What is Yoga?

With the multitude of styles out there these days, how do we know when something is yoga?

Did you know that the word “yoga” itself has quite a mix of meaning? We might think of yoga as being the poses or practices, whereas my teacher from India might define it as meditation. But the root word is translated as “to yoke/to join” which makes it an action – the act of yoking/joining. Some texts define the root word as the union itself, the connection – a noun. But…the root for yoga comes from the piece of chain that linked an ox to its cart, as well as the technique of linking the ox to the cart. It’s the link itself along with the action of linking. It’s the process and the goal and everything in between.

Some texts and teachers will go further to define what we are meant to be linking. The union between body and mind. Between self and divine. Between movement and breath. But, if yoga is the link and the linking itself, then what an interesting question to ask “what do I want to link together?” If your practice serves as the link, then it’s yoga. Be it meditation, sun salutations, lying on a bolster, breathing, chanting, serving others…

For example, in my Franklin Method classes, for the moment you are embodying a specific area of the body – be it your sacrum or your pubococcygeus muscle – for that moment, you are just that. The FOCUS is the action as well as the goal. It’s the link and the linking!

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