Yoga is one of the most popular physical and spiritual practice today. Everyone has their own reason as to why they practice Yoga – for health, out of curiosity, as a fad, due to a friend's recommendation or just because it felt good.With every individual having a different reason for doing Yoga, their answer to the very basic question – 'What is Yoga?'
Yoga originated in Bharathavarsha (India). What the rest of the World knows as India is Bharathavarsha, or Bharath for us.
Bha means to shine, to be luminous; ratha means charming, captivating.
Bharatha is a someone or something that is shining and luminous; a person who is charming and captivating.
To say just one name as the founder of Yoga or the creator of Yoga, is very difficult. Our scriptures provide some clues as to where it all came from, but to conclusive say one single name would be unfair and to a great deal incorrect.
Regarding the lifestyle of the people during the time of origin of yoga, it is said that Bharathavarsha was very rich in its material wealth and the people were totally satisfied with their desires of the outer world and its contents.
Yoga is not an ordinary, a causal, a health-club or a wellness centre body-oriented practice. Yoga is a broad vision. Yoga is spiritual. Yoga is a deep practice.
The word Yoga comes from the root Yuj which means to join. Yuj is a Samskrit term. Yuj basically means to join the individual soul with the Supreme soul. So, Yoga means to join the individual soul which is at a lower level or gross level with the Supreme Soul which is at a higher level, that is, the ever total or the complete idea of the Supreme Spirit.
Yoga is known as Abhyasa Shastra, a discipline of practice.
In Yoga, practice is the main idea or the prominent theme. What is practised and attained in Yoga is by Sadhana and Anushtana.
Philosophy, that is, tattva jnana is a true state, condition. Tattva jnana is the essential nature.
The philosophy of Yoga is to realize the Brahman, the Absolute. This Brahman is the essential nature of Yoga and its practice. This Brahman is realized in various ways and forms, and in different modes of practice.
The individual is a spark of this Supreme. By the practice of Yoga the individual can get the glimpse of this Supreme.
Therefore, broadly you can say that there are two ways to do Yoga - one, there is a work to be done and two, there is the union of the two consciousness.