What is yoga? The classical texts define yoga as a process of channelling the forces or expressions of the mind. How? By following a discipline. What is the aim of discipline? To establish yourself in your real nature. These are the first three statements in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, and are the foundation of yoga practice and philosophy. If yoga was only physical exercises, these statements would reflect that physical component. But they do not. If yoga was a religion, these introductory statements would reflect that religious inclination. But they do not; rather, in the yogic tradition yoga has to be seen as a discipline, a lifestyle and a science of practical living.
In order to create a system, a progressive practice, and to immerse oneself in yogic disciplines, there is a very beautiful sequence. Yoga begins with the body, goes to the mind and aims to realize the inner nature. The question can arise: If yoga deals with the mind, why does it begin with the body? Yoga looks at the well-being of the total personality, of the body, mind and spirit. Body, mind and spirit have to come together so that we can become a complete human being and experience the wholeness of life.