Why is yoga a spiritual practice and not just exercise?
Yoga was developed thousands of years ago. The ancients wanted to know why we are here and while we are here, how can we be happy? What they came up with back in the time of the oldest teachings, the Rig Veda, was that we are inherently happy. That is why we strive for happiness all the time.
But through years (or lifetimes?) we have developed patterns, physical and mental attitudes, that block our way.
The sciences of Yoga and Ayurveda come from these teachings and explain how if we are balanced, find out our own unique attributes and live in such a way that we are healthy, then we find the fountain of youth: physical health, mental health, emotional health and spiritual health. The path of self-knowledge IS the removal of suffering, and we can reach liberation (moksha).
The problem begins with the body. If we have any malady, that’s all we can focus on. “Ouch! I stubbed my big toe.” Now all I can think about is that physical pain. Any injury or illness can become all-consuming. We focus everything around it and even learn to identify with our illnesses.
The more focus something has, the more energy it has. It can grow this way.
The practice of yoga is to optimize physical health so that we can find liberation. We need to remove the obstructive patterns. We need to develop a relationship to our bodies for maximum health. Our patterns will then become apparent and we can do something about them.
Yoga is not a religion. It enhances our religions and our relationship to ourselves.
See you in class.