.

3.Sacrifice that elevates us, motivates us, informs us, actively engages us and does so in a manner that is harmonious to all other living beings.

4.Selfless, cleansing, freeing, balancing, inspiring, and joyfully performed actions based on a 5.vision in which one experiences peaceful interconnectedness with all life around them.

6.Nourished in the company of other yoga practitioners, by offerings of love, and the understandings they give rise to.

7.Heightened sensitivity and awareness of all life around us and within us, and an outpour of love in reciprocation with life’s wonder and beauty.

8.Fearless, illuminating, and a journey that does not end with death.

9.Vision that excludes nothing from its practice.

10.Intimate connection with the whole universe, with eternal realms even beyond the manifested universe, and with our own being’s endless capacity to love.

11.Pure, determined force that moves us toward the mysterious and secret, and connects us with the wonderfulness of existence, of being and of all life.