The good news is that yoga has acquired a prestigious position as one of the international days observed by the United Nations, with International Yoga Day being celebrated annually on June 21. And the bad news is that what is promoted as yoga is not even an iota of what actual yoga really is. Yoga enjoys international popularity as it is the most secular and scientific of the self-development methods. As scientific as the proverbial apple falling from the tree. Just as the law of gravity cannot be owned by any religion or nationality, yoga cannot be confined within borders of any kind.
But what is preached in the name of yoga – a system of various acrobatics and breathing techniques – may be good for physical fitness, but it misrepresents the work of Patanjali; the greatest exponent of yoga. Patanjali defines yoga as, “Cessation of the mind.” The real yoga is a blueprint for the possible growth and splendor of human consciousness, an exotic journey which has a beginning but no end.
Nobody knows how and when yoga slid from its exalted heights. The science of yoga aims at developing higher states of consciousness, which is the supreme potential of all human beings. But it was forgotten and was shrouded by Hatha yoga.
In modern times only Osho has gone into Patanjali’s Yoga Sūtras, and revived the forgotten grandeur of yoga calling it, “The Science of the Soul.”
And what he says about the popular asanas is worth pondering: “All the yoga postures are not really concerned with the body; they are concerned with the capacity to be. Patanjali says, if you can sit silently without moving your body for few hours, you are growing in the capacity to be. And the more the body follows you; you will have a greater being within you, a stronger being within you. And, remember, if the body is not moving your mind cannot move, because mind and body are not two things. If the body is non-moving, the mind is non-moving, you are centered. This non-moving posture is not a physiological training only. It is just to create a situation in which centering can happen. When you are, when you have become centered, when you know what it means to be, then you can learn.” 1
Learn what? Learn to drop the mind; learn to grow vertically in consciousness. There are skies behind the skies to be explored, and this is our destiny and destination.
It is high time we free yoga from the clutches of the “little men” and restore its glory. Remember, the root meaning of the word “yoga” is union – union with oneself, uniting all the fragments of our being: body, emotions, intellect, heart, and soul. There is a long way to go and we have to actualize our potential. Why waste time playing with stones when we have already found the real diamond?
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1 Osho, The Path of Yoga, Talk #1 – Introduction to the Path of Yoga