What is yoga ?


Yoga is not about physical fitness alone. It is also to help prepare the body for realizing the aim of uniting body, mind and spirit. Nithya Yoga is the technique designed in the body language of Patanjali for this uniting. In the same manner as we spoke about Nithya Dhyaan amongst meditations, Nithya Yoga is the yoga for the jet age.

Patanjali, the father of the ancient science of yoga, says at the very start of the Patanjali Yoga Sutras, which is the foundational scripture of Yoga:

“Yogaha chitta vritti nirodhaha”

He says, ‘Yoga is the cessation of the mind.’ Understand, it doesn’t mean that yoga ends with the cessation of mind, rather that yoga begins where the mind ends.
Actually, yoga never ends, it can only start. It is a continuous happening.
To understand how yoga is a continuous happening, we need to understand the important truth that whatever is happening is auspicious.

Be very clear, every experience raises your consciousness and makes you more mature. Even losing your wealth gives you some maturity. Losing your health gives you some understanding. When you are able to internalize this truth, you suddenly see life as a wonderful happening every moment.

Understand, Existence is happening continuously and guiding you also so that whatever happens to you does so in the best possible way. Just fall in tune with it – that is the best course! Yoga is a path to fall in tune, just like tuning a radio to a higher frequency!

Most people think yoga is about physical postures – how to bend the
body and move it. The other day I read a joke: A group of bats were hanging on the ceiling of a cave. They saw a single bat standing straight on the floor of the cave.
The bats were surprised and asked, ‘What are you doing down there?’
The bat shouted back, ‘Yoga!’

People think yoga is about twisting the body and working towards physical health or some goal. Please understand, yoga is not even a goal, it is a continuous happening.

The word ‘yoga’ literally means ‘uniting’.

We have two lives in us. One is the life that we want to live, the dream. The other is the life in reality, the life we are living. The meeting of these two lives is what I call ‘yoga’.

Now, how can these two lives, your dream and real life, unite?

You can unite the two either by reducing the depth of the dreams and fantasies or by increasing the expression of your energy so that reality can come closer to the dream.

If you reduce the depth of the fantasy, the dream plane and the reality plane will come closer together. On the other hand, if you increase the energy expressed through reality, the reality plane will come closer to the dream plane. The meeting and merging of these two planes is what I call yoga.

Continuously doing something, either to reduce the depth of the fantasy or to increase the energy that expresses in reality is yoga. One important thing, when the two planes of dream and reality meet there is a spiritual explosion or what we call ‘yoga’ happens. But it does not end here, yoga just begins here!

Usually yoga is understood as mastering postures or achieving a particular state. Yoga is neither mastering postures nor achieving a particular state. It is awakening to the continuous happening around you and inside you.

The person who tries to raise what you call as ‘real life’ to his dream level is a materialist. He tries to achieve in his life what he dreams. But the problem is, his dream is not fixed, it is not static. As you work towards the dream, the goal is continuously changing. Your ideas are continuously changing, so the goal is continuously moving!

The person who tries to reduce the depth of his fantasies and brings the dream plane closer to the reality plane is like the renunciate who suppresses his desires and tries to realize the truth.

But an important fact is that neither suppression nor expression leads to the truth. Neither suppressing and renouncing nor expressing energy and following dreams works. It is a very subtle game. I can say this is where Buddha’s teaching of the middle path comes to our help. The middle path can be called the essence of the awakening or the essence of yoga. You are not pushed or pulled by the extremes of emotions, you simply witness them and follow the Middle Path.

source: Living Enlightenment

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