The word “Yoga” in Sanskrit means “to yoke”, which means "to unit." “VaShi” means “The Controller.” So, to practice VaShi Yoga means “to unify with the Controller.”
As the modern world of Yoga develops and takes many forms, it can be hard to connect with the roots of this vast science.
All of Yogic philosophy and practice stems from an original intent—an original, defining purpose.
To define Yoga without the boundaries and points of view around modern philosophies, practices, postures, schools, etc., is to reach into our special existence as human beings, and the true meaning and purpose of that existence.
But before we examine or expand on the term “Yoga,” we need to ask ourselves the two most important questions a human being can ask:
- Why are we here?
- What is our purpose?
These questions have mystified and enticed us through the ages.
Yet their answers were verifiably attained by the ones known as Yogis: human beings who dedicate their lives to the clear aim of knowing and embodying Life’s true purpose for the benefit of all.
To seek these answers, Yogis always focus on the three fundamental, essential and universally agreed-upon aspects that have the foundational pillars of Yogic philosophy and enlightened activity for at least 7,000 years:
- Consciousness. We all experience natural awareness. Yoga focuses on expanding this.
- Energy. Like all other beings, human beings breathe (respirate). We recognize that life is dependent upon breath. Yoga focuses on expanding the breath because the Life Force (prana) “rides” the breath.
- Matter. All beings have some form of embodiment/senses. This allows us to observe, respond, analyze, and draw conclusions about ourselves and the experiential world. Yoga focuses on expanding and purifying our experience of embodiment.
In VaShi Yoga, simultaneously putting our focus on all three of these components of Life—Consciousness, Energy, and Matter—is seen as essential to Yogic practice. Many other Yogic traditions and “enlightenment paths” focus on only one or two of these (especially Consciousness).
Fundamentally speaking, “focusing” or “placing our attention” (avadhana is intense, focused attention) on these components of Life is the sole purpose of Yoga. At Hridaya Hermitage, we do this while performing asanas (postures), pranayamas (life-force expansion practices) and meditation during our formal practice times. We also maintain attention on Life throughout our daily activities, like washing dishes, repairing a building or driving a car.
Why does Yoga advocate this practice, and only this? Because, by the laws of attraction and the power of attention, what we put our attention on grows and expands. By putting our attention on Life, our Life expands—we grow and expand!
Engaging in this simple but profound practice with the precisely correct intention is how Yogis have achieved extreme longevity, amazing vitality, “supernatural” powers and even immortality (the Divya Deha or Diamond Body).
Why is Yoga all about expanding Life? Because it is the innate, deepest desire of every human being to realize our true nature and reach our true potential.
But the benefit of Yoga doesn’t stop at individual human beings achieving wondrous realization and true fulfillment. As Yogis expand and enhance Life, they naturally emanate that experience to all beings—giving all beings more Life, too!
This is how we are designed by our Creator to help ourselves, one another and all Life.
This is the fruition of Life and the true purpose of all human beings.