“As a well cut diamond has many facets, each reflecting a different color of light, so does the word yoga, each facet reflecting a different shade of meaning and revealing different aspects of the entire range of human endeavor to win inner peace and happiness.’’-B.K.S.İyengar-Light on Yoga.
The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root “yuj” meaning to bind, join, attach and yoke, to direct and concentrate one’s attention on, to use and apply. It also means ‘union’ or ‘communion’. It is the true union of our will with the will of God. ”It thus means’, says Mahadev Desai in his introduction to the Gita according to Gandhi, “the yoking of all the powers of body, mind and soul to God; it means the disciplining of the intellect, the mind, the emotions, the will, which that Yoga presupposes; it means a poise of the soul which enables one to look at life in all its aspects evenly.’’
In Bhagavad Gita Yoga has also been described as wisdom in work or skilful living amongst activities, harmony and moderation.
In the second aphorism of the first chapter of the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali describes yoga as ‘chitta vrtti nirodhah’-“Yoga is the Cessation of the Fluctuation of the Mind.” This steady control of the senses and mind has been defined as Yoga. Yoga is the method by which the restless mind is calmed and the energy directed into constructive channels.As a mighty river which when properly harnessed by dams and canals, creates a vast reservoir of water, prevents famine and provides abundant power for industry; so also the mind, when controlled, provides a reservoir of peace and generates abundant energy for human uplift.
In the Bhagavad Gita Sri Krishna explains to Arjuna the meaning of Yoga as a deliverance from contact with pain and sorrow. It is said: “When his mind, intellect and self (ahamkara) are under control, freed from restless desire, so that they rest in the spirit within, a man becomes a Yukta-one in communion with God. A lamp does not flicker in a place where no winds blow; so it is with a yogi, who controls his mind, intellect and self, being absorbed in the spirit within him. When the restlessness of the mind, intellect and self is stilled through the practice of Yoga, the yogi by the grace of the Spirit within himself finds fulfillment. Then he knows the joy eternal which is beyond the pale of the senses which his reason cannot grasp. He abides in this reality and moves not therefrom. He has found the treasure above all others. There is nothing higher than this. He, who has achieved it, shall not be moved by the greatest sorrow. This is the real meaning of Yoga- a deliverance from contact with pain and sorrow.’’