Definition - What does Yuj mean?

Yuj is a Sanskrit root word which means “to yoke,” “to unite,” “to add” or “to join." It is the origin of the word, yoga, which is a physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in ancient India and became popular in the West in the 20th century. The reason its root word is yuj is that yoga is a discipline that aims to unite the mind, body and spirit.

Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years and many different interpretations have developed about what yoga means. Each different type of yoga has its own emphasis and practices.

Yogapedia explains Yuj

It is said that yuj actually gives two possible root word meanings for the term, yoga. As such, yoga can be taken as a derivative of yujir yoga, which means "to yoke," or yuj samadhau, which means "to concentrate." In fact, it is this second root, meaning “to concentrate,” that is said by traditional scholars to be the correct etymology for yoga, as described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. The first commentary of the Yoga Sutras translated yoga to mean "concentration."

In the West, yoga is most often associated with the physical practice of asanas, particularly stretching exercises to build flexibility and relax the body. Yoga asanas can also build strength, coordination, balance and stamina. However, asana practice is just one of the Eight Limbs of Yoga, according to the Sutras. These eight limbs are:

  1. Yama - Five abstentions (or outer observances)
  2. Niyama - Five inner observances
  3. Asana - Meaning “seat” or "pose" and referring to the physical posture needed for meditation
  4. Pranayama - Controlled or suspended breath
  5. Pratyahara - Withdrawal of the senses
  6. Dharana - Single-pointed concentration
  7. Dhyana - Meditation
  8. Samadhi - Liberation

There are many different paths of yoga, including Bhakti yoga, Karma yoga and Jnana yoga, but all are rooted in the yamas and niyamas, and have the same goal of samadhi.

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