Of all the things in the world, of all the things that a human being can do, why yoga? Everything that human beings can do is essentially an expression of who they are. Somebody sings a song, somebody dances, somebody writes a book, somebody paints a picture, whatever else we do, is an expression of who you are. You may be conscious of it, you may be unconscious of it but still everything that you say, everything that you do, everything that comes out of you is essentially an expression of who you are.
So yoga, in that way is diametrically opposite to this, because it’s not an expression of who you are, it’s about determining as to who you are. It’s about determining as to what you want to be, changing the very fundamentals of one’s existence. Today there is substantial medical and scientific evidence to show that the very fundamentals of the activity of your brain, your chemistry, even your genetic content can be changed, by practicing different systems of yoga. This needed no confirmation because we have always witnessed this, but today there is scientific data to prove this. So this is not an expression of who you are, this is about determining the nature of who you wish to be. Changing the fundamental ingredients which has made you, who you are.
So yoga as a system needs much more involvement than any other things that one – any other forms of things that we do, which are merely an expression of who we are. If you find full expression through any particular activity, it may also leave you somewhat transformed. If you cook with all your heart, some transformation may happen. Yes. Taking care of a cow can change your life, you know? If you sing with all your heart, some transformation may happen. If you dance with all your heart, some transformation may happen. But that is only a certain impact that is happening, because of absolute involvement in a particular activity. But essentially that activity by nature is an expression of who you are, it is not determining the nature of who you are.
So when we transform our activity, not as an expression of who you are – because who wants to find expression like this [getting into a yoga posture] in the morning? Definitely not, isn’t it? So, it is not an expression. It is a method, it is a means, it’s a technology, through which you can change the shape of who you are. Literally also, otherwise also. You can change the very shape of who you really are right now, that can be transformed. Because who you are right now as a person is a combination of things – genetic material, before that the karmic substance that you carry, because of that you chose a certain womb, so the genetic material and since the moment you’re born, whatever kind of impressions that have gone into you in the form of variety of experiences, situations, thoughts, emotions, relationships, associations, whatever else you have imbibed – all these things make you a certain kind of person.
When you say, ‘I am a certain kind of person,’ what you are saying is, ‘I have this kind of compulsions.’ When you say, ‘I’m this kind of person,’ what you’re saying is, ‘This is the kind of compulsions, that I identify myself with. So, I am this kind of a person.’ People, you know, it’s a very western thing but it’s very much there in India today, because lot of Indians are far more western than West. You know, if you go all the way west, you come back to India, so they are much more western than Westerners are today. So people say, ‘I’m a morning person. I’m a evening person.’ So what they mean is, ‘Morning, I cannot wake up in the morning, that means I’m a evening person.’ ‘I can’t stay awake in the evening, so I’m a morning person.’ Not only that, people – it’s going far, you know, some are Blackberry people, some are Apple people. It’s all getting – world is getting divided in so many ways. They’re not just instruments that you use and keep it down, you get identified with it. So there are chapatti people, there are rice people, there are dosa people, there are idli people, you know – all kinds.
So what kind you are is essentially a certain type of compulsions. So you set yourself into the process of yoga because you don’t want to be this kind or that kind – that you will be the kind that you’re required to be in a particular moment. If it’s morning, you’re a morning person. If it’s evening you’re an evening person. If you’re not required to be a person, you’re not a person. That is, you’ve become flexible. This flexibility we start working with your body to start with, afterwards it should come to every aspect of your life. Your physical structure, your psychological structure, your emotional structure, your karmic structure, everything should become flexible, that it can be whatever it is required to be, it is not stuck being this way or that way.
So, yoga as a process, yoga as a method, yoga as a technology, yoga as a science is essentially, to break the limitations of a certain concretization that happens, which we call as personality. To evolve from being a person to a presence. If you’re a person that means you have made a shell out of yourself. You formed a shell, within that shell only you can operate. If you break the shell, you will no more be a person but simply a presence, as life is, as God is, just a presence. If it can be encased in a shell, it becomes a person. So yoga means slowly you’re working on making this shell thinner and thinner, more and more porous, that one day you can exist without a shell.
So essentially in your experience, yoga means morning [feeling lazy]. Why the sadhana, the way it is – all aspects of physicality are cyclical in the universe. Planets are going around the sun, the solar system are moving, everything in the galaxy in the cosmos is cyclical. The more and more you’re identified with your physical system, the more and more cyclical you are also. Your experiences are cyclical, the process of life is cyclical. If you watch carefully enough, even the situations that you face in your life come in cycles.
So yoga means, on one level, to break the cycle of life. What is a circle right now, we want to open it up and make it a straight line. Because if you are going in circles, if I say you’re going in circles what does it mean to you? You’re not going anywhere. It just gives you an impression that you’re going somewhere, but you’re not really going anywhere, you’re going through the same thing again and again. So yoga means to open up the circle and stretch it out like a straight line, that if you follow the line you go somewhere, you’re not going round and round.
Nature is not going to release you so simply, you have to work at it, and work at it, and work at it. Otherwise you must be happy doing the circle. A circle also can be described as a circus. If you become conscious, the whole thing looks like a circus. If you are not conscious, you can only see three feet in front of you, then it’s all real. If you can see the whole circle of your life, suddenly it becomes like a circus. Once you realize this circus, you don’t want to go through this circus again and again. Only if your vision is too limited, you can see only three feet in front of you, everything is real for you. If you open up and see the whole circle the way you’re going, it looks like a circus and definitely you don’t want it to continue forever, you want to do something about it.
So these cycles, these repetitive cycles of compulsiveness is coming because there are various types of memories in the system. Memories, karmic memories, information essentially means memory, isn’t it? It is the foundations of information that we carry which has constructed this body the way it is – to live in it and not to be of it, will not come easy. I’m not saying it’s difficult, but it needs to be worked at.
The sadhana is just about this. However simple the sadhana is, every day if it is worked at, slowly one can see a certain level of freedom happening within you step-by-step, maybe inch-by-inch, maybe micro-millimeter by micro-millimeter but nobody can say it is not releasing you. It will slowly release you. If you want to go rapidly, a lot more to do. You don’t mind going slowly, something to do.