The simplest possible meaning of 'Yoga' is to unite. The technique of uniting the soul ('atman') with God (Parm- atma) is known as 'Yoga' in spiritual language. The activities which are required to be followed for starting 'Yoga' are known as 'sadhna' (spiritual disciplines). 'Sadhna' is merely a means in that direction. It is important in as much as it helps in achieving the goal ('sadhya'). Most people consider means as the end and regard those formalities alone which are used in 'sadhna' as 'Yoga'. In 'Yoga Sadhna' several physical and mental activities and techniques are required to be performed. Their purpose is to create a mental state of uniting self consciousness with cosmic consciousness.
Achievement of goal is possible only if this fact is kept in view. If these actions and techniques alone are considered as practice of 'yoga' and no effort is made for the refinement of one's consciousness, this existing illusion, will keep one simply where he was like a galley slave, despite hard practices performed. In 'Hath yoga', there are formalities like 'asan', pranayam', 'bandh', 'mudra', 'vrat', 'maun', 'neti', 'dhoti', 'vasti', 'nyoli', vajroli', sleeping on the ground, bearing heat and cold. The aim of all of these is merely to gain inner strength and achieve piousness, so that a man who is full of impurities may make his journey towards spiritual progress. Similarly in 'Upaasana', for getting enlightened and initiated, one has to take recourse to the practice of 'jap', 'dhyan', 'nada', meditation, 'swadhyaya', 'satsang' etc., so that consciousness may get inspiration and proper motivation to merge one's own limited self into the limitless 'Brahma'.
Purposeless 'Sadhna' is nothing else but a mockery and akin to wandering aimlessly in a forest. Physical and mental practices should be regarded merely the basic leans of 'yogabhyas'. It will be totally fallacious to consider them miraculous and to think that merely by becoming expert in these practices, the object will be achieved. A man uses paper and pen to convey his thoughts. This is definitely an important equipment and, but for it, communication of thoughts will be difficult. Still, the object of correspondence cannot be fulfilled merely by pen and paper.
If one rubs pen and draws some zig-zag, absurd lines here and there, the purpose of communication by correspondence an not be served. Expression of thoughts in verbal form is extremely essential in the process of writing. Thus. one should not be satisfied by regarding formalities of physical and mental exercises as 'yogabhyas'. There should be keen effort to elevate emotional consciousness so as to link soul with God. The importance is of emotional awareness and excellence. Then alone will the vehicle move ahead and purpose be solved.