The label Chord Yoga came about as a tongue-in-cheek term – at times, some of those chord grips, as well as the general use of muscle memory to play musical instruments suggest perceived parallels to the contemporary version of later hatha Yoga practices. E.g. when chords grips are learned isolated, out of context with specific fingerings, this also qualifies as a physical and mental strength-building exercise – in a way, miniature versions of the postures that are taught in those neighborhood yoga studios.
Comparatively, the original asana postures from the early Yoga sutras of Patanjali [1st centuries CE] are way fewer and their initial purpose was to become more situated for meditation, not for physical exercise.
A more applicable parallel between musical practices and one of the early definitions of Yoga [sanskrit: union] as a physical, mental and even spiritual practice is growing unification of musical consciousness – to actively work on a more integrated perception of sound.
A good example is being aware of the implications of the ‘union’ of melody and harmony: both are interdependent parts of the same, the interconnected sound, yet also distinct, individual parts which have to be perceived, experienced and understood before they can be consciously and deliberately applied in other musical situations.
When Yoga is defined to be the calming down of the fluctuations or patterns of the mind – the term chord yoga describes a non-linear learning approach to perceive and apply the grammar behind the music in a conscious and flexible way.