To start clarifying and bringing into focus what yoga really is, let us first look at all the misconceptions about it. Some people feel that Yoga is boring because they approach it as an exercise; and as an exercise, it can be a bit slow, especially certain styles of yoga. To some, yoga is a performance; they see the outside beauty of the postures and bring a more expressive, dance-like approach to it. To others, it is a spiritual path; a daily ritualistic practice that through the avenue of the breath can connect one to a higher frequency field, ultimately to their God. To some people, it is a powerful tool for developing and refining their concentration muscle, which can help them succeed in other branches of life. To some, yoga is a meditation practice to quiet the mind. To others, it is a leisurely pass-time or a means to bring more compassion and kindness into their lives. To some, it is to create more flexibility in their bodies and to others, it’s a self-inquiry practice.
These are all legitimate benefits and are not necessarily wrong, but if we remain in this state of isolation and not see the interconnectedness of All that Is through our practice, we will only partially benefit from it and, in some cases, we will lose interest and abandon the whole practice completely. An example of this would be when we say that a certain pose will benefit the kidneys; we have to understand that the kidneys, just like any other organ in our body, is part of a whole network of energetic movements that constantly create and maintain our gross body as a whole. One does not function without the other. By being in a yoga pose, breathing, and watching, sensing and feeling, we start to allow one form of intelligence to flow into another, revealing to us the inseparability, interdependence, and ultimately, the magnificence of our organism. Once that union is established in our understanding, the body will begin reversing its destructive energetic patterns towards more healing ones.
The body does not feel separate from anything else around it, but the limited mind makes it so. The body has the freedom to move and express whatever it expresses within the boundary-less vastness that is Intelligence.
All expressions and movements make sense and all expressions and movements belong, period. There is no such thing as a flexible or stiff organism. These are labels created by the deceptive unexamined mind. What we call a ‘body’ is a constantly moving, highly intelligent, fluid system that is not different from the Amazon rainforest or the Aurora Borealis. This form does what it can to maintain its harmonious interaction with everything else, including our own mind, nature, our solar system, the galaxy, and beyond. It always finds its way out into movement and connectedness just like a river eventually finds its way to the ocean. That happens even sooner once we learn to recognize it as such, as a living and moving, innately brilliant organism.
From here it becomes clear and obvious that we can only come to this understanding by changing our minds, the way we perceive everything. This is where the power of real Yoga lies; in the process of elimination, the gradual unlearning, the mental cleanse, the demolition of the false in us.
Our body changes and becomes healthy to endure the pains and limitations the false mind creates. Our thinking mind becomes strong and focused and our soul becomes robust.
Now we ourselves start becoming a powerful tool of real piercing thought that has the power to dismantle and chew to pieces anything that is not real in us. We develop a pair of newly born fearless eyes to see, locate, and illuminate the falseness in us, and a brave heart that will radiate this powerful energy into the world, inspiring and bringing about change by the Truth of us. That is the real power of Yoga.
Ludwig van Beethoven once said, “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
It may seem like a random quote, and it may very well be, but I take that as a metaphor for becoming clear-headed and true in this life. Only then life will be good and delicious, with many ingredients like a good soup, and we will have a great time living it.
Welcome to Yoga!