Learning Nuances Of Yoga
Yoga evolved on the Indian subcontinent over the course of several millennia. Its physical exercises continue to be developed today, partly in response to the physical limitations and also the mental challenges (notably the lack of concentration) of modern people. It is often complained that the spirituality embedded in yoga smacks of religion related to it, but the truth remains that “ Spiritual” suggests a quality that relates to the luminous core of one’s being. That core goes beyond language and the mind. Yet, it is not religious as commonly understood. Yoga as a whole also ought not to be equated with religion. It developed by trial and error on the part of thousands of practitioners. Its goal is inner freedom—which is the freedom from the compulsions of our limited personality; above all freedom from the habit of self—centeredness.
Yoga’s goal does not contradict the highest aspirations that a deeply religious and mystically- inclined person has. Yet, as said before, it is not a religion. It is not merely a philosophy either. It is a discipline. Some schools of yoga admittedly have a stronger religious element than others. The main point, though, is that yoga comprises many approaches. Each approach is tailored to a particular personality type—the thinker, the man (or woman) of action, the performer of rituals, the heart- oriented person, the individual who enjoys singing or chanting, and certainly the contemplative , as well as the person who has strong monastic tendencies.
We are subject to change from the moment we are conceived to the moment we die. We grow physically and mentally in the whole span of our life. If we are fortunate and take the initiative, we also grow spiritually.
Change is inside and around us. We cannot think of life without change. We can relate consciously to the inevitability of change and engage change as deliberate self- transformation. This lies in fact at the heart of all spiritual disciplines, including yoga.
Written by two esteemed yoga teachers and scholars in the West—George Feuerstein and his wife Brenda Feuerstein—the book Yoga: A Beginner’s Guide is divided into two sections. In part 1 the authors establish the substructure of yoga, with short essays that covers basic principles: the meaning of yoga, the practice, the types, the deeper commitment and levels. They go on to explain practical applications of Yogic philosophy to all aspects of life, including: diet, working with the mind, livelihood, and the transcendence of ego.
In part 2, a unique question and answer format, they address 30 of the most commonly asked questions by newcomers to this path. Their straightforward and highly- authoritative responses will give any practitioner a more direct understanding of the issues involved in adopting yoga as a practice, a lifestyle, a spiritual philosophy.
By Nilabh Krishna