Yoga, translated into English as “yoking,” which according to the Merriam Webster dictionary means “to put or bring together so as to form a new and longer whole,” or which is most commonly translated simply as “union,” meaning “to join two things as one” (also according to Merriam Webster dictionary), is a word that describes the natural phenomena, or process, that one undergoes to become a full human being connected to, and merged back into, her/his True Self-expression as eternal, limitless, complete, and divine, one with all of existence, while still embodied in limited, individual, temporary form.
Yoga is not just a physical, mental, or even spiritual exercise as it has often been reduced/limited to, and incorrectly perceived as, in Western and modern-day society.
Yoga, instead, describes the natural transformation of humans from their initially manifested state as perceivably–and functionally–basic animals, born into the homo sapien species as mammals with certain physiological and mental capabilities, raised in family units and societies in which they take on false senses of identities through roles and attachment to/association with form, objects, and experience, etc, who then mature into (if they are able to reach this level of growth by coming into their full potential by clearing away over-identification with their lower-self expression) their True Self as a manifestation of/as the divine.
Or, as the Bhagavad Gita essentially puts it: Yoga is a journey of the self, through the self, to the Self.
Definition Check: Divine- of, relating to, or proceeding directly from God. | God- the supreme or ultimate reality (Merriam Webster dictionary).
And this connection back to your divine identity, does not simply mean thinking that you are divine and attaching projections of what you perceive divinity means in action onto your ego-social-identity in order to parade your new psychological costume around and create more disconnection from your True Self through the further mockery of role-play either–like can often unfortunately be seen in most “spiritual” societies and groups.
Full connection back to the True Self (beyond the ego body-mind) is a tangible, complete knowing, embodied, Reality. It is a Truth, a being, that one simply realizes and is; no fanfare, or special million dollar prize, announces it. The “prize” of Union is to remain free from lower attachments and to simply live your life here on Earth, f and unconditionally, at the highest possible level of conscious expression.
What Union impacts is your awareness (which ultimately changes everything), and this then naturally effects your skill at navigating through existence fully awake and seeing while remaining centered, unshaken, whole, and powerfully/masterfully self-contained…unfolding and expanding in/into bliss.
This means that Yoga, as a practice, is simply the scientific organization of methodologies and techniques that help to get you closer to this divine maturity when effectively applied. Yoga is not a man-made invention. Yoga (which can be interchangeably called Yoga practice) is the practical science of the natural process of human inner evolution. In the same way that biology is a science of life, interconnected with all other natural sciences and helping us to understand nature, Yoga is a spiritual science, interconnected to all of life, helping us to understand/connect to our True Nature beyond form.
Yoga As A Practice
There are multiple forms, styles, schools, and/or systems of Yoga (or, more accurately, schools/systems designed to get you to Yoga), from Karma Yoga, to Jnana Yoga, to the Raja Yoga/Eightfold Path Yoga that we use as our base here, to Kundalini Yoga and everything in between, all of which support individuals–depending on their disposition, challenges, and the context of their particular physical expression–to mature into their wholeness and full Self expression beyond their animal, and unaware, nature…an animal nature that keeps anyone who is overidentified with it stuck in a perpetual cycle of suffering due to the ongoing Karmas that they create and experience when steeped in ignorance with others who are on the same, or a lower level, and operating from dysregulated, grasping, fearful, and uncontrolled body-minds.
Why You Need/”Do” Yoga
Though there are set and proven systems that support Yoga, designed to ensure that one gets to maturity, or designed to ensure that one gets to maturity faster than he/she would otherwise in any given lifetime, you are always best served following an integrated path (like we do here) that encompasses all aspects of your expression. Multiple “styles” of practice exist to supports your evolution, and to ensure that your purification becomes a constant part of your life–and thus upgrading your practice of Yoga from singular events to a lifestyle. But, again, Yoga or Union, is a natural process. No system is technically required if you have all of the perfect conditions met and just go with the flow of your perfected inner guidance, since what you will find is that you will naturally gravitate to what are prescribed as Yoga practices as you mature anyway.
