What is Yoga? Part 2

Om sweet Om

Yoga is compared with the different disciplines of Psychology, Art, Science, Education and Philosophy.

How do we get to know ourselves? One of the ways is comparison.  We will use this method to understand more about Yoga. We will try to drawn parallels between Yoga and disciplines we know and practice in modern life. This might make the task of understanding the all encompassing nature of this unique system easier.


Yoga is value education and ethical training

In ancient India the concept of education was progressive. While knowledge was respected, the highest honour was paid to wisdom. Yoga became a system of value based ethical education. The focus was not on learning by rote but on gaining insights in to the nature of the body, mind, nature and universe.

Yoga is a practical science

A mystic is one who attains spiritual heights spontaneously. There are only a few who are so fortunate. The rest of us have the possibility to explore and attain these spiritual heights through study and daily practice. The yogis explored and recorded their internal experiments. Over centuries these developed in to a science with its own precise technical language.

Yoga is the psychology of the east

Modern psychology can be said to be the study of the pathological mind. While progressive streams of psychology today are also undertaking the study of the healthy mind, this study has been developed in to a complete science in Yoga. Already over 2000 years ago ancients Vedic texts in particular the Mandukya Upanishad, analysed the mind and divided the states of consciousness in to waking, dreaming and sleep. Samkhya, the metaphysical foundation of Yoga analyses the mind, its functions and states, the senses and their relation to the mind and the environment.

Yet the spiritual teacher is not to be confused with a psychotherapist. The authentic teacher will teach you self counselling and make you independent.

Yoga is a philosophy of life

There is no parallel in the modern world to this practical philosophy of life. Therefore, even yoga philosophy is in fact a misnomer. The masters of yoga have called it "darshan". Darshan means literally "to see". This implies the yoga leads to insights, experiences that change the way we see. It is not a dry intellectual study.

Yoga is an art of living

When the science of the mind, the philosophy of life and the psychology of the east merges with daily life and living the yogi becomes an artist, a poet and a sculptor. Like the divine artist all that he conceives of turns in to art. He consciously shapes his life in to a thing of beauty.

There is unfortunately no simple explanation, for this ancient and classical system that leads to the acme of human development, is complex and all encompassing.


Meeta from Bengaluru:
Profound and deep meaning word yoga explained in a simple manner. The article has helped me to understand that yoga is not only a discipline but how yoga can help us to live our life in a meaningful way.

Suravi from Nepal:
Reading this article has made my belief even stronger that yoga science is complete in itself. It is indeed an art of living to consciously shape our life into a thing of beauty and joy. Those who tread this path and have a guidance from a teacher is indeed very fortunate and blessed.

Manisha from USA:
I love the emphasis on "the study of the HEALTHY mind" and "self-counseling"! Regarding the word "darshan", I appreciate your sharing how the yogis used this word not only in the way that it is used in everyday language, but also to describe how seeing within changes our way of viewing the world around us. Just this very moment, it made me think of how the word "insight" truly is an in-sight ... a sight within.

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