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Yoga Beyond Fitness

Yoga Beyond Fitness

Yoga, a fitness practice popular throughout the world that is commonly associated with physical health and longevity, holds a much deeper significance that transcends physical postures (asanas) and breath control (pranayama). My own perception of this ancient discipline was profoundly changed when I started attending weekly sessions at Vedanta USA.

Under the guidance of Gautamji, senior disciple of Swami Parthasarathy, I came to understand that the core of Yoga lies not in its physical aspects but in practices that unite us with our true self through the elimination of deep-rooted desires (vasanas), that currently obscure our true personality or nature (Dharma). Yoga is therefore the practice that promotes spiritual growth and development and reunification with our true self. Gautamji explained that Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root Yuj which signifies the union of the individual self with the supreme Self. It’s not a physical or mental practice, but a spiritual discipline aimed at the ultimate goal of life – liberation from suffering and union with ultimate bliss. 

The Bhagavad Gita outlines three primary paths for overcoming desires: 

Karma Yoga – Path of Action
Bhakti Yoga – Path of Devotion
Gnana Yoga – Path of Knowledge

These paths are thoroughly explored in the Gita and during the weekly classes. Karma, Bhakti, and Gnana Yoga offer varied approaches to spiritual growth, each catering to different facets of human composition and temperament. 

Moreover, the Gita extends its teachings to include the Yoga of Meditation (Dhyana), which encompasses both the external and internal disciplines required for meditation. The Yoga of Meditation chapter guides aspirants to attain dispassion preparing oneself for meditation.

The essence of Yoga is therefore something that extends beyond a mat. Yoga in its truest sense is an invitation to embark on a transformative spiritual journey. 

Attending Vedanta classes weekly has profoundly transformed my daily life. The knowledge imparted by Gautamji has reshaped my understanding of how to approach a journey of self-development and has taught me the value of integrating the paths of action (Karma Yoga), devotion (Bhakti Yoga), and knowledge (Gnana Yoga) to develop fitness in body and mind thus addressing all aspects of my personality. This holistic approach has not only enhanced my spiritual awareness but also provided me with practical tools to face daily challenges with a sense of calm and purpose. Embracing these teachings has led to a more balanced and fulfilling life, where each decision and action feels more aligned with my true self.

For those interested in deepening their understanding of Yoga and its philosophies, consider exploring the weekly Gita classes at

“The blog above are thoughts of a student of the online weekly lectures”

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