The word Yoga derives from the Sanskrit root Yug, which means union. Union of what? Initially of the body, mind and breath. Through the techniques of Yoga and regular practice (called abhyasa) we begin to become aware of this union, gradually we also begin to perceive the most subtle part of us, the spiritual one. This is the second union. When the union between body, mind, breath and spiritual component is consolidated, little by little the awareness of the fact that this spiritual part is not isolated, closed in us, but is part of a much wider reality, of cosmic breath. The union of the Divine present in each of us with the Divine Cosmic is the ultimate goal of Yoga.
Obviously, such an ambitious goal cannot be achieved quickly and without commitment. This is why the ancient Indian sages, the rishis, have handed down to us for thousands of years a whole set of techniques, physical, mental and spiritual that gradually help to improve the level of physical health, respiratory efficiency, general energy and awareness of self. This set of physical, respiratory, mental and spiritual disciplines, which aim to bring man back to his divine origin, is what we call Yoga.
Over the millennia Yoga has been a highly esoteric discipline, reserved for a small number of followers. Only in the second half of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries did some great masters, such as Swami Vivekananda, Ramana Maharshi, Yogananda Paramahansa and Swami Sivananda, begin to reveal the increasing teachings of Yoga to an ever-growing number of people interested, especially in West. Inevitably this great diffusion led, in a second step, in part to a dilution of the teachings, in part to an alteration of the same, in the belief (not always in good faith) that Yoga could be ‘modernized’ or ‘improved’ .
In reality Yoga is a system so complete that it maintains its philosophical and spiritual power over the millennia precisely because it has remained unchanged, faithful to an orthodoxy that is not pure conservatism, but awareness of being a discipline born from the direct experience of rishi of the past, a discipline born perfect and therefore unchangeable.
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