Yoga Beyond Bending
By Kino MacGregor • November 25th, 2010 • 4337 Views
Yoga at first glance seems only like a really cool way to bend and twist your body while washing and folding your joints. Sometimes the hot bodies of yoga teachers and longterm students entice many to practice in the hopes of getting that almost famous toned, slim yoga body. Yet even though some students find their way into yoga because of the external form of the postures, the heart of yoga is a sincere spiritual investigation of the inner self. The highest potential of yoga practice is a constant connection with the highest source of divinity we can know and experience. If practiced with diligence over many years yoga connects us with an imperturbable, eternally calm place within. But yoga done without the intention of true inner peace uses the body's outward appearance as a goal in itself and has more in common with sports and fitness than traditional yoga.
While I love sports and fitness and feel that most highly accomplished athletes are deeply spiritual and connected people, I am careful to distinguish yoga from sport. Yoga is not athletics though it asks the body to perform very athletic feats. It is tempting to create an exercise routine based on the techniques of yoga to stretch and strength the body. But the deeper benefits of yoga cannot be distilled and separated from the true intention behind it--the goal of inner peace. The body or the level of physical performance in yoga is never an end in and of itself. In fact yoga actually teaches you how to release attachment and identification with the body, the mind and the emotions. Instead yoga teaches practitioners learn how to identify with the seat of the soul within themselves. It is by challenging and moving past the known limits of the body that practitioners ultimately learn that they are not bound by their physical form. Through facing and transcending mental and emotional boundaries yoga students get first hand experience of their limitless potential for greatness.
Yoga is a path of liberation from the material world of mind and matter. It is a door into the inner world and a life devoted to inner peace. Physical form and posture, although extremely useful along the way, are...