The Sanskrit word ‘Yoga’ simply means ‘reunion’. Reunion implies an existing state of separation. You are separated from your real Self and blissfully unaware of it too! Ignorant of your Self, you identify with your body, mind and intellect and endlessly chase the world for happiness. Yoga is the search and pursuit of your real Self, culminating in Self-discovery, the native home of happiness.
Yoga is pursued fourfold. Hatha yoga, predominantly addressed to the body and vital pranas, ward off lethargy, indulgence and energy dissipation. It renders the body conducive to spiritual quest.
Karma yoga is dedicating actions to a higher ideal vis-a-vis working for a mundane, mechanical survival. Bhakti yoga relieves your mind from the self-inflicted bondage of attachment to stable identification and devotion. Jnana yoga shifts the direction of intellect from unending terrestrial concerns to transcendental enquiry upon the Self.
Since every human is composed of body, mind and intellect, the pursuit of the fourfold yoga, in proportion to individual constitution is indispensable for evolution. Due to its relative ease of demonstration, practise and immediate appeal to the body, postures and breathing in hata yoga, has hit worldwide eminence in no time. Whereas the subtler yogas to refine action, emotion and thought transforming the inner personality remain less known. Seldom practised. This has resulted in a spiritual imbalance of practitioners turning increasingly body conscious, contrary to the very purpose of yoga which is to transcend your body, mind, intellect and regain your real Self.
As long as desires are strong and ungoverned, your mind and senses shall chase the world. It is impossible to practise yoga in its real sense. Hence the initial spiritual goal is to empower your intellect with knowledge of life and govern your mind. Offload the bulk of desires and attachment by practice of karma, bhakti and jnana yoga. Your mind then is relieved from excess preoccupation with the world and becomes available to you. Thereafter your intellect may engage your mind in reflection, contemplation and meditation upon the Self. Attempting meditation prematurely without this initial preparation, with abundant desires is like a plane ambitious to soar the skies with excess load. It is bound to crash.
Thus, yoga leading you to Self-discovery has a wider connotation than yoga asanas. Yoga is not a physical regime to inch tape fitness, elastic body or enviable scale weight, while the mind and intellect remain ignored, impoverished. Relate the practices to their purpose and orient them to Self-discovery.
Vedanta Cultural Foundation Canada, a lifestyle wellness knowledge charity in association with the Consulate General of India, Toronto is organising an awareness raiser on ‘The Fourfold Yoga, coinciding with the International Day of Yoga 2018. Eminent Vedanta resource in the GTA, Shri. Rangarajan delivers the talk on June 23, Saturday. The event is held at the Queen Elizabeth Parks Culture & Community centre, Oakville, is open to all, free of charge. 4.30 to 6.30 pm. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out http://www.vedantacanada.org.