Yoga is a science of body and mind which comprises a wide range of practices. It has its origins in India although it has been very much accepted and applied in the West. It is a thoroughly practical system which can profoundly help people in both everyday living and in exploring the deeper aspects of life.
In the present era there is an almost obsessive tendency for human endeavour to be completely concerned with outside activities. Everything in society, from advertising to television, is orientated towards outside aspiration and achievement. Our education system only commends and aims for outer success in work or business. Moreover, any tendency to introspect is regarded as abnormal.
The result is imbalance in our lives. We have no idea what is going on inside us, how our minds function and where we are going on our life’s journey. Modern life tends to create intellectual giants but emotional pygmies - instead of wisdom we encourage only factual knowledge. This is one of the main reasons why there is so much mental turmoil and dissatisfaction. Yoga helps to rectify this imbalance, so that, whilst continuing our daily life and duties, we also delve into ourselves and start to understand how we function and who we are.
In the West it is often solely the physical postures (asanas) that are taught in yoga classes, promoting health and physical well being and counteracting the stresses of life. This is certainly a valid aspect of yoga but there is also much to be gained from other practices. These can awaken in people true wisdom, joy and compassion.
If we look a little more deeply at yoga practices and aims, we discover a truly wonderful system for inner exploration and personal evolution. The word yoga means 'to yoke' or 'to unite'. Using the principles it has to offer, an individual can begin to balance all aspects of his or her Being - physical, emotional, mental and spiritual - all necessary ingredients for living a truly enriched, fulfilling and harmonious life.