Most readers know that the meaning of the word yoga is union, but actually the path, the system of yoga, consists of a process of viyoga – separation. This seems to be a total contradiction, but is not. It means that through yoga practices, one must separate awareness from the mind and body. There must be a personal experience of the difference between the mind-body aspect and the awareness aspect of one’s being. Only when this separation and difference is personally experienced can one know the truth behind it. And when this separation occurs between the seer and the seen, then one will understand oneself and life from a new and higher platform. There will be an explosion of new understanding. This viyoga is the first step towards the culmination of yoga; this separation is the first step towards unity.
Therefore, in your practices forget all concepts of union – all logical interpretations and understanding are wrong. Only worry about separation: separation of your awareness from mind-body identification. This is the aim of all paths of yoga: find the viyoga (separation) that will lead to yoga (union). Separate the purusha from prakriti, so that they can be united at a higher level.
The essence of yoga practices is really separation, not union. Separation is the method, union is the result. So be aware; be aware of everything that you do. Be a witness to all thoughts and actions. Separate your awareness from all other phenomena. This is not easy, but try.
Swami Satyananda Saraswati