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What is Yoga?

By Lulu Sturdy

SADHGURU JAGGI VASUDEV EXPLAINS THAT IT IS NOT CONTORTING YOUR BODY, HOLDING YOUR BREATH OR A RELIGION, BUT A CERTAIN WAY OF BEING …

What is Yoga? I think it is better I tell you what is not yoga. So much misinterpretation of the word has happened that speaking about what is not yoga is more relevant.

Standing on your head is not yoga, holding your breath is not yoga, twisting your body is not yoga. Yes, these are various yogic practices, but when we say “yoga” we are referring to a certain state – a certain way of being. The word “yoga” means union. Union means you begin to experience the universality of who you are. For example, today, modern science proves to you beyond any doubt that the whole of existence is just one energy manifesting itself in various forms. If this scientific fact becomes a living reality for you, that you begin to experience everything as one, then you are in yoga.

Once you experience yourself as everything, or everything as yourself, after that nobody has to tell you how to be in this world. If you experience all the people here as yourself, does anybody have to teach you morals as to how to be? Does anybody have to tell you “don’t harm this person, don’t kill this person and don’t rob this person?” So when you are in yoga, you experience everything as a part of yourself, and that is liberation, that is mukti; that is ultimate freedom.

Yoga is not a religion. Yoga is a science. As there are physical sciences to create external wellbeing, yoga is the science for inner wellbeing. Yoga has nothing to do with any particular religion; it is a science for inner wellbeing.

This yogic science is of utmost importance now, like never before, because today we have tremendous power in our hands. With modern science and technology, tomorrow if we want, we can flatten a mountain or city. When we have this much power in our hands, it is very very important, that we have an inner sense, an awareness of life, and that we experience life and everyone as part of ourselves. Otherwise, we can create a calamity for ourselves and the world around us – which right now we are doing to some extent. This has happened because we have attended only to the external science. We have never looked at the inner science within us.

Just as there is an external science to create external wellbeing, there is an inner science to create inner wellbeing. So, the whole science of what we refer to as yoga is an inner science.

Yoga can be transmitted on many different levels. One is towards one’s physical and mental wellbeing which includes health and other aspects. Or it could be transmitted as a tool for ultimate wellbeing – in the sense that you can use this system as a stepping stone to go beyond. You can use this yoga just to get rid of your backache if you want, or you can use this yoga to get better mental focus and a little peace of mind and happiness in your life, or you can use this yoga as a way of climbing up to the highest possibility within yourself.

Using yoga just for health is not wrong, but it is a crime, because it can take you to places where you have never imagined. It is a way of approaching the Creator through Creation. It can be a ladder to the divine. It is my wish and blessing that you should know the joy of being truly well, not just physical wellbeing, but to know and exude wellbeing in all dimensions of your existence.

“Where is the time for yoga in our hectic lives?”

Now you get up at six o clock, go to the office, work, come back home, take care of the kids, eat and till whatever time you go to bed, you have a busy day. Where is the time for Yoga? You have time to eat, to gossip, to work – you have the time to take care of everything, but you have no time to take care of yourself.

This attitude comes about because you try to act like a martyr all the time, “I have no time for myself. I am giving myself totally to everybody.” What is it that you are giving? Your agitations, irritations, anxieties are being passed on to children. If you are truly concerned about your children, creating a joyful and loving atmosphere for their growth on a daily basis, moment to moment, is more important.

If you invest, even thirty minutes a day into yoga, you will enhance your capabilities and you will gain immensely, even in terms of time. The first thing is your sleep quota will come down. If you are sleeping eight hours a day, that means you are just sleeping off one third of your life. If your body and mind are more energized and active, your sleep quota will naturally come down. So if you gain three, four hours a day, just in terms of wakefulness, that is a huge benefit.
Apart from that, with a simple process of yoga, your body and mind get more organized. You would see that your level of performance becomes such that whatever you are doing in eight hours, you will very easily be able to do it in three to four hours. This is simply because, if you observe yourself through the day, you will notice how many unnecessary movements, words, and activities are happening in your life.

If your mind becomes more organized, these unnecessary words and movements will disappear. Once they go away, you feel more energetic and will also have a lot of time. You have twenty four hours to live. If we are organized and focused human being, we can do plenty in twenty four hours time. If you are disorganized and unfocused, you think there is not time. Most people are not busy, they are just preoccupied. It is just too much preoccupation in the mind.

If one makes time and brings yoga into their lives, suddenly the quality of their life will be very different.
Sadhguru will be in Uganda in April 2012 to give talks on yoga, and to teach a three-day yoga programme, Inner Engineering, which requires no previous knowledge of yoga.

For programme bookings and further information contact uganda@ishafoundation.org or call 0712 412/0772 537 891 345, or follow our facebook page: Isha.Uganda; you can also follow Sadhguru through his blog sadhguru.org/spot or visit www.ishafoundation.org