The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj,
meaning to yoke or to unite. Although yuj has many variations and uses, its essence conveys a sense coming together or connecting. Much of what we focus on in the practice of yoga is the bringing together of the disparate parts of ourselves and making them one and then in turn embracing the actualization of the oneness that unites all things.
This underlying philosophy of oneness has always been there. We just don’t really have the ability to comprehend it in its totality because we are humans. We strive toward understanding by splitting things up into categories and applying labels as we struggle toward the concept. For example, I can tell you to focus on the tip of your nose, but in seizing that focus, you are not focusing on your right knee cap. It’s not simply the idea of multitasking—it’s the idea of being able to experience being present in a larger way.
A theme or concept I sometimes use in yoga classes has to do with physically shifting weight. When I used to dance the awareness of shifting weight was essential to my progress and execution. Whenever I was challenged by choreography, my main question was, “Where is the weight change?” Weight is always distributed on one foot, two feet, or no feet. Dance is the shifting of weight and in many ways, so is life.
You can physically experience savasana (aka-corpse pose) by feeling the weight of your body. You feel your points of connection with the mat, with the earth. You can start to feel weightless when you move away from the physical sensations; the weightiness of being a body ceases to exist. You start to experience the feeling of oneness and there is no separation between your body and the space around you. This sense of oneness is powerful, and you can bring that awareness with you into your daily experience. This means that it can expand into a recognition of oneness with all sentient beings.
According to chaos theory, “It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly's wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world.” Applying this to the concept of oneness, every breath we take whether it is an inhale or an exhale effects everything around us. Think about all of the people in the world breathing and moving and how each one of us effects everything else. And this is just on a physical level. Imagine the effect of people’s energy, actions, and intentions. When you realize this—every movement you make within the world has profound meaning and depth. This is not meant to stifle or paralyze you. This is meant to empower you. You are a part of the oneness. Move through the world with all of the thoughtfulness and presence of mind this realization deserves.