Is Yoga Only About Asanas?
Summary: Yoga is misunderstood, especially in the west, as twisting the body into impossible postures. Sadhguru says, that in Patanjali's yoga sutras, which form the bedrock of modern yoga, only one sutra is dedicated to asanas, thiram sukham asanam. Asanas are only for preparation, they are not the whole yoga. There are other dimensions to yoga. Sadhguru says "Yoga is a tool to find ultimate expression to life. Every human being must explore and know this".
article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org
Yoga: Finding Ultimate Expression to Life
Q: Sadhguru, I have heard you say that yoga is the Ultimate Expression. What is that?
Sadhguru: When we say “yoga,” for most people it probably means twisting the body into impossible postures. That’s not what yoga is about. Among the Yoga Sutras, which form the bedrock of today’s yoga, only one sutra is dedicated to asanas. All Patanjali said was “Sthiram sukham asanam” – a posture which is comfortable and firm, that is your asana. Asanas are a very preparatory step, but unfortunately they are being propagated as the whole of 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 a point where everything functions so beautifully within you, the best of your abilities will naturally flow out of you.
Have you noticed, just a little happiness can liberate you from your usual limitations of energy and capability. When you are happy, your energies always function better. You seem to have endless energy. It doesn’t matter even if you do not eat or sleep, you can go on and on. If a little happiness can do this to you, imagine if your body and mind were functioning in a completely different state of relaxation and a certain level of blissfulness. You would be released from so many things that most people suffer from. For example, let’s say you have a nagging headache. Your headache is not a major disease but just that throbbing pain can take all your capability away for the whole day. But 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. Right now, you consider yourself to be a person and are identified with many things. But what you call “myself” is just a certain amount of energy. Modern science says that the whole existence is just energy manifesting itself in different ways. You are just a certain amount of energy functioning in a particular way. As far as science is concerned, this same energy which you call as “myself” could be a rock, could lie there as mud, stand up as a tree, bark as a dog or manifest as you. Everything is the same energy, but functioning at different levels of capability.
Yoga is a tool to find ultimate expression to life. Every human being must explore and know this.
Similarly among human beings, though we are all made of the same energy, we do not function at the same level of capability. What we refer to as capability, talent, creativity or your ability to do things in the world is just a certain way your energy functions. In one plant, this energy functions to create rose flowers. In another, it functions to create jasmine. But it is all the same energy manifesting itself. If you gain a little bit of mastery over your own energies, you will simply and naturally do things that you never imagined possible. This is the experience of any number of people who have started doing yogic practices. It is the inner technology of creating situations the way you want them.
With the same mud that we build such huge buildings, people initially built little huts. They thought that was all they could do with it. Haven’t we built computers with the same earth? We thought we could only dig out earth and make pots or bricks out of it. Now we make computers, cars and even spacecrafts. It is the same energy, but we have started using it for higher possibilities.
Similarly, there is a whole technology as to how to use our inner energies for higher possibilities. Yoga is a tool to find ultimate expression to life. Every human being must explore and know this. Otherwise, life becomes very limited and accidental. But once you start activating your inner energies, your capabilities happen in a different sphere altogether.