On Yoga Terms and Philosophy: What is Yoga?

On Yoga Terms and Philosophy: What is Yoga?
[First article in a series]
by Alice Koh


Yoga is now on everyone's lips. Hundreds of books have been written about it.

Yoga in English means to yoke or bind. To bind the mind of man with the mind of God.

The best symbol that I can think of that defines Yoga is the worldwide known symbol of the Yin and Yang; the fusion of contrary forces in harmonious co-existence.

Do you know how many systems in our body work so seamlessly in order that we can function as a living and breathing intellectual being? There are 12 systems! Circulatory, respiratory, digestive, excretory, nervous, endocrine, immune, integumentary, lymphatic, skeletal, muscular and reproductive systems. Now you have a better idea of how miraculous our body is. This connection and the precision of harmony is Yoga.

The brain is our command center and the operating system. When it is disconnected, the body loses its connectivity to the different units of the body. Each cannot function on its own.

When a person thinks negatively, it will not be long before the body starts to disintegrate.

Our connection to the universe has been well and scientifically established. As above, so below. To put it simply, the same iron particles found in an asteroid are the same iron particles found in your blood.

We are also very connected and inter-related to this world and to one another. You plant a seed and it matures into a tree that bears fruits. You eat the fruit. The fruit sustains you with its nutrients. And one day, our body will become food to other sentient beings on earth.

I am this body. I am my name. I am my designation. I am my station in life. I AM. You identify the "I" as an ownership of your Self. But this body is made of many components working harmoniously together.

Take away one part like a leg and you are no longer harmonious. Yet, I can still say I AM.

So, my body cannot define me.

Then who or what are you? You are pure spiritual consciousness.

Visualize yourself floating in the air on fluffy white clouds. You look back down at yourself lying on the yoga mat in Shavasana. How is it possible that your physical body is here and yet your mind could carry you away outside yourself independently of your body?

Now travel within your body in a vessel on the river of your blood. Visit your beating heart, the growling stomach and see firsthand how the systems work in synchrony with one another.

Do you know that the Universe is aware of itself?

Look at this fly. Look how it looks at me. It is aware of my presence. It is aware, I will assume, of my intents towards it. Look, I will lift my hand, and it flies off. Yes?

How do I know that it too is conscious of me? Because it reacts as I would if I were to come under such threat.

Now back to the universe. Look at how orderly the planets behave. So precise that we can deduce when the next earth lunar eclipse will occur.

Look at how the trees seek the heat of the sun. Are they aware?

So, you see everything is awareness. Not just we humans. Kick a dog and the dog will feel the same pain if someone were to hit you in the stomach. Yet, we think that we are so special. So unique. We treat everything outside us as mere machines.

Now think, we live on this earth along with the trees and animals. What will happen if all trees die off? How long do you think we can survive without them? What if the moon moves further away from us, what will happen to the waters of the oceans?

What Yoga does is it brings you into harmony with everything around you.

You see the sun and you feel its heat. It is affecting you physically and emotionally. You seek the shade under a tree. How can this thing that is millions of miles away from you have such an effect on you?

Also, do you know that this heat that is touching you left the sun hours ago? What you are seeing and feeling is an old sun. Not only that, but when you actually see the sun, you are touching the sun with your eyes, and the sun is touching you too. There is a physical connection here.

The connection link is your awareness or rather, awareness that is not here inside of you, but everywhere.

Remain in this focus of concentration for a few minutes.

The sun and you are linked by an awareness!