The Yoga Life
The yoga life is no antiquated form of living. Yes the origins of yoga can be traced back several millennia to the Vedic culture of ancient India, even further back than recorded history can take us. Yet though lifestyles have changed, attitudes have shifted and technologies have become more complex, the human being, in its essential physical and mental make-up, remains relatively unchanged. …
There are those who profess that the people of ancient times possessed a higher capacity of thought and virtue, and when one studies history and the literature of antiquity, and in turn observes the world around them today, it is difficult not to form that same conclusion.
But in both a biological and psychological sense, the human being has not changed scarcely a notable degree since recorded times. In general, we possess the same potentials for noble conduct or despicable behavior as we always have.
However, historical cultures may have nurtured a foundation in their societies which supported a degree of higher values, hence allowing the peoples of those times to emulate higher moral and ethical standards of living.
So we must always remember that we are a product of our time. This ‘self’ that we have come to know is not our ‘Real Self’, not the higher, unconditioned, pure and ‘Eternal Self’ within, but merely a reflection of the ideals, attitudes, opinions and behaviors of the culture and times in which we live.
The science of yoga helps us to re-discover our ‘True Self’ and as a result, bring forth a peace, a joy, and a sense of fulfilment previously unknown to us.
Yoga as a Way of Life
Yoga is not twisting and bending and contorting the body, balancing on your head or sitting cross-legged listening to some cosmic, new-age music. It is not traipsing off to a ‘yoga class’ in a downtown studio with your polypropylene yoga-mat slung over your shoulder in a stylish, hand-embroidered Tibetan-silk carrying case.
Yoga is a ‘way of life’ — a life wherein the highest principles and practices are made the foundation of one’s day-to-day existence, compelling one to live in a highly moralistic and ethical way, in a manner that is consistent with natural laws and in harmony with the world around us. The one who lives thus, lives a yoga life.
But yoga is no morbid form of existence either, nor is it a monastic condition of any sort. The yoga life is dynamic. It allows one to experience whatever paths in life one chooses to pursue to the highest, most fulfilling and rewarding degree.
Thus, to live a ‘yoga life’ we must consider every aspect of our lives, from diet to lifestyle, our attitudes and habits, our work and our associations, and strive to cultivate that which is conducive to growth and higher achievement, while endeavouring to relinquish that which is not.
Lifestyles and Habits
As Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri remarked:
“I am surprised how many yogically minded people have not experimented with yogic living. That includes a natural diet of natural foods, plenty of fresh water, and the complete avoidance of tobacco and alcohol… Please be certain that if your yoga instructor smokes and drinks, even moderately, that the yoga you are going to get through that screen is going to be distorted. Junk is junk, and if you want health and well-being, you cannot play with junk!”
|This page is an exerpt from one of the 21 lessons of The Basic Yoga Trainer eCourse at www.theyogatutor.com. To view the rest of this lesson, you must enrol here .|