The meaning of Yoga is union. The real practice is when we try to collect our thoughts from all sources, make them one and connect them with our Inner Self. It means this union with the Supreme Self which destroys all ignorance. Man cannot realize God by self-exertion alone. For the vision of God His grace is absolutely necessary, and this grace is felt by the pure of heart. The mind is to be purified through bhakti or devotion. The pure mind then remains for ever immersed in the ecstasy of God-vision known as Illumination. It is the cultivation of divine love.
Its major branches in Hindu Philosophy include Rajayoga, Karmayoga, Jnanayoga, Bhaktiyoga and Hathayoga. Hathayoga or Hatha vidya is a system introduced by Yogi Swatmarama, a sage of 15th century India and the compiler of Hathayoga Pradipika. There are few more systems known as Kheranda Samhita Malsyaendra – yoga etc. are also existing in India. They all introduce Hathayoga as a preparatory stage of physical strength and purification that the body practices for higher Meditation. The various Asanas and Pranayama in Rajayoga are what the Hindu Yogis used to physically train their body for long periods of Meditation. Hathayoga is what most people associated with the word ‘YOGA’ and is the most commonly practiced for mental and physical health. But its real meaning is union, the union of Inner Self and Supreme Self and thus become ONE. As per the great Sage Patanjali, “Chita Virtti Nirodha- Yoga” means “Yoga is retraining the mind-stuff (Chitta) from taking various forms(Virttis)”. Here he points out concentration and mind control. Seeing everything as one is also Yoga.
Generally when the word Yoga is heard, we may think of Hathayoga which is actually a physical exercise for mental and bodily vigor and vitality. This is being done throughout the world knowing the marvelous result of it.