What is Yoga?

What is yoga?
No, I’m not going to do a book report or summarise this superb book because even if I tried, I would fail miserably. No summary can do justice to what is in this magnificent book. I bought it last month on Weiling’s recommendation and there’s never been a second of regret.
When I held the book in my hands, somehow I knew it would be life-changing. I couldn’t wait to read it!! The anticipation was overwhelming. The moment I stepped into the MRT, my eyes went into alert mode, searching the entire car and finally homing in on a quiet corner where I would not be disturbed. I quickly swooped in and started poring over the book. As I read, I began to understand why Weiling had recommended it. The book was and still is AWESOME!
The introduction itself was enough to floor me. What is Yoga? Such a simple question, yet with so complex an answer and so many different meanings. What struck me most, however, was this. “…it means the disciplining of the intellect, the mind, the emotions, the will”. The book goes on to explain that when the “…mind, intellect and self are under control, freed from restless desire, so that they rest in the spirit within, a man becomes a Yukta – one in communion with God.”
I’ve always considered myself very disciplined. To me there is a time for everything: work, play, rest. My life progresses like a well-oiled clock, tick tock tick tock. After reading ‘Light on Yoga’, it became clear that I am still very far away from it. I have yet to learn to discipline my mind, my emotions and my will. How to achieve this? According to the book, I have to “learn to still the restlessness of my mind, intellect and self through the practice of yoga” only then will I find fulfillment.
In this fast paced world where work and even our private lives have become competitive, how do we do that? How are we supposed to shut everything out and still the mind? My life is like a roller coaster ride now, with emotions going from way high to way low, but I will try my best to still my mind, emotions and will. I know that I am to achieve this through my yoga practice so why am I still searching for an answer? Searching for a quick way to achieving it maybe? I guess society has influenced me quite a bit, the fast-paced, mad challenge and competitive environment has moulded me to be like just like it. For now whilst my spirit is willing and yearning for fulfillment, I must admit that my mind and body is weak.
But I know that one day, when I am ready, it will come. Until then, I shall try to continue my practice diligently and hope to achieve the real meaning of Yoga “– a deliverance from contact with pain and sorrow.”
1. BKS Iyengar, Light on Yoga. Harper Collins Pubslishers, 2010, pp 19-20.
Natalie Lim
200hrs Weekend YTTC, Jul-Oct 2013

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