What is yoga and why do we practice it? In terms of the living yoga tradition this is important to have some idea of. Should you be only interested in moving the body through yoga postures, then pleae do so. To practice yoga as it was intended and for the reasons it came about is much more than just body moves. Any yoga you practice that is physical (ashtanga, satyananda or Iyenger yoga) is a form of Hatha yoga, or simply put yoga on a physical level. This hatha yoga, the form of yoga you are all used too, evolved to prepare the individual for Raja yoga.
Raja yoga is essentially the science, understanding and mastery of the mind. Self realisation, and mental well being. The physical benefits and welbeing brought about through Hatha yoga and cleansing practices help to eliminate the distractions to the mind. A fit healthy body won’t distract the mind. A constantly aching body or any other dis-ease in the body will distract from the real purpose, mastery and understanding of the mind. How can you focus on the subtle aspects of the mind and beyond if your back is in pain? How can you live day to day in a state of yoga and serenity when your constantly feeling pain and distraction in the body?
The practice of yoga ; the postures, breathing and relaxation should start to develop the path of Raja yoga, or more it should help reveal to the practitioner what yoga is about. The way you approach postures and the yoga practice should cultivate and develop in time, an opening to the subtle aspects of yoga. No one can truly give you an experiential understanding of what yoga is, you have to practice to uncover the essence of yoga. No need to be able to acheive the best postures ever, thats not the point.
Practice, thats all, and you will begin to understand the true meaning of yoga.
Yoga Bija (c) 2015
Posted in About Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga (Yoga Sutras)