Now-days everybody is yodeling about Yoga.
What is yoga? Who is a yogi? Is it some religious belief system? What is its purpose? How did it start? Why this ya-ya-yo-yo about it?
Enough saying; yoga is no religious dogma.
It probably originated in some unknown times past when spiritual seekers in India, sitting for long periods in meditation to know That Which Is, felt the bodily functions deteriorating to the extent that their meditative practices started getting affected. To rectify this situation, as also not to go out of the close or cave surroundings of their ‘ashram’ or abode, certain exercises came to be conducted in those ancient times to keep the body fit and mental functions crisp. Slowly, these same metaphysical seekers found breathing exercises that helped them get relaxed and remain in sound vigor.
Over time, these practices and variations of these physical ‘asana’ or postures came to be encrypted and inculcated in spiritual circles of this kind. Slowly, they came to be known and practised widely; in time becoming a systematic study of sorts. Now-a-days every other fellow is getting all gung-ho about it.
Few understand what in actuality and reality is Yoga.
Many do by now know that the word ‘yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit ‘yug’, meaning ‘to yoke’ or unite. In metaphysical terms it means uniting the human soul with the Universal. Simply put, the process and practice of union of our limited self with The Universal Self is Yoga.
In fact, any which way that we can get to be ‘One’ with That Which Is, whether this or that way, is Yoga. Thus, broadly speaking, every ism or religion of any kind, lower or higher, through which spiritual zealots seek The Eternal Truth, can be loosely termed yoga. It is nobody’s patent, paternal property or prerogative. However, not all who practice yoga are yogis.
Who is a yogi, then?
Well, every other meow-meow-my-my-me-me is no Master Yogi.
At best, most of these twisters and tricksters are but teachers of yogic postures and practices. Of course, some far and in-between are sincere and seriously knowledgeable about the higher aspects of yoga. That does not mean any Eastern dish served on a Western plate is a palatable niche.
All should practice yoga. It is guaranteed to give us all good health. It cures many a health problem. Its breathing exercises work wonders. There are no known harmful effects of yoga. As a practitioner of this wonderful discipline for the last 35 years or so, the writer has over time personally reaped many a benefit from its practise. Literally and mystically so. Still does.
Yet, in absolute terms, the way of metaphysics which has the possibility of getting us Which Is, can only be termed Yoga or Tao of Union. This in effect covers the nobler teachings and techniques of most spiritual practices of humankind. It does not include negative, imaginative and inductive foolishness of past or present dogmas of war-mongering angelical systems that propound ‘harvesting souls’ or ‘infidel’ goals.
Any practice is a precipice if it brings not Union with What Is.
Physical posturing, however contorted, is but hither-thither bending of limbs. It makes none a yogi. It is a good way to make mullah. Yet, if it sets afire one’s ego than douse it; then, this-that all, belief system or bookish ism, must be dumped in the gutter or ‘nullah’. It is no yoga. Is no way for Self-Realization.
The any-many yogic texts in existence in India since times immemorial do mention more. Paranormal visions that occult practices in yoga are mentioned to give seekers; becoming not our ale the same ail the majority. These fellows start claiming more than their lot. Staking much, these ordinary teachers become preachers. Becoming Preceptors than receptors they take the halo of a yogi, giving up the holy, the yodel of Yoga.
So, are the current yogic practices null and void?
Except for physical fitness and a sense of wellness, does this normal ‘outer’ practice of yoga give us nothing more?
It does. It makes us ‘ready’ for the Inner Yoga. For Reality.
Slowly but steadily, all serious practitioners of yoga do seem to become somewhat calmer, quieter and curious. Somehow, this or that way, a subtle change takes place. They start seeking more. Spirituality enters in. Something changes. Forever.
This is a gift of Yoga. Yodel on yogis!
Welcome to free mysticism.