Yoga: The Body-Mind-Soul Union

Butterfly Ayurveda Celebrate International Yoga Day

योग or ‘Yoga’ is a sanskrit word, which means union. It refers to the union of the body, mind and soul, and is considered as the union with the universal force or the divine.

The practice of Yoga originated in India thousands of years ago, as a part of Ayurveda. Conversely, it is also said that ‘Yoga’ gave birth to Ayurveda.

It is believed that Lord Shiva, the Adi (first) Yogi imparted the Saptarishis or the seven Sages with the teachings of Yoga, who then traveled the Earth spreading this practice to the people.

Being a physical, mental and a spiritual practice, Yoga’s ultimate purpose is to help each individual with spiritual progression and find unity with the universal force.

The great Sage Maharshi Patanjali systematized and codified the practice of Yoga as ‘Yoga Sutras’. He laid down an eight-limbed path to imbibe Yoga in our “dincharya” or the daily routine (guidelines to lead a healthy routine found in Ayurveda). This path is known as ‘Ashtanga Yoga’ and has the following limbs:

  • यम (yama) - abstinences,
  • नियम (niyama) - observances,
  • आसन (asana) - yoga postures,
  • प्राणायाम (pranayama) - breath control,
  • प्रतिहार (pratyahara) - withdrawal of the senses,
  • धारण (dharana) - concentration,
  • ध्यान (dhyana) - meditation) and
  • समाधि (samadhi) - absorption.

The first four of these limbs fall under Hatha Yoga and the latter four fall under Raja Yoga.

With these principles, Yoga ignites and enlightens the path to spiritual connection and progression. Regular practice under a master is recommended to reap the true benefits of Yoga. It awakens the inner self, helping one to harness the power of mind to bond with the soul.

Ayurveda and Yoga

The body is referred to as स्थूल शरीर (Sthula Sharir) or Gross body, and Mind is referred to as सुक्ष्म शरीर (Sookshma Sharir) the Subtle Body. The Soul, आत्मन (Atman) is the knower and owner. Mind serves a connection between the body and the soul.

Yoga brings together the balanced body, mind and soul, enabling one to resolve any kind of health issues ranging from indigestion, arthritis, weakness, diabetes, to anxiety, depression or insomnia and more.

The most fundamental practice of Yoga begins with ‘Pranayama’. प्राण or “Prana”, is a Sanskrit word which refers to the energy of the Life Force. This practice allows a healthy circulation and absorption of Prana through different channels in the body, including each and every cell present in the body. Merely practicing this can help improve one’s overall health conditions in multiple ways. The circulation of ‘Prana’ is the key to overall well being in an individual.

Health Benefits of Yoga

  • Heart Health: Yoga has shown significant results in strengthening the heart muscles. Regular practice regulates a healthy heart rate, reduces blood pressure and brings down the cholesterol levels in blood. An overall heart health booster.
  • Mental Health: Yoga helps individuals cope with the everyday stresses of life and experience a greater sense of inner peace. It has shown to diminish anxiety, depression and burnout providing for a healthier mental state.
  • Cognitive Health: Yoga practice not only increases the ability to focus but also increases oxygen levels in the blood that helps activate learning, retention, motivation and executive function areas of the brain.
  • Reduces Inflammation: Yoga has the ability to work at the root cause of any health issue to rectify and eliminate it. ‘Blalaasana’ and ‘Setubandhasana’ are known to help subside the chronic inflammation which is the baseline cause of many diseases such as Arthritis, Rheumatoid. etc.
  • Core Strength: While holding a pose or performing an asana in Yoga, it encompasses multiple muscles in unison, making it great for core strengthening. Poses like ‘Navasana’ and ‘Phalakasana’ aid in strengthening core and increasing stamina.
  • Flexibility and Mobility: ‘Hatha’ Yoga helps increase flexibility and mobility when consistently practiced. Yoga benefits by easing the tension in the muscles making them more flexible and increasing the overall mobility.
  • Body Balance and Alignment: Asanas like ‘Taadasana’ or ‘Vrikshasana’, instills balance within the body, at the same time makes the individual agile and strong. Further, Yoga helps with maintaining a good body posture and improves body alignment.


India has been the Teacher to the world in Yoga and Ayurveda and thus understands the importance of learning Yoga from a ‘Guru’ or teacher who has mastered this practice. Yoga was initially taught in an oral tradition where the गुरु would pass on the knowledge of Yoga to the शिष्य (student); this practice is known as the “Guru Shishya Parampara”.

The bond between a teacher/ Guru and a student can never be translated and transposed online or imparted by a book. Although online classes offer convenience, it is essential to learn the correct technique, and the way beyond under the guidance of a ‘Guru’. Moreover, only a ‘Guru’ or a teacher is able to guide the right practice of Yoga as per each individual’s unique body-mind constitution or need. All ‘Asanas’ are not meant to be practiced by everyone.

The ever increasing popularity of Yoga has led to development of myths about the practice, and has deteriorated its understanding. ‘Yoga’ is a profound practice that requires sincerity, dedication and hard work from an individual. Inculcating an ethical teaching and learning environment within the society, re-establishing some aspects of the traditions to maintain authenticity of the practice of ‘Yoga’ will help promote the overall well being of all people, and would serve as a way to sustain the practice in the truest way possible for generations to come.



‘योग से भोज’
Connect with what you eat

Comments (1)

  • Stark Fitness Studio on Jul 27, 2023

    This is a great piece of writing with a lot of useful information! I really enjoyed the way the story was presented and the writing style was very engaging. I’m looking forward to reading more posts from you in the future! Cheers!

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