By Sanjeev Patel, CYT 500
Many people and some fitness Yoga instructors believe that the Yogic teachings are similar to other exercise systems. Yoga is not just another fitness fad. This narrow view of Yoga was a mistake fitness experts made in the 1990s. Some Yoga teacher training courses had graduates who learned about 24 postures (asanas). This spawned a generation of teachers who were eager to learn the inner truth of Yoga’s teachings.
The fitness experts saw the postures and figured Yoga would rise and fall like the many other diets and exercise systems of the past. They were not aware Yoga has been around for thousands of years. This sacred practice changes people for the best. The following two aspects of Hatha Yoga are only the tip of the Yogic iceberg and barely scratch the surface in regard to the secrets of Yoga teachings.
I. Pranayama: Ayama means stretch, extension, expansion, length, breadth, regulation, prolongation, restraint and control and describes the action of pranayama. Prana is energy, when the self-energizing force embraces the body. When this self-energizing force embraces the body with extension, expansion and control, it is pranayama. Pranayama also denotes cosmic power, or the power of the entire universe, which manifests itself as conscious living being in us through the phenomenon of breathing.
II. Meditation: Before yoga poses had been established the practice of yoga was to meditate. Ancients highly valued the esteemed practice of meditation for its ability to heighten intuition, and access a new level of knowing/being. By consciously relaxing into ourselves we too can experience the depths of the mind to gain insights and clarity. Listening inward and focusing our attention on the now allows us to experience the truth of who we are (Self).
Paulji has taught me that no matter what your spiritual or religious beliefs are, the ultimate objectives of Yogic teaching are spiritual beauty, improved health, emotional well-being, and mental clarity. The path of spiritual growth is found when we learn to forgive and increase our spiritual awareness. This will result in the cultivation of compassion and insight. A good person has spiritual beauty, regardless of his or her religion.
If I have religion, but I am trained to hate others who think differently than I do, what do I have? Spiritual beauty is not intolerance, hate, and prejudice. If my religion teaches me to hate, I need a different religion that practices what it preaches. Some extremists say that Yoga is only for the Hindus. Yoga has spread too far and it is growing exponentially. Nobody can stop the worldwide proliferation of Yoga practice.
The average Hindu sees the ultimate objective of Yoga as the attainment of liberation (Moksha) from worldly suffering and the cycle of birth and death (Samsara). Yoga entails mastery over the body, mind, and emotional self, and transcendence of desire. It is said to lead gradually to knowledge of the true nature of reality. The Yogi reaches an enlightened state where there is a cessation of thought and an experience of blissful union. This union may be of the individual soul (Atman) with the supreme Reality (Brahman).
All people, from all walks of life, benefit from the many parts and forms of Yoga. A person who practices Yoga postures only will learn to become calm. Of course, physical mastery will be attained, but he or she will begin to think clearly and develop a beautiful heart of compassion. This heart of compassion is a spiritual awakening that changes the world for the best, one person at a time.
Hari Om Tat Sat
© Copyright 2010 – Sanjeev Patel / Aura Publications
Sanjeev Patel is a certified Yoga teacher and an exclusive author for Aura Wellness Center.
If you are a Yoga Teacher, Yoga studio, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, please feel free to use my blog entries (articles). Please be sure to reprint each article, as is. Namaste!