My teacher said this once, “Your business is not to teach yoga to everybody; your business is to keep the potency of the seed. If we keep the seed pure and strong, it will happen when the climate is right”.
I think yoga is misunderstood and misrepresented in many ways, compromising the authenticity of the practice and ignoring its traditions is just going backwards. It is an insult to the age-old knowledge and tradition.
Yoga can be traced back to roughly 5000 years, it’s an age-old tradition that has stood and passed the test of time with bending and stretching colours, literally. Traditionally, Yog or as we nowadays call YOGA (Sanskrit for UNION) has one aim – stilling the thoughts of the mind so that you can experience your true self, union of one with the true self and ultimately, to achieve liberation ( Moksh) from the cycle of birth and death ( Sansar or Samsara).
Now, the westernized and modernized form of this age-old practice expresses just one aspect of what was originally considered yoga. The asanas, the physical practice of postures, is one of the eight traditional limbs of Yoga as per “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali” which are thought to be over 2000 years old and are considered as one the of foundational text of Yoga philosophy. These limbs will show you eight-fold path to enlightenment which are:
- Yam (Code of conduct, self- restraint)
- Niyam (observances, commitments to daily habits)
- Asan ( Steady comfortable posture)
- Pranayam ( Pran = Life force, Ayam = Expansion)
- Pratyahar ( withdrawal of the senses from their objects)
- Dharana ( Concentration or one-pointednesss of the mind)
- Dhyan ( Meditation)
- Samadhi ( Super conscious state)
If you ask the average person what yoga is, according to them, they will probably think of a beautiful woman doing various bends and stretches wearing the so called yoga pants on the fancy wallet breaking sturdy, non slippery mats, that speaks volume about how limited and commercialized the practice of yoga has become. 5000-year age old practice of yoga is not just limited to that.
I understand that with the sudden uproar in the interest for physical fitness in the world, the physical aspect of the yoga was highlighted and it is becoming super popular among the people all over the world but that does not take away the fact that it’s an age old traditional practice which was more like a ritual for the yogis back then and I know a few who still exist and follow it through thick and thin without any adulteration. The fact that it’s so popular these days, it opens the doors for possibilities of corruption and misleading the people who have little to no knowledge about what yoga really is. The very fact that the practice was considered as a tool to help one realize the true meaning of the life by detaching oneself from the ego has turned upside down ironically, be it shots of various fruits /veggie smoothies , yoga wear advertised on social media being sold for shameful amount of money or selfies of self-declared yogis and yoginis doing contortion and joining the race to gain blind followers.on social media. ( not taking anything away from contortionists but that’s not the yoga I know or I have been taught)
The GOAL of yoga (No, it’s not the Handstand and No, it’s not to have fancy expensive Mat or branded clothes). The yoga pose is not the goal, how many followers you have on social media is not the goal. To be able to stand on your hands or head is not the goal. The goal is to create space where you were once stuck and move out of there slowly. To appreciate your body and become aware of the mind and the noise it creates. The GOAL is the divine union. The union between you and the truth.
I promise to share whatever little knowledge I have about this life changing art of yoga with people at my honest and truest best.