The word Yoga comes from the ancient Sanskrit language spoken by the traditional religious elite of India, the Brahmins. Yoga means “union” or “integration” and also “discipline,” so the system of Yoga is called a unitive or integrating discipline. Yoga seeks unity at various levels. First, it seeks to unite body and mind, which people all too often separate. Some people are chronically “out of the body.” They can’t feel their feet or the ground beneath them, as if they hover like ghosts just above their bodies. They’re unable to cope with the ordinary pressures of daily life and collapse under stress, and they’re often confused and don’t understand their own emotions. They’re afraid of life and easily emotionally hurt.
Yoga also seeks to unite the rational mind and the emotions. People frequently bottle up their emotions and don’t express their real feelings, choosing instead to rationalize these feelings away. Chronic avoidance can become a serious health hazard; if people aren’t aware that they’re suppressing feelings such as anger, the anger consumes them from the inside out.
Here’s how Yoga can help you with your personal growth:
It can put you in touch with your real feelings and balance your emotional life.
It can help you understand and accept yourself and feel comfortable with who you are. You don’t have to “fake it” or reduce your life to constant role-playing. It helps you become more able to empathize and communicate with others.
Yoga is a powerful means of psychological integration. It makes you aware that you’re part of a larger whole, not merely an island unto yourself. Humans can’t thrive in isolation. Even the most independent individual is greatly indebted to others. After your mind and body are happily reunited, this union with others comes about naturally. The moral principles of Yoga are all-embracing, encouraging you to seek kinship with everyone and everything.