OPINION | What Yoga is not!

Yoga is being practised all over the world in various forms. However, much of it is hardly related to yoga in its essence. Here, through the words of Sadhguru, we seek to demystify many misconceptions that have cropped up in the name of yoga.

Yoga doesn’t mean impossible postures

Sadhguru: When we say yoga, probably for many people, it means twisting yourself out into some impossible postures. That is not what we are referring to as yoga. Yoga means to be in perfect tune with yourself your body, mind and inner nature are in absolute tune. When you fine-tune yourself to such a point where everything functions so beautifully within you, naturally the best of your abilities will flow out of you.

You may have noticed when you are happy, suddenly, your energies function so much better. You seem to have endless energy on that day. Even if you do not eat or sleep, it does not matter, you can go on and on. Knowing a little happiness liberates you from your normal limitations of energy and capability.

Yoga is the science of activating your inner energies in such a way that your body, mind and emotion function at their highest peak. If I do not sleep for a day or two, you will not notice any difference in me. I will go on doing a full day’s activity the same way, simply because the body and mind function in a completely different state of relaxation and with a certain level of blissfulness, which releases you from so many things that people normally struggle with. With the practice of yoga, your body and mind will be kept at its highest possible peak. This is a technology to create your inner situation the way you want it.

Yoga is not an exercise regime

Sadhguru: Yoga is not about just achieving physical and mental fitness. Health, physical fitness and mental fitness are only the side effects of yoga. The goal of yoga, the true benefit of yoga is about transcending the limitations of the body and the mind.

Yoga is not an exercise; it is a very subtle manipulation of your system to raise your perception to a completely different level. It is a whole technology to enhance one’s perception. The physical yoga that you see is just a small part of it. I know people have made that popular, but of all the Yoga Sutras, only one sutra is dedicated to asanas. Somehow in today’s world, this one sutra has gained significance over everything else.

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Hatha yoga is not the peak it is preparatory. If it is taught in a proper atmosphere, with a certain sense of humility and inclusiveness, it is a fantastic process. This is not about sculpting your body and showing it off. This is to make the body into a fantastic vessel. Hatha yoga is a powerful way of living not power over someone else, power to access life. It is a way of shaping your system in such a way that this will become a receptacle for the Divine.

Yoga doesn’t need any background music

Sadhguru: You never use music for asanas or yoga practices because then it will become like aerobics. We want you to be totally focused on it. Yogasanas are a very subtle process; they are not to be practiced as an exercise. There is a certain level of awareness which has to go with the practice, only then you can call it a yogasana. So, music is not what is needed.

Yoga is not something you practise only in the morning and evening

Sadhguru: Yoga is not a morning-evening kind of practice. There is a practice but that is not the important thing. Every aspect of your life, the very way you walk, breathe, interact everything should become a process of yoga. Nothing is excluded from this.

If you cultivate your body, mind, emotions and energies to a certain level of maturity, a certain quality arises within you. That is yoga. Yoga is not something that you do. Yoga is something that you become. It is not an act; it is a quality. Do the practices bring that quality? Definitely, but we do not teach it as some kind of an act that you do only for ten minutes a day. It is a quality that arises within you, if you do certain things in the right way.

If you take care of your garden well, there are flowers. In the same way, if you take care of what you call “myself” well, flowers will bloom. That means, being peaceful, happy or joyful is not determined by anything outside of you, it is determined by you. This is something that every human being must do to himself. Yoga is a subjective tool for this to happen.