Yoga has many definitions. The one that is closest to my heart is defined by my father Shri TKV Desikachar. My father defined Yoga as a relationshipand I feel this is the best definition possible especially in today’s times.
First Yoga helps us to have a relationship with ourselves – with our body, with our breathing, with our mind, with our ego and with our potentials. Now once we stabilize this relationship with ourselves then Yoga can help us have a good relationship with others.
Second domain where yoga helps us is in the inter-personal domain. The inter-personal domain-relationship with other people, relationship with members of our family, in our working environment, in our employment, in our society. Yoga helps us nourish all these relationships because Yoga is not just about ourselves. So the second domain where yoga helps us is in the inter-personal domain.
Now we have a good relationship with ourselves and with others, Thirdly, yoga also helps us to transcend these into the trans-personal domain – the domain of spirituality, the domain of the divine. Thus yoga can also help us have a good relationship with the divine.
That’s why I feel my father very simply put it as yoga is a relationship and I feel in conclusion this is the best definition that we can have in modern times. Yoga is a relationship
- with ourselves,
- with others,
- with the divine.
This is consistent with the message of the root meaning of Yoga – Yuj: to link, to connect, which is the basis of every relationship; so Yoga is a relationship.
By Dr.Kausthub Desikachar – Viniyoga Teacher