In a recent conversation with Sharon Gannon, founder of the Jivamukti Method she said to me: “Yoga is whatever you want it to be. It can be a path to enlightenment or a practice to enhance one’s ego – the outcome depends on the intention of the practitioner. If you want it to help you diminish your identification with your ego/personality, then you must practise with that intention. Which means that you must find ways to remember God while you are practising. Repeating prayers, mantras and the names of God can be helpful to this end. Even listening to a soundtrack composed of songs where these Holy Names are chanted by others, while one is practising can plant powerful positive suggestions in the mind which can be an aid in the remembrance of the Divine.”
I would also like to add:
When we are able to establish our intention toward God-Realization or Enlightenment then we are moving toward Yoga. Yoga is the state, where we are able to see our connection to all things and all beings. If your practice is moving you away from God-Realization, then it would be fair to say that you are not practising Yoga. Yoga when practised with the right intention dissolves otherness as it diminishes our self-centeredness, allowing us to become more aware of our responsibility toward the larger community – the other people, animals and the environment we all share.