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Meaning of Yoga And Misuse Of Hatha Yoga

What does Yoga truly mean? Yoga has now become a highly misinterpreted term. The meaning of Yoga and its essence is lost in misinterpreted ideas where much or all importance is given to the non essentials.


Yoga in the modern days is pursued largely for everything else other than with the view to realise one's spiritual goal. It is sad that the meaning of Yoga is ignored or merely not known to people who follow it, forget about those who exploit it. Sara Jean Underwood has been video tapped performing nude Yoga asanas, which is featured on Playboy!

It is a pity that Yoga is being reduced to a handmaid for cheap pursuits as mentioned above. Now its more than a million dollar question as to where Yoga is being driven to, starting from beauty parlours to being exploited for more demeaning inclinations.

The Meaning of Yoga

Yoga which emphasises on meditation, forms one among the six schools of thought in Hinduism. It is further classified into Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, Raja Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Jnana Yoga.

The term Yoga would mean 'joined together' It has its root in 'Yuj' in the ancient Sanskrit language which means to unite, to yoke, to control, with the meanings included like joining, uniting, union, conjunction and means. It makes possible the union of body, mind and the spirit.


Sage Patanjali is regarded as the founder of the formal Yoga philosophy and the Yoga Sutras which contains his teachings came to be known as 'Patanjali Yoga Sutras'

The writings of Patanjali also formed the basis for the system called as 'Ashtanga Yoga' or the Eight limbed Yoga, the concept being derived from the 29th Sutra of the 2nd book .

The motive of pursuing Yoga is to realise the unification of the body, mind and the soul.

Misuse Of Hatha Yoga

The meaning of Yoga, today is narrowed down to Hath Yoga or Yoga asanas and Yoga poses which has become widely popular for its non essentials, while the essence of it being union, or the merging of the body, mind and the spirit is neglected.

While some of the misuses of Hatha Yoga (It is said misused owing to the motive or the attitude of the person pursuing it) that may be admitted like adopting Yoga practices for fitness, for de stressing, for getting rid of vices etc, it pains when Yoga is used for sensual pursuits, like Yoga for good sex etc, going much against the actual essence of pursuing Yoga.

Yoga for a beautiful body, Yoga for weight loss, Yoga for flat stomach, Yoga for good skin etc etc have all reduced Yoga to a commercial commodity. It is to be understood that while Yoga can definitely benefit people in the above mentioned aspects, it is actually intended for attaining self realisation, the ultimate purpose of man's existence.

A change in the attitude of a discerning few to pursue Yoga for a higher ideal is no way to going to curtail the benefits that people expect out of the system, as they invariably show up as secondary benefits. An aim for the highest simply accommodates all the other aspects. A Crore rupees accommodates tens, hundreds, thousands and lakhs, to illustrate.

The misuse of Hatha Yoga today pains a person who follows Yoga closely as a means to meet his spiritual goal. To cite an example the Playboy website has featured Sarah Jean Underwood in a video doing Yoga asanas nude, which is not less than an attempt to strangle Hinduism, an age old religion practised by many. Yoga has thus been used for mercantile benefits completely banishing its lofty spiritual essence.

Let us thus keep in mind the meaning of Yoga while practising it. Let us at least have the least sense of responsibility and respect for an age old tradition that originated for a lofty ideal and not to tarnish it by adopting it for trivial, selfish and sensual pursuits.

The world after all has countless ways other than religion and spirituality to meet one's mercantile greed. A few may change and yet a lot may continue with their selfish disposition, who have their intentions based on nothing better than baseness.

While Hinduism is open to the world to partake of its spiritual treasures, its aspect of accommodating all may not be misused.

Read more about: yoga priya devi r
Story first published: Tuesday, October 26, 2010, 18:00 [IST]
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