Yog: Beyond Health, Meeting Yourself!

The moment one mentions Yog (incidentally I prefer this original term to Yoga, the moderns gave it) people tend to think of those torturous contortions of the body referred to as ‘asanas’.

Nothing could be further away from truth. Asana or physical poses are merely the starting point, the first step in the journey that could lead to the ultimate destination; self-realisation.

Yog has seen tremendous popularity in recent times taking it way beyond a fad into becoming a part of the pop culture. And here in lies the greatest risk; that of its true essence being completely missed and people left clinging to the superficial diluted & often distorted popular form.

Yog is a complete way of life, focusing on every single aspect – from a human being’s personal existence, day to day living, behaviour, code of ethics, cleanliness of body & mind, his relationship with the society to the healthy development of the body, mind & spiritual faculties.
It is in fact one amongst the six major philosophical systems of ancient India, the others being Vedanta, Sankhya, Nyaya, Mimansa and Vaisheshika.

It is the most holistic philosophy of life. How an entire life can be lived to be healthy, happy, blissful and finally culminating in nirvana or enlightenment.

The word ‘Yog’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’ meaning ‘to bind, fuse, yoke, a union or communion’. At the basic level it does signify the meeting of body and mind, slowly evolving into the more spiritual realms.

But it does have a more evolved meaning too. According to the Hindu philosophy all existence is permeated with a Supreme Universal Spirit (Paramatma) of which the human spirit is a part (Atma). The analogy often given is that of the ocean and the wave. Yog is the method for the wave to go back & become a part the ocean. For the atma to move back towards its roots parmatma, thus liberating it from the miserable cycle of birth, death & rebirth, resulting in moksha.
Yog, incidentally has nothing to do with religion. In fact nowhere in his entire treatise ‘Yog Sutra’ does the sage Patanjali ever use the word ‘Hindu’ or any religious connotation. This is the difference between spiritualism & religion. Yog is unadulterated, pure spiritualism.

(I shall dwell further on these aspects in the next post. Do leave your comments to serve me as guideposts)



  1. Brilliant sir..yes people now just associate Yog with asanas and pranayams ( courtesy Baba Ramdev) but the real meaning of Yog as you said is spiritual , non duality.

    Also, Spirituality is something which people in cities think is for someone who lives in forests, himalayas, and mediates for hours. Where it is actually very simple fact(knowledge) which everyone can imbibe in their daily lives. Do dwell a bit on that.

    Looking forward to reading more stuff on this from Chief 🙂

  2. it was a indeed a piece to savour . A piece that you cannot just skim through but you have to peruse and ruminate upon to gradually let the nuances sink in.
    be our guest to take us ahead on this spiritual journey 🙂

  3. Hi Sanjay – Well actually this was exactly what Meeta – my friend from Calcutta whom I had brought over to your place was trying to put together. She called it Raj Yog and aside from spirituality she was confident this would enhance accurate personal intuitivism. Please keep up with the research to keep us updated on your findings. Sure makes for inspiring reading 🙂

  4. “Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are.” – Jason Crandell

    Perfect description of what Yog actually is. I agree with your views Sanjay ji. Though Im not a gyani of Yog but I do know few people who practice this art daily. I dont know how many will agree but I feel there is a positive aura around these people. I feel it. And I love it.

    Awaiting for more inputs on real Yog and not Yoga 🙂

    Keep writing,

  5. i agree, yog is to join, to be one with The One.
    that One is within and you are within that One 🙂
    it is so simple, but as all simple things, the most difficult to understand.

    waiting for ur next posts on the topic!
    and i would like to reply to Rahul, Baba Ramdev is often misunderstood. we should give more thought to the man and what he is doing, not only for the physical aspects of yoga and health, but for the spiritual health of the nation as well.

  6. Peaceful!
    That’s what I am feeling after reading this post. Its so amazing that we, human always strive for the material when all we need to do is to look into ourself for that peace, the happiness and the contentment.
    Looking for more

    Nisha Arppit.

  7. This is great stuff…reminds me of the brahmakumaris lessons -who eventually propose the same atma parmatma theory with more emphasis on the soul..they are based out of laxminagar in nagpur…would love to read more on this..indeed good read sanjay..

  8. Very nicely and lucidly explaining article. On one hand, Yog has nothing to do with has nothing to do with religion, provided you just keep yourself to health only. On the other hand however, it is the most helping step in the Yatra of Atman. Yog makes mind and brain healthy. As 90% of metabolism of our body depends on brain, the fitness of the body is a corollary.

    Asana, the very basic pioneering steps of the full course of Yog, is merely like practicing writing in preschool. In our lives Yog, as I remember, just happened as a tradition followed by many families. It is no wonder and surprising that we threw it with our dung! for foreigners to find it, treat it, and then return it back to us teaching the lessons of Yog.

  9. Brilliant writing Sanjay! Surely a piece that initiates introspection and philosophical discussion. I totally agree with you on this score that YOG is more than just a way of treating and being kind to the human body where a physical practice of the art subjects every nerve, muscle and bone to a process of rejuvenation…it is intrinsically a way of life, an approach to the totality of the individual’s subjective and objective experience!
    Fortunately for me I am currently reading Surendranath Dasgupta’s ‘A History of Indian Philosophy’ where the paradigm of spiritualism considered to run parallel with that of religion has been clearly shown to have evolved independently and is certainly more desirable to have as the ultimate truth and the ultimate goal of one’s existence.
    Your writing will appeal to all as it seems to lead to some sort of self realization.

  10. Extremely well written! My compliments, Sanjay!
    Amongst other things, thanks for retaining the original term “Yog”. Its a pity that we Indians, still not out of post-colonial hangover, keep using westernized forms of our own nouns, eg “Lord Rama” instead of “Ram”, “Lord Krishna” instead of “Krishna”.

  11. Interesting article. I’ve tried yog (I admit it’s tough to shift from ‘yoga’ to ‘yog’) just once in the past, but would like to try it again. I’ve often wondered about whether one can practise yog without subscribing to hindu philosophy. Your post settled that debate for me. Look forward to reading about your post on spirituality and religion as separate value/belief systems.

  12. Beautifully written. I too practice Yog / Yoga…..Its really leaves me fresh n rejuvenated n gives me strength from within. Yes its spiritual not religious..Bcoz it is practiced by entire world nowadays irrespective of religion, community, caste, creed, race or colour….I think everyone should take out sometime to practice Yog / Yoga for the betterment of his / her life…

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