Etymology of Yoga

“Now, the teachings of yoga. Yoga is to still the patterning of consciousness. Then pure awareness can abide in its very nature. Otherwise awareness takes itself to be the patterns of consciousness.”

Etymology of Yoga

literally speaking is “union” or “to yoke” in that it unites the breath, the body, and the mind together in one practice.


From the Latin route uno meaning ‘one’ is the action of bringing together or the fact of joining, or being joined. A union can also be defined as a state of harmony.

To yoke

From the Latin jungere ‘to join’ traditionally yoke refers to a particular crossbar that one would use to join two animals together. Two oxen pulling a cart, joined by a yoke become one movement being unified by the crossbar. One cannot move right without the other following. ‘Yoke’ can be defined as an agency or emblem of oppression, subjection, slavery, or servitude; or in other instances ‘to yoke’ is synonymous with to bond, to tie, to couple, to link, or to unite.  

I find it fascinating that this one word, with etymological ties to yoga, leads to seemingly uncomplimentary ideas. Somehow in yoga, we can be simultaneously express slavery, oppression, servitude, subjection while being bonded, linked, united and coupled. Which begs the question:

What enslaves to unify? 

Yoga is accessible to people of all ages, ethnicity, socio-economic backgrounds, what do we all have in common, aside from the obviously shared genus?

Who is the master we all share? 

I would suggest that the master we all share is the Oppressive Self, Ego, Identity, whatever you want to call it. I think yoga in its very definition implies wo/man’s liberation from the Self.

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