Actualizado: 29 de abr de 2020
A lot of books on yoga start with this very question and in many classes we hear our teachers revise the meaning of yoga, once and again. I think the reason why we keep coming back to this question is that, the more we experience in our practice, the more we can start to understand what yoga really is.
According to Pantanjali's Yoga Sutras, yoga is defined as "the restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff". Yoga is not something that we do, but something that we are, our real nature. Therefore, when you practice yoga, what you want to achieve is to experience something higher, that is part of you and that truly defines your essence.
In the Western World, we usually understand yoga as the practice of asanas (postures). But the practice of physical postures is only a first step to achieve a higher goal.
The benefits of asana practice are manyfold: it keeps the body healthy and supple, it activates the blood circulation and balances the energy flow.
Pranayama consists in a series of breath control techniques. Through them we can clean our energy channels (nadis), bring balance and relaxation to body and mind.
Long-term and consistentpranayama practice can have deep personal effects.Pranayama can change the way we normally breath and open new ways of perceiving the world around us.
Meditation is the ultimate goal in the yoga practice. In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the onlyasana mentioned is the seated posture, used for meditation.
Through different meditation techniques, we can bring more concentration, calmness and clarity to our minds and ultimately, learn more about our true Self.