Yoga in Sanskrit means “yoking” or “union”. And it is defined as a union of body, mind and spirit.
The type of Yoga that is recognized by Westerners is the series of physical postures (asanas) that strengthen and make the body more flexible. This form of yoga is referred to as Hatha Yoga.
The word "Hatha" is a Sanskrit combination of two words: Ha(sun) and Tha (moon), which is the union of two opposites. The quality of the sun is heat, masculinity, effort and the qualities of the moon coolness, femininity and surrender.
The practice of yoga brings together the opposites into harmonious union, a place in the middle. It helps to find center and balance. Yoga brings awareness and the ability to be still.
For new yogis, the main focus is on postures. The opening, the strengthening, and the aligning of the body clears the subtle energy channels (nadis). The cleansing then enhances the flow of lifeforce (prana).
For experienced yogis, the practice effects the mental and spiritual layers by calming the mind and awakening the inner intelligence throughout the body.
Every day on the yoga mat is new and different: our body feels different, our breath has different quality and speed, and our mind has a different level of calmness.
The Japanese Zen Monk Suzuki once said: “In the beginner’s eye there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few”. That is why it is so important to stay present in your yoga practice. The present is always different, never the same. Being present means being connected and awake.
And that way our practice becomes a component part on the path to living a more healthier, fulfilling, and awakened life.