Imagine a construction site, wherein a house is proposed to be built. The first step is to its construction is to set up the foundation or the skeletal structure thereafter the walls emerge, then the cementing takes place followed by the paints and varnishes which complete the entire structure. Will it be justified to claim the house complete just by completing its skeletal structure? No right!!. In the same way, the journey of being a true Yogi is not complete by just mastering Poses.
Poses are as integral as the skeletal structure of the building but not the complete structure in itself. Poses are more like a foundation for the entire Yoga system, they are integral yet not indispensable.
YOGA, POSES, AND THE YOGI
To every spiritual seeker, the term “yoga” has an individualistic meaning. No doubt the yogic journey is a personalized one, but as per the on-going trend of understanding Yoga, Its greatness and vastness seem to be diminishing and yoga getting restricted to only the flamboyant and flexible display of the body. The real and complete essence of yoga has much to do beyond such dynamic poses and flexibility which come under Poses (Asana) or Yogasanas.
Asana as per Sri Sri Paramhansa Yogananda is disciplining the body so that it can assume and maintain the correct posture for meditation without fatigue or physical and mental restlessness.
The essence of Bhagwad Gita revolves around perfection, a trait supposed to be possessed by a true yogi. A yogi who has established himself in the seer of the self! Gita stipulates yoga to be a journey of the self, to the self, through the self. For achieving self or God realization, yoga has been regarded as the ultimate key towards this accomplishment. Not just a path to embark on a journey but the journey in itself.
Amidst today’s yoga popularity, an irony is ought to set in when one comes across the definitions of yoga as per the traditional spiritual texts and what one gets to encounter today as yoga in the media and magazines.
BEING A TRUE YOGI
Try and recapitulate the images of great realized saints and yogis, be it Swami Vivekananda or Sri Ramakrishna, Adi Shankaracharya or Mira Bai, Ramana Maharishi or Sri Paramhansa Yogananda or even Jesus Christ who is said to be a kriya yogi according to some ideologies, or be it Lord Buddha – the great Jnana yogi, Mira Bai a bhakti yogi and Tansen a Naad yogi. Or even mystics like Rabindranath Tagore and Rumi or scientists like J C Bose who are also often regarded as Yogis. As per the literal definition of being a true yogi- Anyone who has embarked on an inward journey by any means.
Have we ever witnessed any of them displaying any Yoga Poses? None of them have an asana being displayed in any of their images we get to see. Neither anyone has any recordings of these great souls performing any Yoga Poses.
Most of them are seen just sitting or in standing postures, or at max in Padmasana or the lotus pose!! Why hasn’t anyone ever witnessed Swami Vivekananda performing a headstand or maybe Buddha displaying the Surya Namashkaar or Mira Bai performing a perfect cat-cow stretch?? Still, they achieved tremendous mastery over themselves or found the kingdom of God. They were also yogis, the greatest of all times.
So what makes us think of yoga synonymous with Poses only? Maybe Google images (Swami Googlaananda)??
WHAT ARE POSES (ASANAS)?
Yogasanas form the tip of the iceberg of the Yogic system, often regarded as an aspect or a branch of the entire Yoga structure. Asanas are of great relevance in today’s world owing to its tremendous popularity worldwide.
Asana literally means a “seat” or a state of stability, wherein a healthy body ensures this state of stability or seat of good health and well-being. Further, this healthy body assures and welcomes a vast mind.
Unlike today, in earlier days, health was taken care of by the systematic, planned and scientific lifestyle and food energetics. Physical labor was needful which ensured a fit and a robust body. The scientifically designed feeding habits with an integration of Ayurvedic protocols ensured good health and physical well-being. For example, the inevitable chopping of wood for fuel must have had a strengthening effect on the arm and core muscles, lifting water from a well ensured a forward bend of the spine, Rearing cattle would get the leg muscles toned and climbing a tree must have ensured a full body exercise amongst many others.
So the need for these yoga poses was not that integral and alarming for a common man back then as it is today. Yet these practices were mostly confined to the ascetics.
But today, the scenario is completely different. Seldom one gets to move and bring an about adequate physical activity or even sit in a correct posture. A simple chair used by all of us, for example, is regarded as a health hazard in the long run by yogic ideologies.
As far as yogic postures are concerned, simply sitting on the ground in Sukhasana has phenomenal physical and physiological importance, right from balancing the root chakra (Muladhara), it brings grounding and stability too. It also aids in channelizing an upward flow of circulation or prana. For improving the digestion process, Vajrasana plays a vital role. Performing an activity that requires the mind and brain can be positively stimulated by just sitting in a correct manner with folded legs. With the legs folded in Sukhasana and the spine upright, the circulation of prana is retarded at the limb area, further, it gets an upward push of this prana flow to the regions of higher chakras to felicitate mental activities. This does not effectively happen when one sits with the legs hanging in a chair. Flashy cars, refrigerators, microwaves and a plethora of electronic gadgets and machines certainly seem to make our life easy but in the long run, poses great health hazards. On top of such disguised lifestyle defects, we end up consuming toxins from every possible source, be it food, water or air.
In such an alarming situation, physical health is ought to deteriorate and make a way for various diseases to set in. Yogasanas here provides the requisite detoxification and strengthening of the body by improving the metabolism which felicitates a better prana flow and builds immunity. This helps in fighting the modern day diseases effectively without outer medical dependency. This is why yogasanas have gained such popularity globally.
The term asana has been elaborated in the Patanjali’s Ashtanga yoga too and even there, the literal meaning comes down to “seat” or stability in one’s nature and life. In the entire yoga philosophy, asanas tend to be the most tangible aspect, as one can physically practice the asanas and they can be visually displayed with added creativity and flamboyance. Owing to this tangibility, asanas are easy for the masses to understand and that is why mostly referred and understood as yoga itself!!
WHY NOT FOCUS ONLY ON POSES?
Those who are genuine seekers must understand yoga beyond these asanas to extract the deeper and far more fruitful benefits of yoga than just a good physical health.
Yoga is a multidimensional, multifaceted, extremely holistic and all-inclusive process. Day to day activities can be yogic if carried out mindfully and with fuller involvement and awareness. This is the essence of Karma yoga, which has an aspect of selfless action too. Gaining knowledge by external sources (Apara Vidya) or by decoding the internal knowledge (Apara Vidya) is the essence of Jnana yoga, surrendering either to the divine or ones true nature is what Bhakti yoga is all about. Even attempting to strike a correct note in classical music comes under Naad or Swara yoga. Self-introspection (Swadhyaya) and contemplation have its role in Ashtanga yoga. Cleanliness, honesty and striving for a strong character, morals and values form the foundation of Ashtanga yoga by Patanjali.
Once the masses strive for these essential aspects of yoga, a change will certainly set in. True expansion of human consciousness will take place and human values, morals, and intellect will grow and proliferate along with spreading health awareness. Asanas certainly play a pivot role in strengthening the body and laying the foundation for this expansion to occur, which is of growing concern and need today. The ideology of a systematic yoga practice essentially requires these Yogasanas but a spiritual seeker is bound to encounter yoga as a phenomenon far beyond these poses.
The post Being a True Yogi: Choose Yoga not just Poses!! appeared first on .
This post first appeared on How To Avoid Back Pain Problems From Sitting Too Long, please read the originial post: here