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Three Main Purposes Behind Yoga- What Yoga is and more!

Welcome back!

I hope you enjoyed C. Taylor Ring’s Origin Story Part 1 and Part 2. It’s kinda neat to read about how life will weave you into the places you’re meant to be.

Be that through Yoga or Reiki.

Some of you may be asking, “What is Yoga?”

Like all things in life, there is a surface definition. You may be familiar with the iceberg analogy. For definitions of things – like yoga – you just see the ice cap above the ocean.

Not the depth or history below.

United States culture and Instagram really showcase the top of the yoga iceberg.



Sexy bodies.

Well, let's go a little deeper than that! So put on your metaphorical wet suit and scuba gear.

It’s time to dive deep. Or at least as deep as we can go in a blog.

What is Yoga?

Yoga means union. It derives from Sanskrit (Indo-European). Specifically, the Sanskrit word “yuji” which means “yoke.”.

Immediately, you may have images of making a soft-boiled egg for breakfast. The yellow yoke intact. Although this delicious description is somewhat accurate – because it symbolizes an inner yoke as a whole – it's not the true origin of the word yoga.

So now that we’re in our metaphorical scuba gear diving deep, we're being carried by an undercurrent. Carrying us back 5,000 years ago to glimpse yoga’s history.

Yoga’s History

What we know as India today was predominately an agricultural society (in some ways it still is).

To plow the fields and work the land they needed help from domesticated animals.

“Yuji” meant harnessing two oxen (or horses). This yoking allowed said animals to plow a field side by side.

Therefore, the yoking or union in yoga is to bring together two different, yet similar animal instincts within ourselves. To be able to work our allegorical land (life’s work).

These two animals can be seen as the body and the mind.

Can you hear 90’s kids singing R. Kelly’s, “My mind's tellin' me no, but my body, my body's tellin' me yes!”

This is a great example of the conflict that can happen between mind and body. Beyond sexual frustration. How do you harness what you are feeling and blend it with harmonious thoughts? As well as speech?

How do you know when your thoughts are like knives? Cutting up your sense of self and safety in the world.

With the rise of mental awareness around anxiety and depression, we can see this is an ancient story.

For thousands of years, human beings have sought the balance between what they feel and what they think.

Ultimately, achieving union is relieving yourself from the burden of experiencing your life pulled into too many directions.

To yoke through yoga is harnessing BOTH innate forms of wisdom within your being.

To later harvest the rewards.

The Three Purposes Behind Yoga

Okay, deep divers!

Any thoughts bubbling up in your proverbial face masks yet?

Remember to breathe.

We’re still scuba diving down to take in the magnanimous size of the Yoga iceberg. Surfing that ocean current. Continuing to travel back in time.

There is a 700-verse Hindu poem called, The Bhagavad Gita. The prose setting is on on a battleground (you know the battle between your head and heart?).

How many battles have you experienced in everyday life?

How many tough choices do you find yourself faced with?

One character in the Gita (a loving advisor) named Krishna is mentoring Arjuna. Arjuna is caught within a family war.

Krishna shares with Arjuna the three paths of yoga that will help (wo)man reach enlightenment.

The three yogic paths (purposes) are as follows:

  • Bhakti yoga

Love and devotion to all beings. Bhakti is about acting out the feeling of dedication and devotion through acceptance.

  • Jnana yoga

Studying ancient texts and teachings. To ponder life, like Western Stoics, is an intellectual path to obtain enlightenment.

  • Karma yoga

The path of service and action towards a specific passion you must fulfill without attachment to the outcomes.

Just like you may have noticed in your life, your attention shifts.

One minute you may be ingesting 30 books a year. Trying to gain as much knowledge as your can.

Next, you are giving the majority of your time and energy to your family and close loved ones.

To noticing the pings in your life. Calling you to commit and follow through on what you are meant to birth into this reality. Whether you think you have the time, money, resources, or support to follow through.

The three yogic paths are a lot like that.

They meet the different seasons of life you find yourself in. And just like in Taylor’s Origin Story Part 1, you too may be just beginning. Unsure of what area or direction to go in. But you’re seeking a life change.

Or you’re seeking to bring more balance into your life.

We’ll continue to dive and gain more perspective of Yoga’s context here in a bit.

Just wanted to mention that if you already are not following Taylor on Instagram, please do. Yes, there is the back bends and other cool photo poses. But there is so much more!

It’s a space to open up the conversation. Ask questions.

Glimpse Taylor’s Daily Stoic story shares.

Because just like you – a unique blending of interests and past history –Taylor too, has that. By coming together, be it in a yoga studio or the online app world, we’re impacting each other's yogic paths in life.

Types of Yoga

Okay, how are the oxygen tanks holding up?

Ready to keep diving deep?

Alright. Well despite how social media and advertisements would have you think, there was no organized system of yoga poses (recorded down at least) until about 400 B.C.

This organized system of yoga poses and practices came from a man named Patanjali. It’s referred to as The Yoga Sutras.

The Yoga Sutras form the foundation for the kinds of yoga we see today.

A google search would give you varying styles and types of yoga. Everything from Ashtanga yoga, Hatha yoga, Hot yoga, Iyengar yoga, Kundalini yoga, Power yoga, Restorative yoga, Vinyasa yoga, and more.

Amy Weintraub created a beautiful image called “The Yoga Tree Poster” to demonstrate the MANY variations of yoga out there. Beyond modern-day styles and brands, you see online.

Just like human knowledge is continuously evolving and growing, removing and adding, so is the ancient (5,000 years and counting) being that is Yoga.

C. Taylor Ring’s Yoga Styles

Okay, deep divers. We are going to slowly make our way back up to the surface. As always, please reach out if this blog didn’t answer your question. Or gave you more.

Later blogs will be going more into the styles of yoga Taylor offers both online and in the studio.

Taylor’s Yoga Styles:

  • Intro to Yoga (Hatha based)

  • Power Yoga

  • Yin Yoga

  • 26 & 2 Yoga (aka Bikram Yoga)

  • Ashtanga Yoga

  • Tantra style Yoga

  • Acro Yoga

You can look forward to more content on these subjects. Plus other modalities like Holy Fire Reiki, Movement Classes, Workshops, and Meditation practices.


Because just like you’re an evolving creature, each practice or modality helps to bring union within.

And sometimes a person needs conversation (or blogs) to help release the tension the mind may be holding onto.

I get it. You want to move forward well-informed.

We at Abide Yoga hope to provide you with the support and direction you need to feel in alignment with your day-to-day actions.

Your home yoga practice.

Or more subtle energy needs.

P.S. Want to try Taylor’s yoga classes for free? Click here and get access to over 50 yoga classes for a three-day trial.

We hope you’ll love the variety and subscribe for $10 a month with no contract.

“Life on the Mat

“I roll it out and step inside a world of self-discovery, mine.

Here is where I challenge myself, to learn just how to be myself…

to grow and reach and stretch and sweat,

I push my boundaries, no regrets.

For this is where I seem to be, a stronger, better newer me.

And when my body’s fully spent, my spirit takes a forward step,

I contemplate the wisdom’s known,

relinquished now, in Child’s pose.”

― Andrew Pacholyk

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