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839The Purpose of Yoga -- David Surrenda

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara
    Jun 28, 2012
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      David Surrenda

      "The original context of yoga was spiritual development practices to train the body and mind to self observe and become aware of their own nature. The purposes of yoga were to cultivate discernment, awareness, self-regulation and higher consciousness in the individual. As the split occurring between those seeking physical development versus those seeking spiritual development has widened, the lack of awareness and attention to inner experience has disconnected the practitioner from his body.

      "Yoga is meant to be a system of increasing awareness and decreasing disease. It was able to enter into the American mainstream by presenting itself as a tool with many benefits, including reduced stress, increased relaxation and greater flexibility. It has continued to grow through American gyms as something that cultivates aerobic capacity and builds strength. But many gyms that offer yoga emphasize the physical exercise without teaching the essential self-awareness that differentiates yoga from any exercise.

      "The 'narcissism', which is not uncommon in many sports, is the result of an emphasis on exercise that misinterprets what the real intention of yoga practice is. Yes, one can increase muscle mass and decrease waist size, but that's not the real goal. Much of the yoga practiced today has actually become the antithesis of yoga as it is meant to be."