Yoga comes from the sanskrit, yuj, which can be thought of in two main pathways. According to Pāṇini, a 4th-century BCE Sanskrit grammarian, the term yoga can be derived from either of two roots, yujir yoga (to yoke or unify) or yuj samādhau (to concentrate).
The physical practices of yoga as concentration, help us move first from the large awareness of moving the body or a limb into an archetypal shape to the more nuanced awareness that can be as subtle as moving one part of the diaphragm or moving one’s attention from the outer world to the innermost spaces of the self. As the practitioner harnesses the physical form, the attention turns to the breath and energetic pathway. In the distinction of moving from a focused inner space physically in response to the outer world, one learns to find balance or equanimity in the mental and emotional as well as the physical.
From the yuj samādhau or concentration practice, yoga becomes the connection or unification, yujir yoga of the mind and body. With connection and equanimity, a practitioner has the tools and ability to navigate from their center of awareness. From the inner connection, with our self-awareness, we can choose how to digest and assimilate our lives. Without a centering practice, if our happiness is based upon the whims of others, we can feel like we are always reacting to the life around us. Living in a state of wariness, waiting to see what life will throw at us. Once we get that WE are the ones creating our lives, we can move from a space of ease, abundance, and generosity.