The Questions That Arise From Doing Yoga
I think it’s official. Westerners believe that Yoga is merely a physical activity to enhance flexibility, optimal fitness and well-being. It is also a good way to sweat and detox the body, although that part might be getting too much into holistic thinking, which most Westerners are either unprepared for, or simple write it off as New Age quackery.
Well, it’s true!
I think in America, especially. Yoga is something you do in the gyms that is something else besides Pilates or a HIIT class.
I’ve always thought of Yoga as first and foremost, a spiritual practice that blends all aspects of Life and covers the physical, mental/emotional and the spiritual.
Yes, you can get into great shape by practicing Yoga. You can get into all sorts of pretzel-like poses. You can achieve that Yoga Butt. But to what aim?
Defining Asana Practice
The original aim of Asana practice (the third limb of Yoga) was to prepare the body for the next limbs of Yoga, which culminate in deep meditation and Samadhi, union with everything. But this is a hard thing for Westerners to grasp, and I admit it’s hard for me to grasp, although I’m a firm believer in achieving Samadhi.
Anyway, the true “flexibility” of Yoga is profound, the more one thinks about it. The more you practice and go deeper into the 8 limbs of Yoga, one discovers that ALL is Yoga. How you view Life in general will change as you study and practice the full range of Yoga throughout the years.
I don’t consider myself at that stage of enlightenment. I’m forever a student. And I continue to have questions.
For instance. Is it necessary to achieve the more advanced poses of Asana in order to achieve success in the other limbs of Yoga?
I admit that my current flexibility prohibits me right now to achieve such advanced poses. And if I do, will that take the practice deeper? Or will that mean I am just more flexible?
Some people are naturally flexible. More flexible than others.
In the end. For a spiritualist. Maybe the Asana poses are no longer necessary?
Paramahansa Yogananda was never photographed doing advanced poses that even a non-spirtualist that is advanced in the poses can do. I wonder.
Anyway, this is something I’ve been pondering over for the past several weeks, as I notice more and more Yogis who are more flexible than me, yet I’ve been practicing Yoga for years and not as flexible. Yet, I feel I am obviously more spiritually inclined that many. I think all the years of playing a musical instrument has been my Yoga flexibility.
I believe Music is Yoga.
It’s a form of advanced meditation that requires years and years of study on a given instrument.
Maybe that’s where I make up for the in-flexibility.