If you look at even a small Sanskrit dictionary, you’ll see that this word ‘yoga’ has twenty to twenty-five meanings. Most of the meanings of the word are basically intended to convey a getting together, a coming together. In order to see if there is the spirit of yoga, I must know what comes together with what. I must first of all become aware of the elements involved in it and I must become aware of how they got away from each other. If they were not together before, they cannot be brought together again. Two completely dissimilar things whose natures are completely different cannot be brought together.
When it comes to the practice of what you and I call yoga, we should not forget this basic principle: health is there already, and it has been disturbed. What disturbs this inner health? According to the yogis, toxins interfere with the free flow of prana or life force (energy). In that unity, in that harmony, a split has been created by the toxins. When that toxin is removed, the flow is restored. Hatha yoga dissolves these toxins.
Now comes the problem. Am I aware of this disharmony? And, do I want this harmony to be restored? Am I serious about it? If I am serious I will not with one hand try to restore this harmony and with the other feed disharmony. This is what many people do. They practise some asanas, some pranayama every day, but their living habits are wrong.
If I understand the spirit of yoga correctly, I would realise the toxins must be removed and no new toxins put in. Otherwise we practise yoga as some kind of an exercise and feel frustrated that nothing happens. This is because we are not serious and we don’t value the fundamental principle of yoga.