Although yoga is widely perceived as an exercise system, it is much more than that. Images of yoga mats, yoga outfits and physical postures are often depicted throughout the media and advertising, so the association naturally occurs. Also, while growing in popularity, yoga is fairly new to American culture. Therefore, there is much to learn about yoga and what it can do for you. The yogic discipline is far more than a fitness method for physical health or a psychological tool to achieve peace and happiness. Wellness of body and mind, considered by many as the primary benefits of yoga practice, are merely byproducts of becoming a fully balanced and vibrantly alive being.
The Sanskrit word “yoga” comes from the word “yuj” which means, “to unite.” So yoga is the union of the individual with the whole of existence, also commonly referred to as “self-realization,”nirvana,” “mukti,” or “enlightenment.” When you experience everything as yourself, you are in yoga because the word yoga means ‘union’. When you and ‘the other’ has disappeared–when only you exist, it’s yoga. A yogi means someone who has experienced this union or oneness of the existence. Logically, everybody can understand that I am a part of the existence, but the truth is the existence is also a part of you.
Yoga is a profound system. It evolved over an intricate and disciplined inner exploration. Sadhguru explains:
When we say “yoga,” probably for many of you it means some physical postures: twisting yourself into some impossible postures. That is not what we are referring to as yoga.
Yoga means to be in perfect tune. Your body, mind and spirit and the existence are in absolute harmony. When you fine-tune yourself to such a point where everything functions so beautifully within you, naturally the best of your abilities will just flow out of you. When you’re happy, your energies always function better. Do you see that when you’re happy you have endless energy? Even if you don’t eat, if you don’t sleep, it doesn’t matter; you can go on and on. Have you noticed this? So just a little happiness is liberating you from your normal limitations of energy and capability.
Now, yoga is the science of activating your inner energies in such a way that your body, mind and emotions function at their highest peak. When your body and mind function in a completely different state of relaxation and a certain level of blissfulness, you can be released from so many things that most people are suffering from. Right now, you come and sit in your office, and you have a nagging headache. Your headache isn’t a major disease, but it takes away your whole capability for that day. Just that throbbing takes away everything. With the practice of yoga, your body and mind will be kept at their highest possible peak.
There are also other dimensions to yoga. When you activate your energies, you can function in a different way. As you are sitting here right now, you consider yourself to be a person. You are identified with many things, but what you call as “myself” is just a certain amount of energy. Do you know, modern science is telling you that the whole existence is just energy manifesting itself in different ways? If this is so, then you’re also just a little bit of energy functioning in a particular way. As far as science is concerned, this same energy which you call as “myself” can be here as a rock, lie there as mud, stand up as a tree, bark as a dog, or sit here as you. Everything is the same energy, but functioning at different levels of capability.
Similarly among human beings, though we’re all made of the same energy, we still don’t function at the same level of capability. What you call capability or talent, what you call your ability to do things in the world, your creativity, is just a certain way your energy functions. This energy, in one plant it functions to create rose flowers, in another plant it functions to create jasmine, but it’s all the same energy manifesting itself. If you gain a little bit of mastery over your own energies, you will see, things that you never imagined possible, you will do simply and naturally. This is the experience of any number of people who have started doing these practices. It is the inner technology of creating situations the way you want them.
With the same mud that we build such huge buildings, initially people were building little huts. They thought that’s all they could do with it. With the same earth, haven’t we built computers? What you call a computer is dug out of the earth. We thought we could only dig mud and make pots or bricks out of it. Now we dig the earth and make computers, cars, and even spacecrafts out of it. It is the same energy; we have just started using it for higher and higher possibilities. Similarly, our inner energies are like that. There is a whole technology as to how to use this energy for higher possibilities. Every human being must explore and know this. Otherwise, life becomes very limited and accidental; you get to do only what you’re exposed to. Once you start activating your inner energies, your capabilities happen in a different sphere altogether.
Yoga is a tool to find ultimate expression to life.
So when you practice yoga, know that you have within your hands, a powerful tool to transform your life. If you have ever wanted to change your life, yoga is the profound science that can help you. However, to really reap the benefits of yoga, one has to aspire and to really work. The work begins with the physical, but there is much more to do that requires dedication, focus and discipline.
In these videos, Sadhguru explains how the physical postures of yoga are beyond exercise forms and how they can impact your life:
What is Surya Kriya Yoga?
Mind-Body Alignment: Yogasana