What is Yoga?

All over the globe more and more people are discovering yoga. Especially in the western world many new yoga schools and stores are popping up catering to people’s needs. Yoga has become a trend, yet, few are aware of the deeper meaning behind it. Social media portray the impression that the goal of yoga is to perform the fanciest poses in trendy leggings. This often creates the misunderstanding that only the most trained and flexible ones are able to practice yoga.

However, the physical aspect is only one fraction of this holistic practice. Our body is just a tool to create a smooth flow of energy and to experience our body-mind-connection. Through yogic practices we aim at creating space in our mind and in our body, so that energy can move freely. Once we are able to calm our mind, love and inner peace are arising from within. So the goal of yoga is self-love, being love and spreading love around the world.

At Prana Veda Bali we practice traditional Yoga with a holistic and profound approach, aiming at creating and sustaining balance between body and mind and unveiling the layers most of us have built around our heart.

We are living a yogic and ayurvedic lifestyle in community, practicing loving kindness, awareness and consciousness.

What does the word Yoga actually mean?

Yoga is a Sanskrit word. Sanskrit is the ancient language of India, in which
all Indian philosophy as well as all yogic texts are written. The basic yogic text (196 Yoga sutras) was created by the sage Patanjali, about 2500 years ago.

So, the meaning of the Sanskrit word Yoga is “union” or “to join”. Joining means making one out of two or more.

But, union in what way?

There are different layers of the idea of union.

It can be referred to the union of people. This is demonstrated by practicing Yoga as a community, encountering each other with compassion and without judgment, seeing the light within others and ourselves, learning egolessness and realizing that together we are part of something bigger. Usually we begin and end a class with “Namaste”, which means “the divine in me greets the divine in you and thus, I know that we are one”. This also shows the idea of universal sister- and brotherhood.

Furthermore, Yoga is about self-development and self-realization. The tools we have for this are the body and the mind. Since physical imbalances are mostly related to mental imbalances and vice versa, understanding that body and mind are correlated and creating balance within these dimensions is key. The conscious breath is a tool to connect body and mind.

Another layer is the universal consciousness joining the individual consciousness, the body-mind-complex. In other words, the individual person as energy aims at becoming one with the divine energy. Thus, the ultimate goal of Yoga is reaching wholeness, fulfillment, happiness, unconditional love for oneself and others, freedom and peace which leads to enlightenment or to awakening.

So, in a nutshell, what is the goal of Yoga?

It can be said that the goal of yogic practices is a smooth energy flow within our body, which allows us to direct our attention inwards. By observing our thoughts, we become aware of them, reflect on them, are able to let go of old belief systems and obtain new perspectives. Due to the balance between our mind and our body, we reveal our true nature, regain our sense of basic trust and unfold self-love – which is the basis of all love there is.

What does Yoga as a holistic approach comprise?

Yoga goes far beyond the physical level. It’s a way of living life and comprises self-reflection, self-awareness, mindfulness, health conscious nutrition (Ayurveda), maintaining physical and mental health through asana practice (physical movements), meditation, breathing techniques, cleansing techniques and mantra chanting. Yoga is a holistic approach and unites every aspect of life.

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