But, being already perfectly set up for a smooth ride through life with no pain, no ignorance, no attachments, no potential for death, or hunger, or injury, and being immune to physiological/biological autonomic responses and social conditioning, possessing the perfect conditions to progress without challenges that cause you to grow beyond your current state of being, and being surrounded only by realized and loving beings, because you are already so perfect in form when you came out of the womb, is a fantasy…
Even the Buddha, who is said to have lived a “perfect” life in luxury and pleasure before he decided to step out into the world, had to suffer in order to wake up to his full power and divinity. You would not be born into Earthly existence if you were already perfectly merged into your eternally present divine expression in its full glory already and at all times…Although, paradoxically, and technically, you are. You are simply perfection expressed perfectly imperfectly, and you suffer because you became distracted/confused by the imperfection that you deluded yourself into reducing yourself to with the participation of lost/confused “others.” Only coming back to your eternal perfection in imperfect form can free you from false overidentification with temporary imperfection/form and it’s multifaceted bondage to suffering.
And so, practical systems were created to support you to ensure that you, if you are called to do so (having matured to a basic enough level to outgrow your attachment to the illusions of the world, in the same way that you outgrew playing with dolls), progress on your journey back into your divine expression and effectively reach your your full potential, and Self awareness, in this lifetime.
As you can see by simply observing the world, however, nothing here is sure unless you are able to set the conditions to make it sure. These are simply some “truths” about Maya (illusion).
Many will not reach their full human potential/spiritual maturity before their body-mind expires in this lifetime simply because they get carried away by ego role-plays instead of coming into their settled nature and True Self as a manifested expression of spirit, which includes upholding harmony with, and maintaining full awareness of, their intrinsic oneness in/as existence itself.
Some will remain identified/expressed as brutal animals: cheating, stealing, lying, and harming as much as they can until their last breath instead of evolving beyond this basic part of their physiology to come into their fully divine Self. Many will get stuck chasing after worldly objects and false senses of importance/value until they die, essentially wasting their energy on the illusions of Maya/the fabricated lower social “reality” (or more accurately, appearance) instead of seeing/knowing the greater Reality. And others will simply remain distracted with pleasure-seeking and pain-avoidance and seduced into a deep waking sleep that makes them slaves to their body-mind and its urges/desires, never truly living a day in their life…and so on and so forth, as per the sad fate of innumerable individuals in our species.
Why Yoga Is Important
The socially constructed world of fleeting form, illusions, ignorance, and appearances, maintained by dysregulated animal ego body-mind complexes, is distracting and filled with numerous obstacles that will keep you conditioned, traumatized, and functioning ineffectively at a lower capacity if you do not become conscious and ensure that you grow in undistorted awareness/higher Self-purity.
If you do not have, or choose, the right guidance and support (which is why discernment is both important and a mark of progress in maturity), or, if you become distracted by using your limited time on Earth and powerful life-force energy to manifest and accumulate fleeting things (tangible and intangible) instead of pulling your focus inward to mature and evolve beyond your conditioned over-identification with your false-sense-of-self known as your ego, for example, you will most likely never (but anything is possible) break free from illusions and suffering in this lifetime (the only lifetime, by the way, that you know for sure that you exist within in this form).
This is why following a proven system as your base, and training under a competent teacher, that is suitable for you, if necessary, is highly recommended. Active engagement in living your Yoga practice in every moment of your day, supporting your natural progression back to your unbounded Self, in whatever way is appropriate for you, is simply an intelligent decision that dedicated individuals make so that they can strive to reach their full potential effectively and without wasting time (monasteries, for example, exist for this simple reason).
With that being said, anything that truly (because there are some things that appear, or promise, to help you progress but really only hold you back because they are not effectively applied in your life or may be inappropriate for you) takes you to a higher functioning state of being, beyond your ego body-mind, and closer to your divine Self-Expression, is technically Yoga practice.
If you are serious about your progress as a human being, and want to reach your full potential, true Yoga (not just the distorted misperception of it that is marketed in the world today) is your answer. So, I will make this as clear as possible now so there is no confusion: a new weight loss or fitness program will never take you to your full potential as a human being…a new money-making scheme will never take you to your full potential as a human being…a new partner will never take you to your full potential as a human being…Nor will any other distraction here in this world.
Only the deep inner-work to master your lower-animal nature, and move beyond the attachments and illusions in/of the world, to come into your full Spiritual Self-Expression/divinity that is not defined by, or limited to form, will ever take you to your full potential as, and beyond, a human being. Actively ensuring that this potential is “pursued,” and, therefore, most likely to be met, is what Yoga is and why it matters.
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