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The destination called Yoga

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    Imagine that you are taking a sacred pilgrimage (yatra) to a sacred place in the height of the Himalayas. In you journey you might fly on an airplane, ride in
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 4, 2005
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      Imagine that you are taking a sacred pilgrimage (yatra) to a sacred
      place in the height of the Himalayas. In you journey you might fly on
      an airplane, ride in a car, and do lots of walking. The whole journey
      enroute is one of pilgrimage due to your heartfelt conviction for the
      destination you are seeking.

      However, at any given moment, there are thousands of airplanes in the
      sky around the planet. There are millions and millions of people
      riding in cars. There are still many more millions who are walking
      somewhere. Are all of these people on a yatra, a sacred pilgrimage to
      the Himalayas? Of course not. The thing that makes airplane riding,
      car riding, and walking a yatra is the intentionality in the heart
      for the destination being sought.

      The fact that one wiggles the body this way or that, or does some
      breathing practice does not, unto itself constitute Yoga. Yoga is the
      journey (yatra) towards Yoga, which is the union being sought. People
      might have different ways of describing that union called Yoga, such
      as to say it is Jivatman knowing itself as Paramatman, or the union
      of Shiva and Shakti, or the convergence point of Purusha and
      Prakriti. However this union or Yoga might be described specifically,
      they have to do with the union called Yoga.

      If one is not working with relationships in the external world, with
      one's personality, with the body, with the breath, or the levels of
      mind with this kind of intentionality towards the destination called
      Yoga, then the process along the way is simply not Yoga.

      Here is a link to the site of a man who teaches breathing:
      http://breathing.com/ I know a couple people who have taken his
      training and speak highly of him and his practices. Though I have not
      met him, I admire his work because he does NOT call it Yoga, even
      though breath training is a part of Yoga. Frankly, it may have never
      crossed his mind to call this training Yoga. He mentions that breath
      work will help with over 100 diseasese, clearly a statement of
      health, not realization of unity or Yoga. This is as it should be.

      So how is it that others who teach that work with body, breath and
      mind do call their practices Yoga, while completely ignoring the goal
      or destination of Yoga? Should we say that massage therapists,
      respiratory therapists, and psychotherapists are all teaching Yoga
      because they are working with body, breath, and mind? Of course not.
      The destination of Yoga is Yoga, period. Any other use of the
      practices are simply not Yoga.

      Swami J

      See also:
      http://www.swamij.com/ancientyoga.htm
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