An Overview by Guruji Shriyogesh

YOGA - An Overview by Guruji Shriyogesh

Often I have heard people talking, “I have joined YOGA classes.” , “ I am learning YOGA” , “ He or She is a YOGA Master”. 

In fact what they refer as YOGA is only a part of the actual YOGA. 

Pronunciation : This is a word which is widely pronounced absolutely wrong – YOGAA. Not only in West but also in India, many people have started pronouncing this word YOGAA. The correct pronunciation does not have an A after G. It should be pronounced YOG "". The ‘A’ after ‘G’ should not be elaborated.   

What is the meaning of YOGA ""?

 In Sanskrit grammar  “Yoga” evolves from the root YUJ "". YUJ means to link, to unite. The process that links, unites or integrates is known as YOGA"".

For what kind of Union the method known as YOGA is needed? 

To understand this, one has to understand the absolute philosophy of Sanatan Dhrama ( The Universal Religion ). It is much deeper than the apparent projection of hundreds of deities and thousands of temples. This philosophy is above all those well known or not so known sects which are collectively known as Hinduism in today’s world.
Nirguna , Nirakar ParaBrahmaN

BrahmaN, the absolute, the one and only God who is formless, beyond any description and definition is manifested in to many in the form of Atman (Soul) or Atma. The ultimate goal of all spiritual practices of Sanatan Dharma is realizing the one ness of Atma with BrahmaN.  This is a very brief description of the highest philosophy.

The method, the process, that helps an individual to unite completely with BrahmaN is YOGA.  As I mentioned before in this article the process or the method that unites is YOGA as per the grammar of Sanskrit language.



 As explained by Panini, the grammarian of Sanskrit language, the word YOGA is defined mainly in three ways :

  1. Samyoga "" = Union 

  2. Samyaman "" = to bind and

  3. Samadhi " " = Ultimate realization of oneness with BrahmaN.

Complete dissolution of the individual in to the total being, Atman in to Paramaatman ( The ultimate supreme Atman) that is BrahmaN.

In the ultimate stage of Yoga an individual exeriences complete dissolution with the total being, Atman dissolves into BrahmaN. Any method or path that leads to this stage is Yoga. It can be Bhakti (Devotion), Jnaana (Knowledge) , a combination of Bhakti and Jnaana, Dhyaana ( Meditation), Japa ( Chanting of a mantra given by Guru) or Tapa (Penance).  Any thing that leads to this ultimate state of realization is Yoga.  So traditionally various kinds of spiritual individuals are referred to as YOGI (the one who practices Yoga).

Various ways of Yoga narrated in Shrimad Bhagavad Geeta are Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Sankhya Yoga, Sanyaasa Yoga.  Here the word Yoga is used for various methods leading to reunion with the Origin (BrahmaN).  Let us have a brief understanding about all these Yogas.

  • Karma Yoga     :  Re union with BrahmaN with the method of selfless action (Nishkama Karma)

  • Jnaana Yoga     : Reunion with BrahmaN with the method of Knowledge.

  • Bhakti Yoga      : Reunion with BrahmaN with the method of Devotion and Love for the Supreme.

  • Sankhya Yoga   : Reunion with BrahmaN with intellectual knowledge.

  • Sanyaasa Yoga  : Reunion with BrahmaN with complete detachment from all material things.


These are the paths shown by the Supreme Manifestation of BrahmaN on this planet in the form of a Human Being, whom we call Bhagavan Shri Krishna.

Technically speaking …

In technical terms of practicing Yoga, there are five main methods.


Hath Yoga : This method is mainly used to strengthen body and mind. This is the method which is widely being propagated as YOGA.  Even the tutors who teach Pranayama and Asanas, not even  complete Hath Yoga, call this method “YOGA”.  In fact the basic knowledge of Hath Yoga is very much useful and essential for the practice of any kind of YOGA.


Raaja Yoga :  This method is based up on absolute control over mind and consciousness. This is quite a challenging method as it demands a great deal of discipline of mind, behavior and life style. Without this method of Yoga the condition of complete Self Realization is impossible.


Mantra Yoga : This method consists of chanting (Japa) of a Mantra or Mantras given by Guru.


Laya Yoga : This method has the objective of merging Prakriti (Shakti – The Divine Energy) with Purusha (The Person, BrahmaN). For the practice of this Yoga the knowledge of the subtle body is very important.  In a human body the place of BrahmaN or Bhagavaan Shiva (Purusha) is at the centre of the head (Sahasrar Chakra)  and the place of Prakriti is below the spine (Mulaadhaar Chakra). In Laya Yoga Prakriti (also known as Kundalini, the one who lies in a coiled position) who is at the bottom of the spine at Moolaadhaar Chakra is awakened (made active) and passed through the  Central Artery (Sushumna) and merged with Purusha  [This method should not be attempted without and expert Guru.)

  These are the four major forms of Yoga.  


Shiva Yoga :  This form of Yoga is also known as the Rajaadhiraja (Raaja Adhiraaja) Yoga. Means King of Kings Yoga. The Yogi practicing Shiva Yoga obtains ever lasting oneness with the Supreme, Bhagavan Shivji. There are five major parts of Shiva Yoga:

  1.  Knowledge about Bhagavaan Shri Shivji 

  2. Devotion to Shivji

  3.  Contemplation Of Shivji

  4.  Observance of the austerities connected to Bhagavan  Shiva.

  5.  Worshipping Bhagavan Shivji with traditional rituals.  .

These are the main aspects of Yoga.  

Samadhi - Ultimate realization of oneness with BrahmaN.

ll Aum Namaha Shivaaya ll