What is yoga?
This word resounds everywhere, across the entire world now. But do you know what it is?
It’s not what you see on TV. Not those fast, fumy breaths. Not twisting your body in hundred different ways. People are posing as yoga teachers on youtube, flaunting all their 6 packs and shiny bodies. Some are even doing beer yoga. All this mumbo jumbo has got nothing to do with yoga.
Yes, it’ll keep you healthy (physically and mentally), but that is a very small part of yoga.
Patanjali has given around 200 sutras of yoga in his ‘Yog Sutras’ and only one of those sutras deal with physical exercises. The rest have got nothing to do with it.
People have reduced yoga to a very mediocre thing. Patanjali wants people to get beyond their physicality, and they’re busy decorating and giving shapes to it.
The essence of his teachings is in this sutra – ‘Chittavrittinirodha’. Yoga is the cessation of mind.
If you want to know about yoga, read Patanjali. Yoga is not about the body. Patanjali has given exercises, so your body does not come in the way of the real growth of your being, which is the true focus of yoga. Either learn it from Patanjali or someone teaching the sutras of Patanjali. Rest isn’t yoga.
Sort of like on the same lines is the word culture which is widely propagated among the families in this country.
India is a strange country where families have been following their “culture” without actually knowing anything about it. Once I went to some function and I heard a woman doing something and saying. “We have to do these things. Shastra is important.”
But no one ever reads the ‘Shastra’. In the name of Shastras, Indians follow a book called ‘Jantri’. These 50,60 rs chapbooks are not ‘Shastra’. Only that book which takes you to your liberation is known as ‘Shastra’. But the moment you start reading the Upanishads, Bhagvad Gita, Ashtavakra Gita, Yog Vashishtha, Shiv Sutras, you cannot engage in the same crap you do in the name of ‘Shastra’.
Whatever you see around in the name of culture or religion has nothing to do with what’s written in the scriptures. No rituals have been mentioned anywhere. If you want to learn mathematics, science, you go to the teacher. When it comes to life, why do you settle with what others preach you? Find the right source. Do not believe or follow anything. Explore and read on your own. If you want to know about life, then Nanak, Kabir, Meera, Buddha, etc. are the people. Not your family or society.
The same applies for yoga as well.
The Science of Yoga What Albert Einstein did in the physical world, Patanjali did in the inner world of human beings. And his first sutra says, “Now! The discipline of yoga.” And that’s where the entire thing has gone astray. That’s where yoga has become a business of twisting and bending your body in hundred different ways. One of the great mystics Osho describes it perfectly:
Discipline means the capacity to be, the capacity to know, the capacity to learn. We must understand these three things. The capacity to be. All the yoga postures are not really concerned with the body, they are concerned with the capacity to be. Patanjali says if you can sit silently without moving your body for few hours, you are growing in the capacity to be. Why you move? You cannot sit without moving even for few seconds. Your body starts moving. Somewhere you feel itching; the legs go dead; many things start happening. These are just excuses for you to move.
If you can remain in one posture, the body will become a slave; it will follow you. And the more the body follows you, you will have a greater being within you, a stronger being within you. And, remember, if the body is not moving your mind cannot move, because mind and body are not two things. They are two poles of one phenomenon. You are not body and mind, you are body-mind. Your personality is psychosomatic – body-mind both.
A disciple means one who is centered, humble, receptive, open, ready, alert, waiting, prayerful. In yoga, the Master is very, very important, absolutely important, because only when you are in a close proximity of a being who is centered your own centering will happen.
Patanjali is just mathematical. In a single sentence, NOW THE DISCIPLINE OF YOGA, he is finished with you. This is the only sentence that has been used for you. Now he takes it for granted that you are interested in yoga, not as a hope, but as a discipline, as a transformation right here and now. He proceeds to define: YOGA IS THE CESSATION OF MIND.
Yoga is the state of no-mind. The word ‘mind’ covers all – your egos, your desires, your hopes, your philosophies, your religions, your scriptures. ‘Mind’ covers all. Whatsoever you can think is mind. All that is known, all that can be known, all that is knowable, is within mind. Cessation of the mind means cessation of the known, cessation of the knowable. It is a jump into the unknown. When there is no mind, you are in the unknown. Yoga is a jump into the unknown. It will not be right to say ”unknown”; rather, ”unknowable”.
That’s what it is. It is way more deep and elaborated than what it has been confined to. But the age in which we are living is such that everything is seen through the eyes of materialism and consumption. So the body becomes the greatest and the biggest part of our lives. Everything has to be surrounded around the body. And then yoga takes the same shape too. Most yoga sessions are like gossip sessions, where one is huffing and puffing and at the same time talking about various things happening in the neighbor’s family. All this needs some introspection and an insightful study of what yoga is.