What is Yoga?

“I think it is better I tell you what is not yoga. So much misinterpretation of the word has happened that speaking about what is not yoga is more relevant. Standing on your head, holding your breath or twisting your body is not yoga. Yes, these are various yogic practices, but when we say “yoga” we are referring to a certain state—a certain way of being. The word “yoga” means union.

Union means you begin to experience the universality of who you are. For example, today, modern science proves to you beyond any doubt that the whole Existence is just one energy manifesting itself in various forms. If this scientific fact becomes a living reality for you and you begin to experience everything as one, then you are in yoga. Once you experience yourself as everything, or everything as yourself, after that nobody has to tell you how to be in this world. If you experience all the people here as yourself, does anybody have to teach you morals as to how to be? Does anybody have to tell you “don’t harm this person, don’t kill this person and don’t rob this person?” So when you are in yoga, you experience everything as a part of yourself, and that is mukti; that is ultimate freedom.

Yoga is a science. Yoga has nothing to do with any particular religion. As there are physical sciences to create external wellbeing, yoga is the science for inner wellbeing. This yogic science is of utmost importance now, like never before, because today we have tremendous power in our hands. With modern science and technology, tomorrow if we want, we can flatten a mountain or city. When we have this much power in our hands, it is very, very important that we have an inner sense, an awareness of life, and that we experience life and everyone as part of ourselves. Otherwise, we can create a calamity for ourselves and the world around us—which right now we are doing to some extent. This has happened only because we have attended only to the external science. We have never looked at the inner science within us. Just as there is an external science to create external wellbeing, there is an inner science to create inner wellbeing.

Yoga  can  be  transmitted  on  many  different  levels.  One  is  towards  one’s  physical  and mental wellbeing which includes health and other aspects. Or it could be transmitted as  a  tool  for  ultimate  wellbeing;  in  the  sense,  you  can  use  this  system  as  a  stepping stone to go beyond. If you want, you can use this yoga just to get rid of your backache or  you  can  use  this  yoga  to  get  better  mental  focus  and  a  little  peace  of  mind  and happiness in your life, or you can use this yoga as a way of climbing up to the highest possibility within yourself.

Using yoga just for health is not wrong, but it is a crime, because it can be a ladder to the divine. It is a way of approaching the Creator through the Creation. It can take you to places where you have never imagined. It is my wish and blessing that you should know  the  joy  of  being  truly  well,  not  just  physical  wellbeing,  but  to  know  and  exude wellbeing in all dimensions of your existence.”

– Sadhguru