4 Myths about Yoga – Busted!

Several myths about yoga have long been masquerading as facts. It’s time we demystify yoga, in Sadhguru’s words.

Myth 1: Why be a human when you can be a pretzel? Yoga is all about impossible postures.

Sadhguru: When we utter the word “yoga”, most people on the planet only think of asanas. Of all the different things that the science of yoga explores – just about every aspect of life – today’s world has chosen to represent yoga with only the physical aspect. In the yogic system, there is very little significance given to asanas. For a little over two hundred Yoga Sutras, only one sutra is dedicated to asanas. But somehow, in modern times, this one sutra has gained significance over everything else.

The practice as you see it – the mechanics of it, is simply of the body. You have to breathe life into it, otherwise it will not become alive. This is why traditionally, there has been so much stress on a live Guru – to make it alive. The yogic system is a subtle manipulation of your system to allow it to rise to a different level. Yoga means that which allows you to attain to your higher nature. Every asana, every mudra, every way of breathing – everything – is focused towards this.

Myth 2: Want six-pack abs? Yoga is a great exercise regime.

If fitness is what you are seeking, if you want six-pack abs or whatever number, I would say go and play tennis or hike in the mountains. Yoga is not an exercise, it has other dimensions attached to it. A different dimension of fitness – yes – you get health out of it, but not six-pack abs. If you are doing yoga to burn calories or tone up your muscle, obviously you are doing improper yoga, there is no question about that. For abs, you can go to the gym. Yoga needs to be practiced in a very subtle, gentle way, not in a forceful muscle-building way, because this is not about exercise.

The physical body has a whole memory structure. If you are willing to read this physical body, everything – how this cosmos evolved from nothingness to this point – is written into this body. When you do asanas, you are opening up that memory and trying to restructure this life towards an ultimate possibility. If hatha yoga is taught in a proper atmosphere, it is a fantastic process of shaping your system into a fantastic vessel, a fabulous device to receive the Divine.

Myth 3: Find your groove. Yoga & music go well.

There should never be a mirror or music when you practice asanas. Hatha yoga demands a certain involvement of your body, mind, energy and the innermost core. If you want to get the involvement of that which is the source of creation within you, your body, your mind, your energy must be absolutely involved. You should approach it with a certain reverence and certain focus. Not just going, playing music and doing something. One of the biggest problems in yoga studios is, the teacher is doing asanas and speaking. This is a sure way to cause damage to yourself.

No talking in the asana is not just a norm, it is a rule. You never ever speak in postures. The breath, the mental focus and the stability of energy is most important when you are doing the asana. If you speak, you will destroy all that. At least eight to ten people have come to us with serious imbalances with which we have helped them. I think about four of them have given up their profession now because they knew what nonsense they were doing.

A lot of people who have done improper yoga have lost their mental balance. This is not because yoga is dangerous. Stupidity has always been a dangerous thing on the planet. You do something stupid, it will cause damage to you. Stupidity is one thing which has always been a dangerous thing on this planet, right from ancient times.

Myth 4: Yoga is something you practice every morning and evening

Yoga is not something that you do morning-evening. It is a certain way of being. One must become yoga. If it’s morning-evening yoga, the rest of the time entanglement – this is not yoga, this is only yoga practice.

There is no aspect of life which is excluded from the yogic process. If your life becomes yoga, then you can do everything. You can run your family, you can go to the office, you can run your business, you can do whatever you want without any problem if your way of being becomes yoga. Every aspect of life, either you can use it to entangle yourself or to liberate yourself. If you are using it to entangle yourself, we call it as karma. If you are using it to liberate yourself, we call it yoga.

The article is by Sadhguru - Founder of Isha Foundation.

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