YOGA as it's Portrayed
Yoga is gravely misunderstood to the point that we take only the very creamy surface layer off it to enjoy it. That’s if we think it suits us. The truth is Yoga suits and fits all, it’s a path of self-awakening that helps us discover within, to understand the hidden aspects of our nature that we always wished we’d someday be.
Yoga, we often think is about being more fit, flexible, calm and centered with the ability to do some quite advanced things! If we don’t think that’s likely to become a realistic description of ourselves, we tend to give up! What we’re really giving up on then is the possibility we see in ourselves, to be even more than we are now; and who wouldn’t want that? Why are we so obsessed with being everything now? Why don’t we give ourself room to grow and just accept there’s a journey to take us there? And that journey is part of the fun, that’s called Yoga.
YOGA as it's Intended
When Yogi’s talk about Yoga, what they’re really saying is that this path will make you a complete person, a conscious person, who is responsible, someone who takes care of themselves, and shows others how to do the same, by being an example. The Yoga path is about understanding our weaknesses along with our strengths so that we can overcome them and get even stronger. We need an inherent strength to go on and not to fall down. So identifying exactly where we are and what challenges we are facing, in an open and honest manner to oneself first of all, is an imperative part of the journey.
I see too many people who want it all to be alright. Who think they should be all they want to be now and inevitably it’s those people who give up; not on Yoga, but on themselves. Yoga is the path to make you whole. The physical practice and the concentration is just a part. It’s the part we start with, to get our head right, to get us in the right frame of mind to do the harder work. Without the right attitude and the right physical (or rather inner) strength and focus, we will soon lose the force to continue.
Yoga as the Possibility
This is not fancy talk and it’s not just for some, it’s for all of us who know we’re here to grow. Life is the opportunity placed before us, through which the experiences we have, take us closer to our goal. The goal is complete self-knowledge, self-realisation, knowing who ‘I am’. If we ask ourself that question honestly, “who am I?”, we may not be able to offer a very clear answer at all. Yet, that’s where each of us is going, to that goal, knowingly or unknowingly, were here to make progress. Then we must honestly see ‘what else i’m wasting my time on?’. Once you know that’s the purpose (self-understading or self-actualisation), then you begin to evaluate how much time you should give it.
And this is where physical Yoga comes in. Hatha Yoga, is the balancing principle of practice. Hatha Yoga means recognising that there are two forces within each one of us; Sun and moon, good and bad, energy and lethargy and we all know the list goes on. Our job is to balance the two polarities, recognising each force as within ourselves. This is sometimes called the journey inward. What we’re really saying is that all you think is outside of you is actually within and that’s, therefore, the only place you need to look.
Yoga as the Solution
To fix all your problems in the world you only need to spend time each day looking within and looking at your own balance, your own forces. To see how much dominance one has over the other. That’s why no-one has ever been able to fix you - only you can balance yourself by recognising within yourself what is out of balance. This is where relaxation enters. Making time to clear the unnecessary worry and incessant thinking out of the way so that reality can be seen. What we normally see is all the stress we are facing, all the things that have been blocking us and limiting our ability to progress forward. It’s through relaxation that we remove those ‘stressors’ out of the way and in doing so become conscious of how they came about thus eliminating the need for them to appear again.
When we practice Asanas and move freely, our bodies start to pump. In Yoga practice, a proper practice, each and every part of the body, all the organs and every single system will get a workout - this is why it’s a science. This is why it is a masterpiece and this is why it’s so valuable. No other physical movement system is so completely balanced that you create a perfectly working, oiled machine. This is why it’s so effective in treating many, many illnesses.
YOGA as Completion
Yoga is a path of complete and utter self-understanding. Surrendering, as it were, to the forces within that govern our lives knowingly and unknowingly. For the forces that inhibit and limit, how do we get rid of them? By freeing ourselves of them. By understanding where they come from within our psyche and by acknowledging our own responsibility for them being there and then clearing them out of the way. This is because they no longer serve the purpose they once did. So how do we do that? Through Yoga. Through the many, varied, but all ancient techniques, with a qualified teacher who can show you the way. Is a Master important? Essential - so we can confidently walk the path to our own self.