by cleaves Saturday, Jun 7 2008, 2:27am
international / personal development / article
After forty years study and practise of Yoga and other related disciplines I can confidently say I know less today than I did when I ‘started,’ which, nevertheless, is considerably more than most ochre-robed yoga ‘experts’ who advertise in various new-age publications.
As a service to fellow aspirants of Truth and practitioners of Peace I dedicate the following paper.
Borderline schizos, loosely hinged mentalities, and those prone to fantasy will find no comfort here! This discourse is devoid of all fantastic and new-age descriptive coswallop.
To the rest, I wish you all eternal peace (your present condition) and limitless love (the nature of your being).
YOGA is a psycho-physical discipline designed to tone the body and focus the mind. The objective of Yoga is to discover what manifests/occurs when a fully focused mind functions in a fully-toned, harmoniously functioning body. That simple! View with suspicion anyone who would elaborate, with colourful, flowery descriptions. I’ve heard them all and none have any relevance to real Yoga, which is a state of Being!
You will be happy to learn that the benefits of Yoga are non-discriminatory; moral and amoral persons derive benefits proportional to the degree of expertise achieved; Yoga is NOT religion, it is a science.
I would cite the infamous dictator, Robert Mugabe, as an example. The 84 year-old despot is as sharp as a whip and is easily able to handle intellectual challenges from the best the West can offer. Mugabe practises Yoga every morning and has done so for years. At 84 he easily ‘runs rings’ around politicians half his age in face to face debates. Such are the non-discriminatory benefits of Yoga! The reader will note that Yoga has done nothing to improve his moral or ethical conduct, nor should it!
I would also cite an age-old, still extant, tradition of Indian fighters, known as ‘Sanyasins/Sadhus’ who practised yoga as an essential component to their combat training. Sadhus were not always the chillum-pulling vagabonds we see on the banks of the Ganges today. In other words Yoga benefits ALL who practise it; ‘sin’ is a moralistic, dirty word and has no meaning or relevance in Yoga – how refreshing!
I would also state that YOGA, once achieved, does not incline one to crime or sociopathic pursuits; the experient is apt to become an extremely valuable member of the human race, if so inclined – nonetheless, any ‘outcome’ is possible including the rejection of ‘normal’ human society.
Yoga tones and conditions the nervous system and concentrates the vital energies. These energies are then focused and channelled via mental disciplines in much the same way a magnifying glass focuses rays from the sun – EASILY! The result is always heightened human abilities and an increased sense of well being. Persistent, unflinching, correct practice always culminates in total absorption known as Samadhi – a state that allows for knowledge beyond time and space.
Yes, indeed, Yoga offers a doorway to Infinity; notwithstanding it was never closed.
I cannot go into detail regarding various advanced practices, as they require one-to-one instruction; however, understand that the human body was/is purpose-built and given half a chance will harmonise of its own accord.
The safest approach for western students and others lacking personal supervision is the form known as RAJA YOGA and the most lucid and coherent exponent is Swami Vivekananda; I refer everyone to his excellent text of that name.
Performing simple asanas ensures adequate body and nerve toning – any text describing basic asanas would suffice, however, I recommend, “Popular Yoga Asanas” by Swami Kuvalayananda and “Yoga Therapy” by Dr. R. K. Garde.
Meditation is the key to all achievement, practise it regularly morning and evening. Extend the sitting period as you gain in proficiency, it is a joy and provides its own allure. No mantras or other aids are necessary, just let go! However, if you require support in the beginning, simply visualise -- to the exclusion of all other thoughts -- a lotus at the crown of the head or a pearl between the eyebrows. A little practice fixes the attention; the tendency of the mind to wander is overcome in due course.
If you would derive maximum benefit maintain your yoga/meditation routine. The most important aspect is not the object but habitual practise; you will be more than rewarded for your efforts.
Raja Yoga -- Swami Vivekananda