We all do many things in the name of Yoga. Those of you who think they are doing Yoga do not know what the Yoga is. I have the audacity to make the statement in spite of not knowing what all you know about Yoga.
There are some common misconceptions about Yoga;
- Yoga is assumed to be a physical activity – Asana.
- Yoga is considered a breathing exercise – Pranayama.
- Yoga is considered to be good for the health.
- Yoga is about living quality and diseased free life.
- Yoga is good for curing diseases.
There are many more meanings and purposes for which people do Yoga.
Compare this with;
A movie which has;
- A Good Story
- Good Dialogues
- Good Songs
- Good Music
- Good Acting
- Good Actors
- Good Sets
But a movie is nothing out of the above. All the above are the parts of the movie but not a movie. A movie is a culmination of everything which makes a movie.
We all know about the story of an Elephant.
Once upon a time, there lived six blind men in a village. One day the villagers told them, “Hey, there is an elephant in the village today.”
They had no idea what an elephant is. They decided, “Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway.” All of them went where the elephant was. Every one of them touched the elephant.
“Hey, the elephant is a pillar,” said the first man who touched his leg.
“Oh, no! it is like a rope,” said the second man who touched the tail.
“Oh, no! it is like a thick branch of a tree,” said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant.
“It is like a big hand fan” said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant.
“It is like a huge wall,” said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant.
“It is like a solid pipe,” Said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant.
Everyone was talking about the parts of the Elephant but any one part is not the Elephant. The Elephant is all its parts put together.
Similarly, nothing mentioned above is Yoga. These are all parts of Yoga but not Yoga.
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What is Yoga?
Patanjali Yogasutra defines Yoga as Yogas chitta vritti nirodha.
Nirodha: Blockage /Stoppage
Fluctuations of the mind must stop. This should be achieved naturally and not by force. In fact, no one can achieve this by force.
Our mind fluctuates for five reasons:
- Right Knowledge – Pramana
- Wrong Knowledge – Viparyaya
- Imagination – Vikalpa
- Sleep – Nidra
- Memory – Smriti
It means that yoga is the achieving the still state of mind. It is about achieving total tranquillity/composure/equanimity. It is here in this state one experience the self i.e. soul as different from the body.
The Soul becomes indifferent to all bodily conditions – Pain/pleasure, happiness/sorrow.
There is a stanza in the song of a Dev Anand Movie, Hum Dono.
ġham aur ḳhushī meñ farq na mahsūs ho jahāñ,
maiñ dil ko us maqām pe laatā chalā gayā.
(Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi)
Where there is no difference between Happiness and Sorrow,
I moved on, trying to bring my heart into that state.
This is Yoga. What Dev Anand is striving to achieve in the song is Yoga. This you can do 24 x 7, every day. There is no need for Yoga mat or place to practice this. In all the situations one can practice Yoga. Real Yoga is striving to reach the equanimous state of mind.
Whatever you are doing in the name of Yoga if you are not striving to achieve that equanimous state of mind, you are not doing Yoga.
This month we all will celebrate Yoga Day. Start doing the correct Yoga in all the situations. Practitioners of this real Yoga are known as Yogis.