Frequently Asked Questions
What is Yoga?
Downward Facing Dog
Starting with today's post, I will be writing about some of the most common 'frequently asked questions' related to yoga from time to time. I will start by answering the most important and the obvious question, "what is yoga?"
If you look up the word "yoga" in the Monier-Williams Sanskrit dictionary you will find close to 40 different meanings listed. Going through this list, you will realize that the meaning depends largely on the context in which it is used. It is fair to assume that the meaning has evolved throughout history.
As an example, in one of the most revered texts, The Bhagavad Gita, the word yoga has been used in the title of each of the eighteen chapters of the book. For example, the first chapter is titled, "Arjuna-vishada Yoga" (Yoga of Arjuna's despondency). Here the word yoga is used to indicate Arjuna's state of mind on the battlefield.
How often should I practice yoga?
The simple answer is - Every Day! Yes, to get the full benefit of your yoga practice, it is important to establish an ongoing daily practice. Remember the definition of "practice (abhyasa)" as per Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras, "Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break and in all earnestness." (Sutra 1.14).
I am just too busy - how do I find time for yoga?
The simple fact is that the practice of yoga can actually "generate" more time for you during the day.
Let me explain...
The most common statements I here are - "I have very tight deadlines at work", "I am too stressed out", "Since the company fired a few people, I am now doing two people's work" etc. Yes, I agree that the work life has become more complex and demanding these days. But despite all these pressures, the fact is that we are not able to give our undivided attention to the tasks at hand. We are easily distracted by frequent phone calls, email messages, text messages etc. Because we feel overwhelmed by the amount of work, we are also stressed out. When we are stressed out, our mind cannot stay focused. When we are not focused, the same task can actually take much longer to complete than when we can stay focused.