Yoga is more popular now than it has ever been. Famous entertainers and other celebrities practice it and thousands or perhaps millions of other people are also doing yoga exercises in one form or another. Yet, despite this widespread popularity, yoga is still misunderstood. Many people think that yoga is primarily a physical activity, something that they can use to get their body in shape. While it is true that yoga has a great role to play in the physical realm, yoga is much more than this.
Yoga is, in its deepest sense, the science of human perfection. It is the means by which a person can attain his or her fullest development: physical, mental and spiritual.
Human perfection? This is a tall order. It does not come with just a few stretches of your thighs. While yoga has its external practices and exercises, its true foundation is proper conduct. Proper conduct means living a life that will put you in harmony with the society around you and with your own inner self.
When I first began practicing yoga, I told one of my friends about it. He became interested and wanted to begin. I wasn’t a teacher at that time so I recommended a book. He looked at me and said, with all seriousness, “Where can I steal it!”
Well, you can’t begin yoga like that because stealing is not a way to get in harmony with society or with yourself. In yoga disciplined or controlled conduct is known by its Sanskrit term, “samyama” and this controlled conduct has two parts “Yama” and “Niyama.”