The Origins and Practices of Yoga
The meaning of ‘yoga’ and its origins
The term 'yoga' derives from the Sanskrit root yuj, meaning 'join', 'bind together' or ‘harness’ (such as of horses to a chariot). In the Indo-European family of languages, to which Sanskrit belongs, many cognate words may be found, such as 'yoke' in English. In the Indian context yoga has several senses and in this article an attempt will be made to outline broadly what is known of its origins and practices. The focus is mainly on what has been termed ‘postural’ yoga, which involves work on the body. However, there are extant Hindu, Buddhist, Jain schools of yoga, and other derivative schools, for whom the main practice is meditation.