By Gopi Rao
To some people evolution is a sign of progress, but to others it is the threat of constant change. Some of us refuse to accept change, while others embrace it. As a yoga teacher, you may have noticed many new books, videos, websites, and styles. Change is not on the horizon for us because we are living in the melting pot of yogic change, right now.
Yoga is an ancient and time honored discipline. As with many disciplines with such a beautiful history, it sometimes seem as if yoga is indeed frozen in time. However, this is not the case. Yoga instructors, students, and average practitioners will come to understand that yogic methodology is never static. Every thing necessarily changes over time. So the question arises, “why does yoga evolve?”
Again, every living thing must change over time. However, some things will change quickly, and some will change slowly. The rate of change is wholly dependent on the nature of the thing undergoing transformation. The nature of yoga is both timeless and timely. In order for a discipline to achieve this state of duality requires evolution.
Imagine a mighty river. This body of water may be ancient indeed, but it is not the same river that it was hundreds or thousands of years ago. It is not the same river as it was one year ago. It is not the same as it was one hour ago, or even one minute ago. Yet a river it remains. The essence of the river never changes, yet the river itself is in a state of constant change.
This analogy is apt for the art and practice of yoga. Consider students of the yogic discipline. Perhaps they started out on this path at the relatively young age of twenty. By thirty, they will have reached levels of attainment that may have been unimaginable at the beginning. These same students at seventy years of age may be in entirely different circumstances in comparison the average twenty year old, but the pursuit of the practice remains.
However, the body will have changed. The mind will have changed. While the practice and art have remained somewhat the same, the approaches to yoga training sessions are necessarily different. Perhaps the body is not as flexible as it once was, but the mind is far more focused now. These issues will be reflected in the postures, in the thoughts, and in the results of the work.
While yoga may offer the same series of mental exercises, asanas, and breath control techniques to all who will attempt them, each individual must attempt them on their own terms. For this salient reason, the practice of the craft will be evolutionary. The path to perfection is a long and winding one, and without the ability, and the willingness, to change the end results will forever be out of reach.
Why do yogic methods evolve? The answer is simple: The minds of the practitioners of yoga evolve, the reasons to do the practice evolve, and the abilities of the practitioners evolve. Life itself is in constant flux, yet remains an eternal force. This is also the essence of the art and discipline of yoga.
© Copyright 2013 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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