What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of yoga? Too boring? Too bendy? I can never be that flexible! or I’d rather prefer Gym over yoga?
If you think so, you share an awful lot of similar mindset with the people around the world before this corona pandemic. But, these months of quarantine and lockdown have been testing our patience for quite a while now, so people are tending to indulge themselves into art, creativity, culinary and surprisingly, yoga and meditation.
So what changed? What made them start the meditation and yoga they’ve been avoiding their whole lives.
A simple one word answer is, Realization.
Yoga has its roots in India. The actual meaning and motive of yoga has been changed during its journey of thousands of years towards the west. Yoga was never all about stretching or bending or twisting but according to the oldest known ancient scriptures to humankind, the Vedas, it was a medium to be one with that ultimate divine power.
Before randomly starting yoga and meditation, we should know a little about the vastness that yoga carries. Lord Krishna during the battle of Mahabharata gave his words of wisdom to his fellow Arjuna in the battlefield of Kurukshetra, which we know as Bhagavad Gita. Gita describes the three major forms of yoga in which all other forms lie. Janna Yoga is the yoga of knowledge; Bhakti Yoga is the yoga of devotion; and Karma Yoga is the yoga of action.
Jnana yoga is considered to be the most mystical and most difficult of all but is known to be the direct path towards recognizing yourself as a manifestation of divine consciousness. In the book The yoga of time travel by Fred Alan Wolf, he talks about how the ancient Indian rishis were able to leave all their desires or ‘maya’ behind and attain the path of divinity and how this helped them to travel to the places they’ve never been, by physically present in one place anytime they want.
It is nearly impossible for our generation to attain that divinity considering the evolution of our materialistic mindset and never ending desires.
Bhakti yoga is based on the realisation that it is very difficult for a normal man to realize consciousness as formless, as in Janna yoga, rather than devoting themselves to a divine form. It accepts the eternal division between the self of the devotee and the self of the Supreme Being.
This form of yoga is also not much appreciated by our generation considering the growing choice of people to be an atheist and non believer.
Karma yoga is a practical and mundane approach towards realising liberation and that’s why it is the most accepted form of yoga in the modern western world. Kriya Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Tantra Yoga, Laya Yoga, Dhyana Yoga, Samadhi Yoga, and Raja Yoga are all different modes of Karma Yoga. In all these modes of yoga, the practitioner performs certain yogic actions intending to derive a direct benefit, such as a stronger, healthier body, a longer life, a smooth flow of prana, a powerful intellect that can concentrate at will, a penetrating insight that can be directed at objects normally hidden, the ability to know whatever one wishes — and the list goes on.
The yogasanas you see people doing around you are actually a part of karma yoga which is the most accepted form of yoga by our generation.
Yoga is also linked with Ayurveda, the ancient and one of the oldest medication systems. Ailments cause the deposition of toxins in your body, Yoga increases your blood flow through that particular area and removes the accumulated toxins. Unlike western medicines based on chemicals and salts, it doesn’t focus on superficial removal of pain, but the removal of root causing that pain.
These all so-called ‘dharm gurus’ have made most of us hate being religious for their personal benefits but always remember, our ancient Indian culture is so rich, so vast and everything our rishi-munis used to do had a scientific connection and justifiable reasons behind them.
We just have to lift ourselves from our incomplete beliefs in our respective religion and look deep into the actual message they convey, Peace, Harmony, Patience and Good health, exactly the things we need during these times of immense discomfort by global pandemic.