The philosophy of Yoga is not restricted to a particular religion, it’s universal. It’s practiced in the Eastern countries as well as is well integrated in the Western culture and society. Everyone has their own definition and beliefs about Yoga, but at its core, Yoga is about unifying the body, mind and spirit with the divine consciousness.
The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘yuj’ which means to connect, join or balance. Yoga is generally defined as union: union between the limited self and the Divine Self. The ultimate goal of yoga is to help us realize our identity with the Divine Self and attain enlightenment.
There are different avenues that we can adopt in this practice — asanas (body postures), pranayama (breathing exercises) and dhyana (meditation), to achieve this one goal and attain personal expansion.
Overall, yoga helps us balance our thoughts, our actions and our perception of self helping us ensure our well-being. It’s a way of living that promotes a balanced development of the body, mind and spirit.
It makes us aware of our intrinsic nature and helps us get in tune with it. As the Bhagavad Gita teaches us: “A person is said to have achieved yoga, the union with the Self, when the perfectly disciplined mind gets freedom from all desires, and becomes absorbed in the Self alone.”
The same applies for Stoicism. It’s aim, give or take, is to take the many parts of a person and turn them into a unified coherent soul. As Ryan Holiday points out, “Each of us is made up of competing desires and impulses and needs, yet all of this is part of who we are. More importantly, with work and study, philosophy is designed to integrate and order all of this into its proper place within us.”
This notion is also echoed by the motto of the United States, that can be seen imprinted on the government buildings and its currency — “e pluribus unum”, which literally translates to “Out of many, one.”
Sadly, most of us end up focusing too much on our individual selves, our backgrounds and our differences, rather than paying attention to the things that hold us together on the common ground, and the principles and virtues that unite us.
This leads to unnecessary conflicts and meaningless drama that could have been avoided in the first place. That’s why it’s so important that we focus on being human first as we live our day-to-day life and start thinking from a broader perspective. When we constantly contemplate about becoming a part of something bigger than ourselves, working for the greater good, taking care of each other and paying to attention to things that we share in common, we all become one.
These days when divides and differences are constantly highlighted in media and other outlets, it can get challenging to continue contemplating on unity and staying human. But unity always trumps division, because it makes all of us strong, especially during times of adversities.
Union is the way of the nature, union is the way of our nature. We all become better versions of ourselves and whole when we become one. When we stand united and when many become one, that’s when we tap into our true strength and empower ourselves to make this world a happier, peaceful and much better place to live in.