Yoga is the ability to direct and focus mental activity.
This is the 2nd verse from chapter 1 of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra – the insight below is by Michelle Corrigan from her book ‘Your Quest for a Spiritual Life’. I feel that it is an updated view of what Patanjali was trying to communicate to us.
“Yoga is the stillness of the mind – to have focus, and not allow the chitter chatter to distract. When the mind is still, everything is still.
‘Citta’ means mind which means consciousness that connects the mind to the soul. Citta is part of three componenets – mind (manas), intelligence (buddhi) and ego (ahamkara)which are combined together as a whole.
Yoga gives you peace of mind and liberates you from activity of the mind. Yoga will bring you calmness and balance. Once your mind is at eace, then the benefits will manifest in the physical body bringing harmony and health.”
If you are enjoying this more philosophical side of yoga then you may like to have a look at this series of lectures by Dr. Kausthub Desikachar
You can also get a copy of Michelle’s book here