What is Yoga?

Article by Rashna Tjikhoeri

It is often thought that practicing Yoga revolves around practicing yoga postures.

In fact, yoga postures represent only a small part of what Yoga is.

A life philosophy that focuses on breathing, meditation and positive thinking, nutrition, relaxation, and yoga postures.

What Yoga really is?

At the base of Yoga, we find the Yoga Sutras. A recording of texts about what Yoga really is given to us by Patanjali.

In Yoga Sutra 1.2, Patanjali describes Yoga as:

“the ability to focus the mind exclusively on an object and maintain it without any distraction. The object of attention may be external to us or internally within us. It may be something in our interest, a concept or something that goes beyond what is perceived by our senses.”

What is Yoga
Image by Noah Rosenfield

According to Patanjali a derivation is created because our understanding of the object of attention is incomplete or because we do not recognize it correctly.

Prejudices and projections of our minds can prevent or disturb a complete understanding of the object of attention.

To fully understand this, it is important that you as a Yoga practitioner are aware of the five activities of the mind: understanding, misunderstanding, imagination, deep sleep and memory.

Each mental activity has its own characteristics which in turn affect our behavior and attitude and together form our personality.

Practicing Yoga without knowledge of the Yoga Sutras is like practicing an activity of which you do not know what is at the root of it.

The very foundation will enable us to deepen our practice and grow and develop ourselves.

For practicing Yoga it is important that the practitioner has knowledge of the breath and the mind.

When we practice Yoga from a beginner’s mind, we can experience and develop awareness from a state of ignorance, which leads to insight.

So this means that we have to acknowledge that from ignorance we can become aware and develop insights which we then can integrate in our personal practice of Yoga.

These insights often revolve around personal themes, which can then be deepened into themes that go beyond us and revolve around the core concept of our being and around the truth.

How one looks at these themes and how one experiences them, is a personal matter.

Our perception is colored by our past experiences. When we recognize this, all that we experience can be experienced from a beginners mind.

Only then are we able to deepen our own personal Yoga practice.

The basis of Yoga is awareness and consciousness.

When we integrate awareness and consciousness in our own personal Yoga practice, we can also integrate this knowledge in other areas of our lives. Which in turn makes it possible for us to deepen our personal growth and development.

In my next articles, I will share knowledge as written in the Yoga Sutras to create an understanding of Yoga, breath, and our mind, so that on can integrate this in their own personal Yoga practice.

Rashna Tjikhoeri
Rashna Tjikhoeri

Rashna Tjikhoeri lives in the Netherlands and is a Yoga, Meditation, and Yoga Nidra trainer and teacher, Transformation and Health & Detox Coach and freelance writer. Her biggest inspirations are Mother Nature and the classical Yoga philosophy. It’s her life’s mission to inspire others to live a conscious, happy, inspiring and fulfilling life from a place of love and light. Living in the present moment enjoying all the great gifts that life has to offer. Accepting oneself on the way whatever life presents us with on our journey. She believes that we already possess the knowledge and experience that’s required to live our soul purpose and that life events are there to remind us of what we already know on a deeper level. She believes that everyone is unique and that we can achieve great things as long as we are willing to see, hear and acknowledge our inner calling.