Is Yoga good for you?
You have been asking this question time and again to yourself.
Yoga has been a craze lately, and some of your friends have been claiming how Yoga made their life effortless.
But you have your doubts.
You are afraid you may not be able to bend yourself in the crazy ways your Yoga Teacher might want you to.
You’re feeling incapable of achieving that perfect posture.
In fact you sort of dislike Yoga because one of your cool friends became snooty and weird after she started practicing it.
You read the heading right, Yoga is not good for you.
Let me tell you why.
IF YOU WANT A GREAT BODY
Yoga is a spiritual science. The Sanskrit word ‘Yoga’ itself means union. The ultimate union if of the individual consciousness with Universal Consciousness and you may hear about it through different names – Shiva and Shakti, Sushumna and Sahasrara, Yin and Yang etc.
Point is, Yoga is about raising self-consciousness to higher levels through different practices – physical and mental.
In case you are thinking of coming into Yoga just for the body, please go to a gym or do Pilates. Yoga is not JUST about achieving a great body, it may only be one of the by-products.
IF YOU ARE CHASING A DEFINITION OF PERFECTION
If you are wondering is Yoga good for you for achieving perfection of a particular kind, then it may not be the right choice for you.
There is a possibility that your head stand may not last longer than one minute whereas you see others holding it for infinity. You may struggle with certain situations and feelings, even though you practice meditation daily.
Respecting your body and mind while challenging it, is an art you need to learn in Yoga. The fundamental attribute you keep coming back in Yoga, is self-belief and self-love. And once you have perfected that, you will stop searching for perfection, because ‘imperfection’ only exists in the mind.
IF YOU WANT TO STAND APART FROM THE CROWD
The one thing Yoga practitioners have to be most careful about, is their Ego.
Ego is the biggest trap, and so powerful that it can manifest in the most accomplished of practitioners; ultimately becoming the reason of their downfall on the spiritual path.
One of my Tantra teachers used to say, ‘Run away from everything that increases your Ego’.
Unfortunately, often we start making Yoga itself the source of our Ego. We think we are better because we practice Yoga and the rest of the world is inferior to us.
If you feel you can become like one of those people, Yoga is not for you. It is just one way to the ultimate truth.
IF YOU DON’T LIKE BEING DISCIPLINED
This whole existence including our own body follows a certain discipline. Pick up any physiological system in your body and you will realize it is nothing but a flow of pre-determined disciplined actions.
Everything in the nature has a certain kind of discipline – the sun rises each morning and the moon shines at night.
Similarly, the entire science of Yoga is based on a certain kind of ‘Discipline’. All the eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali are nothing but a discipline of different kind –
- Yama – Discipline of self towards society
- Niyama – Discipline of self towards self
- Asana – Discipline of Body
- Pranayam – Discipline of Breath
- Pratyahara – Discipline of Senses
- Dharana – Discipline of One Pointed Focus
- Dhyana – Meditation (this is a passive act, you cannot do meditation, it can only happen to you)
- Samadhi – Achieving the ultimate goal of Yoga – Knowing yourself.Yoga is a religious practice – if you think God is somewhere outside of you
Therefore, if you hate the word ‘discipline’, Yoga is not good for you.
IF YOU HAVE THE URGE TO CALL YOURSELF A YOGI
To call ourselves ‘Yogis’ is fashion statement in Yoga today.
However, you cannot call yourself a Yogi, unless you have achieved Yoga i.e, you have become one with the supreme consciousness.
According to Bhagvad Gita, “When the mind (Manas), the intellect (Buddhi), and the Self (Atman) is under control, free from restless desires, the person becomes a Yukta, in communion with the God”. Yukta means Yogi, ‘The United’.
Yoga is a discipline that needs to be practiced each second of your being. And whether you become a ‘Yogi’ is not in your hands but a matter of grace.
YOGA IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU IF YOU RESIST CHANGE
Yoga is all about change, about transformation. You gradually leave your ignorant self and transform into a new person – with new awareness, new perception of everything and connection to a new realm that you never even imagined existed.
With a regular Yoga practice you start seeing things as they are, not as you want to see them. For example, you realize that you or the people you love are not always right and you start handling situations from a different perspective.
So if you are someone who resists change, think again whether Yoga good for you. It will challenge you each day and transform you from inside, organically.
IF YOU INTEND TO JUMP FROM ONE TYPE OF YOGA TO ANOTHER
To get water out of a well, you must dig deep.
If you dig a little here and a little there, you will only get a lot of dents in the ground and no water.
Yoga follow the same principle with a lot more intensity, as we are talking about the ultimate goal of life here.
Therefore, unless you dedicate yourself to one of the four types of Yoga in their purest form, you shall be doing the same thing – digging a lot of holes that won’t give you anything.
IF YOU HAVE A FATALISTIC ATTITUDE OVERALL
Nothing and No-one in the world can save you, if you have a negative attitude towards life.
People come into Yoga for different reasons, but surely they are looking for some kind of resolution of a certain situation. And Yoga can deliver 100% only except for one condition – when you have a fatalistic attitude.
If you are sure in your mind that nothing can help you, you have got it right, nothing can.
IF YOU ARE AN ARMCHAIR PREACHER
Whether it is any type or element of Yoga you choose to study, if you are into it just to gather information, Yoga is not good for you.
This one personally resonates with me. While learning Yoga, I came across many people who have immense amount of information on Yoga and still they live limited material lives on a plane of jealousy and aggression.
Knowledge if practiced, spawns wisdom, and when only preached spawns delusion of the worst order. To come out of it must be a struggle of its own kind.
Luckily my teacher crushed my negative Ego in the very beginning of my journey, else it is very easy to fall prey to false knowledge.
Don’t get into Yoga for the sake of ‘knowing’ ‘everything’ and then flaunting the very fact. Because if you do, you really know ‘nothing’.
IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH SURRENDERING
Yoga, or any discipline without surrender won’t take you anywhere.
That is why many Yoga Ashrams and deep spiritual practice centres like Vipassana ask practitioners to only stay back if they can drop everything they are practicing already, and be there 100%.
Unless you are practicing a discipline in its totality, you will miss out on the experience as a whole.
At any given point in time, a lot of factors define our physical and mental state – including physical forces, divine forces and our own deep-rooted mental impressions. Only doing physical exercise cannot solve for them.
All the limbs of Yoga form a holistic discipline and therefore Mantra at the beginning of the class is as important as the Asanas. If you have strong inhibitions against surrendering to a practice ‘as it is’, Yoga won’t give you desired results.
Roli Jain is a wellness-obsessed founder of Live Life Better with Yoga. Her clients say she was the best discovery in their quest for holistic health in India. Why so popular? It’s because she provides insanely practical Yoga advice that people like you can use to live a healthier life, body mind & soul, like this FREE 30 Day Chakra Healing Challenge.
Image courtesy of Eternal Happiness.