23 Oct Yoga as a life-long discipline
Yoga is a life-long discipline involving many different paths all leading to higher spiritual awareness and greater self-mastery. In ancient India, where it originated, students would leave their parents home as children and join an ashram to be trained by an enlightened master. This training never ended their entire life since guidance by their teacher was never finished.
Most people in the US are only familiar with the basic physical postures known as Hatha Yoga. This is just one of the eight paths that make up what yoga is about. Yoga is the Science of the Soul brought down from the higher ages, from a more advanced enlightened culture that lived in India eons ago. It was preserved because it was transferred directly from teacher (aka Guru) to student. The word “yoga” means union. It means union with our Creator. All yoga is designed to bring you to a harmonious place within yourself so you can commune with God. Most yoga in the US is, as Yogi Amrit Desai calls it, “conflict on a yoga mat”. This Americanized yoga involves struggle, competition and trying to attain something; yoga’s true purpose is letting go and releasing. Most of the time in the US classes instead of going beyond identifying with an ego image, it is used to enhance the ego image. This is all the direct opposite of its intended purpose which is spiritual enlightenment.
Yoga is a self examination; mentally, physically, and spiritually. It is training in the art of going within or interiorization. It is designed to help us become aware of where and how we are on every level. Accurately knowing our current state is a prerequisite to making progress in our spiritual evolution. No matter why or on what level you practice yoga there is still a great benefit. The mental clarity and ability to focus one pointedly are direct outcomes of doing Hatha Yoga so all may be benefitted on whatever level they choose to embrace. Why is yoga not being taught correctly in the US? Because it takes a yogi to teach yoga and yoga is a life-long discipline not something you take a teacher training for a few weeks or months to become.