“Yoga is a journey of the self, through the self, to the self.”
The definition of yoga: According to The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali it is labelled as Rāja yoga and defined as; citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ (the cessation of the perturbations of the mind). The Sanskrit root yuj, which means "to join" or "to yoke" or "unite" are all true by means of the literal transliteration, but... What is yoga really?
With the increasing popularity of Yoga skyrocketing throughout the world and across the internet, especially in the west, it is particularly important that we clarify this point:
That which we practice in studios, in gyms and places we gather, is largely known as “Hatha Yoga.” Hatha is a form of Raja Yoga which is but ONE single limb of the Eight Limbs of Yoga... the Asana (or posture).
In the practice of yoga asana, the student gently increases breath control to improve the health and function of both body and mind. These two systems of exercise and breathing then prepare the body and mind for meditation, and the student finds an easy approach to a quiet mind that allows silence and healing from everyday stress. Our thoughts, attitudes, mental states and intention can alter our stem cells and DNA, The mind and body are more mysterious than we can ever imagine. Taking time to calm the mind, stretch and challenge the body and cultivate awareness and forgiveness is an extremely powerful medicine. Regular, daily practice of all three parts of this structure of Yoga produce a clear, bright mind and a strong, capable body.
Yoga itself, in its whole magnificent practice is more than asana, more than meditation, more than breath...
Yoga is the knowledge of the self!