I recommend beginning each day with Yoga if at all possible.
I believe that the root of most of the problems of so-called "Western civilization" (primarily influenced by the western Roman Empire) can be found in a deliberate cutting-off of the connection to the ancient wisdom entrusted to humanity -- a connection to the ancient wisdom that was not severed in most of the other cultures on the earth.
This disconnection appears to have taken place in conjunction with the rise of literalist Christianity in what we call the third and fourth centuries AD. Since that time, those cultures where the connection to the ancient wisdom was not severed have been threatened, converted, colonized, and even stamped-out by forces emanating from the Western cultures.
India was never conquered by the Roman Empire, and the stream of knowledge which stretches back to the ancient wisdom imparted to humanity was not completely cut off there (although India was, of course, colonized by the forces of the British Empire later on). The ancient wisdom is still preserved in India in the Vedic texts, in the Upanishads, and in the Yogic tradition, among other streams.
B. K. S. Iyengar opens his classic book Light On Yoga: Yoga Dipika by saying:
The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj meaning to bind, join, attach and yoke, to direct and concentrate one's attention on, to use and apply. It also means union or communion. It is the true union of our will with the will of God. 'It thus means,' says Mahadev Desai in his introduction to the Gita according to Gandhi, 'the yoking of all the powers of body, mind and soul to God; it means the disciplining of the intellect, the mind, the emotions, the will, which that Yoga pre-supposes; it means a poise of the soul which enables one to look at life in all its aspects evenly.'
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One who follows the path of Yoga is a yogi or yogin.
In the sixth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, which is the most important authority on Yoga philosophy, Sri Krishna explains to Arjuna the meaning of Yoga as a deliverance from contact with pain and sorrow. It is said:
'When his mind, intellect and self (ahamkara) are under control, freed from restless desire, so that they rest in the spirit within, a man becomes a Yukta -- one in communion with God. A lamp does not flicker in a place where no winds blow; so it is with a yogi, who controls his mind, intellect and self, being absorbed in the spirit within him. When the restlessness of the mind, intellect and self is stilled through the practice of Yoga, the yogi by the grace of the Spirit within himself finds fulfillment. Then he knows the joy eternal which is beyond the pale of the senses which his reason cannot grasp. He abides in this reality and moves not therefrom. He has found the treasure above all others. There is nothing higher than this. He who has achieved it, shall not be moved by the greatest sorrow. This is the real meaning of Yoga -- a deliverance from contact with pain and sorrow.'
As a well cut diamond has many facets, each reflecting a different colour of light, so does the word yoga, each facet reflecting a different shade of meaning and revealing different aspects of the entire range of human endeavour to win inner peace and happiness.
The Bhagavad Gita also gives other explanations of the term yoga and lays stress upon Karma Yoga (Yoga by action). It is said: 'Work alone is your privilege, never the fruits thereof. Never let the fruits of action be your motive; and never cease to work. Work in the name of the Lord, abandoning selfish desires. Be not affected by success or failure. This equipoise is called Yoga.'
Yoga has also been described as wisdom in work or skillful living amongst activities, harmony and moderation. 19 - 20.
The asanas of Yoga are only one of the many facets of Yoga, as B. K. S. Iyengar explains. They may seem intimidating to those who have not done them from an early age (I know they seemed that way to me). However, as Michaela Clarke explains in her very helpful and well-illustrated book Ashtanga Yoga for Beginners, performing the asanas "is not just a practice for celebrities, dancers, and sports people" (6).
She takes the reader through a well-considered sequence of starting in to the asanas of Yoga, beginning with a discussion of safety, followed by a discussion of breathing and moving with the breath.
Then, the book provides a series of lessons, recommending each one be practices for as long as it takes before moving on to the next one. The first lessons involve the Sun Salutations, which are also shown in the video above (performed by the accomplished Ashtangi Kino MacGregor).
Note that there are two versions of the Sun Salutations, both demonstrated in the video. Michaela Clarke's book recommends performing the first version daily for as many weeks as necessary to completely memorize the movements (with the breath) before adding the second version. Note also that you still begin with about three repetitions of the first series every day, even after you have added in the second series.
The Sanskrit words for the Sun Salutations is Surya Namaskara. Several previous posts have discussed the concept of Namaste or Namaskaram, which involves the recognition of the divinity which infuses all aspects of the visible world (including oneself and everyone you meet).
Michaela Clarke recommends performing the Surya Namaskara (and later the other asanas) every day, but resting every seventh day (six days in a row followed by a rest).
You may wish to consider beginning down the path of Yoga, if at all possible for your situation, as a means of connecting with the ancient wisdom entrusted to men and women at some extremely remote point in our past.