The legacy of yogic knowledge in India is ancient and extensive. Most Westerners assume that yoga means practicing various physical exercises that, if taken to extremes, twist the body into grotesque postures. This discipline is called Hatha yoga and is just one of yoga’s eight divisions.
Since the search of the knower is not an exclusively Indian project, neither is Yoga. It’s aim is to systematically uncover the silent witness inside us, a possibility open to anyone at any time.
If we want a more literal idea of what yoga amounts to, we must turn to the whole problem called identification, for this is what will be solved when union has been achieved.
Because identification is built into the mind, one cannot abolish it. Rather, the yogi solves problems of identification by turning it on its head. Instead of identifying with things, a person who practices yoga–primarily through meditation–begins to identify more and more with the silent witness inside.
Once the goal is reached, the separation between body and mind is healed, allowing the person to enter a higher state of functioning, both physically and mentally.
Adapted from Unconditional Life: Discovering the Power to Fulfill Your Dreams, by Deepak Chopra (A Bantam Book, 1991).