Yoga is not a system of physical exercise. Yoga is not a mind-body system for health and wellness. In today’s age, this needs to be repeated over and over again. Yogis do practice asana. And a regular practice of Yoga does bring better health and a profound sense of inner peace, as well as helping us develop clarity of thought. But when Yoga is practiced for wellness or physical performance, it creates attachment to results. If we fail to attain the desired results, it leads to frustration. If we succeed, it leads to egoism. Both are contrary to the founding principles of Yoga.
So, what is Yoga? It is a means of perceiving reality (Brahmasutra Bhashya of Adi Shankar II.1.3). It is the capacity to take success and failure in our stride while continuing to perform our duties with total absorption (Bhagavad Gita II.48). It is the ability to attain mastery over our mind so that we are no longer prisoners of its everchanging desires (Katha Upanishad II.3.11). It is the science and art that allows us to understand our true nature and liberate the unlimited potential hidden within all of us (Yoga Sutra I.1-4).
To achieve this, Yoga provides us with a comprehensive and holistic system that works the mind, body and soul.