Definition, Meaning and Uses • Basics of Yoga
You’ve probably heard the term yoga before—perhaps in a yoga class, on a health blog, or from a friend who’s into mindfulness. But what does this term mean and how is it commonly used? Essentially, anything that is “yogic” refers to the practice or philosophy of yoga. So when someone says they are taking a “yogic approach” to a problem, it means they are using yogic principles like mindfulness, non-judgment and compassion to guide their actions and decisions. Or if a product is marketed as “yogic,” it could mean that it’s designed to support a yoga lifestyle, such as a meditation cushion or mat made from natural materials.
Definition and Meaning of Yoga
The word “yogic” is an adjective derived from the term yoga, a Sanskrit word that translates as “yoke” or “union.” Yogic is most often used to describe a practice or action that creates a union of body, mind, soul, and universal consciousness. It can also be applied to philosophical ideas and physical objects.
Common use of the word yoga
People usually use the word yoga in different ways. In modern usage, it is often used to describe anything related to the practice of yoga, such as clothing or other commercial goods. Traditionally, the term was used to refer to the ancient practices and principles of yoga. Below are the most common uses of the word yoga:
1. Yogic asanas or poses
Yoga postures, also known as asanas, are an integral part of hatha yoga practice. These are physical postures that promote strength, flexibility, and balance of body and mind. Asanas are not only physical exercises, but also involve breathing, concentration and mindfulness. They create harmony between different layers of the body and ensure a state of inner peace, balance and well-being.
2. Yogic breathing
Yogic breathing, known as pranayama, involves special breathing techniques that promote relaxation, focus, vitality and general well-being. By controlling the breath, a yogi can change the body’s energy, which in turn affects the mind and emotions. A yogi can choose yoga breathing techniques such as ujjayi breathing, kapalbhati breathing or nadi shodhana breathing to experience their particular benefits for the mind, energy or physical body.
3. Yogic philosophy
Yoga philosophy encompasses a wide range of teachings, including ethics, metaphysics, psychology, and spirituality. The best-known tenets of yoga philosophy include the eight limbs of yoga, which include ethical principles such as nonviolence, truthfulness, and non-attachment. The metaphysical aspects of yoga philosophy explore the nature of reality and the universe, while the psychological teachings provide insight into the workings of the mind and emotions. The spiritual teachings of yoga philosophy offer practitioners a way to connect with the divine and experience a deep sense of inner peace and tranquility.
4. Yogic diet
Ayurveda, an ancient Indian system of medicine, recommends a yogic diet based on the principles of yoga and the philosophy of the doshas. The Yogic Diet is designed to help a person achieve a state of balance and harmony with their body and mind.
This diet focuses on whole, fresh and natural plant foods that are easily digestible and promote optimal health and well-being. It discourages the consumption of processed and refined foods, meat, fish, dairy products, caffeine and alcohol. The yogic diet also involves mindful eating, which means eating slowly, chewing thoroughly, and being present while eating. The basic principle of a yogic diet is to consume food that promotes balance and harmony of body, mind and spirit.
5. Yogic way of life
The goal of the yoga lifestyle is to achieve maximum balance, harmony and inner peace both on and off the mat. By applying the principles, philosophy, and practices of yoga to your daily life, you can develop a more mindful and conscious lifestyle. This includes eating a healthy and balanced diet, practicing meditation and mindfulness, developing a positive and compassionate mindset, following the yamas and niyamas, and creating a soothing home environment.
6. Yogic body
This term refers to the non-physical body that has been strengthened and purified through the practice of yoga. The yogic body includes subtle energy centers (chakras), nadis or energy channels, and the prana or life force that flows through them. Yoga practices such as asanas, pranayama and meditation aim to cleanse and balance the yogic body for optimal health, vitality and spiritual growth.
7. Yoga classes
Yoga studies are concerned with understanding the principles, teachings, and practices that underlie the yogic tradition. Yoga studies covers a range of theoretical and practical aspects of yoga, including the philosophy, ethics, and theology of the tradition. Reading and understanding yogic texts such as the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita is an important part of this field of study. It also includes the intellectual and scientific study of yoga techniques such as asanas, pranayama and meditation. The purpose of studying yoga is to deepen our understanding of yoga and its transformative effects on mind, body, and spirit.