The emphasis of modern day yoga is on the body. Yoga, however, was created for well-being, and to help one transcend the mind which is the cause of our negative emotions.
Technically, Yoga translates into the act of repressing or blocking the mind. By performing Yoga, one is trying to block negative thoughts such as anger, jealousy, and greed which ultimately leads to unhappiness.
Yoga is a set of techniques given to transcend the mind and achieve enlightenment, which leads to complete inner peace. This realisation is not something that one reads in a book but is a direct perception which can only be achieved by performing yoga in the proper way.
Patanjali Yoga is the Yoga that is used in the West most often. It was created to utilise physical postures and controlled breathing to block the thoughts arising from the mind. Unfortunately these days, the true teachings have been somewhat lost, and people are using these practices not necessarily for inner peace but for having a fit body.
The Gita, rather than focusing on the body, focuses on transcending the mind. Throughout the 18 chapters, it provides many different yoga techniques to help us find inner peace. The Gita knew long time ago that each person is different and has their own way to attain inner peace, and gives techniques that each of us can relate to.
There is a beautiful quote that says, “Ekam Sat Vipra Bahudha Vadanti,” which means the Truth is one but the wise speak of it in many ways. In this same way, there are many yoga techniques that lead us to the same realisation.
To get a better understanding of what Yoga truly is and how it can be applied to your everyday life to reduce stress and anxiety, attend an upcoming Bhagavad Gita Introduction Course by Gita Yogi.