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