Aspiring and established yogi’s naturally emphasise the particular “style of yoga” they are doing. But this may easily obscure a core purpose of Yoga. And with that, one of the great aspects of the discipline, one that provides so much value to the practitioner and its community or society, may too be obscured.
Much clarity is found in the ascribed translation of the Sanskrit word “Yoga” as “union”. This begs the question “Union of what?”
Derived from the root “yuj,” (“yug”),”to join”, “to unite”, provides a function, the idea that to practice yoga means to harness, “to subjugate”, or even the English word “yoke”, also derived from the same Sanskrit (Indo-European) root. Early yoga studies of understanding of the universe, in a sense the meaning of life, is found in the Vedanta and its great books that primarily discuss philosophy, meditation, and the nature of Brahma (God). This is the spiritual thought of Vedanta, of which the concept of Rig Veda, which means “knowledge”, is all about.
The bottom line is that Yoga includes asana, as part of metaphysical understanding of man and the universe, while asana or “doing yoga” without context of the whole yoga is, in this sense, not really yoga. To “yoke” or harness the Life Force energies necessarily includes the”force” as exemplified by “a combination of sun and moon”, i.e. a “union through balance of a binary or polar opposites system”. That is what the word “hatha” in Hatha Yoga means. The yogic meaning of that practice is an internal process of an individual “self”, practicing yoga with the aim to become one with All That Is.
Who Am I
All of this involves an esoteric, metaphysical enquiry and practice, therefore it is a science. Some descriptions of “a yogi” is one who seeks contact with The Creator, or Creation. This explains why the deeper, or true motivation to practice of yoga is to realise self. The practice of the system of yoga suggests that only “self” can “realize itself” and become Self, through awareness of self and Self, when small self merges into consciousness with Self, and All. Herein lies the idea behind “Yoga of Union through Understanding”, which includes knowing about the polarities and dualities, the paradoxes and ordinary realities.
How to actually “do this yoga”takes us back to the word yoga, which suggests that there is really only one true Yoga, with many paths of yoga styles on the way there. When as much as is possible, all the aspects of yoga is included, it may be thought of as Hatha Yoga.
The Golden Middle Way of Hatha Yoga
The Gold of the “middle path” is in the “All”. It’s value is by virtue of “making whole”, not fragmentation or specialisation. Such “complete yoga” points out that Self-realisation in Union with All That Is necessarily means to include all the practices. Hatha Yoga is a complete physical practice, as part of the philosophy and spirituality of Universal Yoga. The only extreme of Golden Middle Path is utmost dedication to holistic balance. This includes acceptance of the absence of balance, or chaos, therefore goes beyond perfection or imperfection.
The yin-yang of Taoism, with its philosophy of a superior man, comfortable in awareness of the ever changing flow, is this perfect perfection. Or perfect imperfection; preconceived notions of “doing” or “not doing” falls away. Through asana, informed by pranayama, meditation and deep relaxation and (in the modern sense) a lifestyle commitment to enquire into the truth of reality, the bodymind is prepared to understand itself, from within.
Hatha Yoga may be practiced without the Vedanta context, but then the philosophical, metaphysical core and physics (cause and effect) of yoga practice, or “the reason to practice yoga” fall away. This is why “yoga practice” is not Yoga when it does not include the mind. Simultaneously “Yoga” is not achieved intellectually. Logic is a tool, but as with asana, won’t get the practitioner to Nirvana “enlightenment” or “samadhi”, without the combined spiritual and intellectual understanding.
The Golden Middle Path is also called The Infinite Way, an all inclusive, free of dogma or style (brand). It promotes a Universal (non) identity with one of the most valuable insights in existence, which is to live in “heart and mind”, in body and spirit, locally, and universally. One has to go within for such a Universal Truth.
Yoga teacher training based on my Sivananda training in Hatha Yoga
“Turn on Your Bliss with Yoga” Module 1 of a 200 hour course.
Understanding Yoga in Direct Perception of practice of asana, pranayama, meditation and relaxation.
September 9-15th. Daily study 8-5PM of the essence of Yoga Philosophy in theory and practice.
● Day 1 Chakra System/Subtle Body
● Day 2 Metaphysics of non-duality
● Day 3 Shiva & Shakti, Ida, Pingala & Nadi
● Day 4 Patanjali’s Sutras
● Day 5 Five Keys of Effective Yoga
● Day 6 Mantra, mudra, bandha & meditation
● Day 7 Surrender & Self-realisation
The other 3 Modules
Doing and Teaching Yoga – Vinnie Vinyassa Flow inspired yoga and an investigation into other yoga styles
Anatomy – knowledge of bodymind for metaphysical wisdom
Healing – over arching and underscoring of Holistic Yoga
Hari OM Tat Sat