|Yoga Sutra 1:30:
~Disease, dullness, doubt, carelessness, laziness, sensuality, false perception~ these distractions of the mind-stuff are the obstacles.
“Anyone can practice. Young man can practice. Old man can practice. Very old man can practice. Man who is sick, he can practice. Men who doesn’t have strength can practice. Except lazy people, lazy people can’t practice Ashtanga yoga.”
—Quote by K.Pattabhi Jois
In fact, its true that one does not need to have special ability to practice yoga, no need to be either very flexible or powerful, no need to be young and fit, no need to be rich, no need to look good and wear lululemon… One only needs to be willing to spend time each day practicing yoga.
Laziness doesn’t have to be lying on the couch every day. Our modern laziness can even be a kind of busyness, I am very occupied every day for doing nothing. Our schedules are always full and our lives become boring. The hearts and minds are occupied by busyness and get insensitive. Dullness is mentioned in the Sutra as another obstacle of yoga. We wouldn’t invest the thing that could bring life changes in a positive way by self-discipline. It is also a kind of laziness.
Bob Dylan, the American singer-song writer who won the Nobel Prize in literature last year, sang: “he is not busy being born is busy dying.
Yoga, which is a way to strengthen and purify the body, calm the mind and activate the spiritual system, is a way of transforming. It is grateful that I have this karma let yoga enter my life. Since I’m already engaged in and have a patchy understanding of the true meaning of yoga, it is important to examine honestly the obstacles mentioned in Yoga Sutra 1:30, especially those in the mind.
The practice of Asana is not just working out the body’s soft tissue; it is also not just stretching and strengthening muscles. Although body exercise do burn fat and build muscles. But Yoga, along with conscious breathing, exercises a complete system of the entire body changing the body from inside out. Based on my own experience of Yoga practice, I found several obvious changes to my body.
1. Maintaining the ideal body weight is easy.
I don’t need to control my diet. I basically eat whatever I want. But as I practice Yoga, my body system will make an automatic adjustment. The taste and hobbies of my diet will gradually unconsciously favor the healthy food. But this process is not the same as conscious diet control.
2. Big improvement of flexibility
After a few years of practice, although I still have a “hard” body, I do feel my body opens up a lot more that it did before Yoga. For example, I couldn’t imagine I manage to do the front split now.
3. Strength and Stamina
One of the most beautiful sides of Asana practice is to use all the muscles of the body. Gym exercise is mostly isolated out to work on a group of partial muscle such as arm to raise dumbbells to practice biceps. But even with the arm, there are many small muscle to activate. The power of Asana allows you to hold the weight of whole body while standing your hands and using your arms to balance the weight of whole body. It needs coordination and activation of the whole body, not just the strength of individual bid muscles. yoga postures also teach us to stay in uncomfortable situations, to find peace and relaxation in the nervous system. This mind controlling is more powerful than muscle stretching.
It is a common knowledge in life that whatever is good must be moderate and not excessive. Water is good for people’s health but you cannot drink too much,you can drink to death. The human body is a system that requires a balance of nutrients in order to be healthy. As in the case of water, it is good, but its not good beyond the right point of equilibrium.
It may be easy to conclude from this that over practising yoga is too much beyond the fitness level of the body.
If you come to this conclusion, it means that the yoga in your head actually corresponds to one of the Eight Limbs. But yoga is a system, not just Asana. Yoga is not about postures, at least not just postures.
So, too much Asana may not be good, but there’s no end to the Yoga practice. For example, you practice postures like crazy, be careful, you may have been against YAMA. Being obsessed of practising advanced postures, you are not practising Aparigraha. Having injured yourself in postures means you must have missed Ahimsa.
Back to the point, the Eight limbs forms the basis of Ashtanga Yoga practices that guides yogi to Samadhi. The quote from Guruji says Yoga is 99% percent practice, 1% theory. This 99% should be an exercise in the entire Eight Limbs system.
Before Yoga, I was introduced to Buddhism and got inspired by the books written by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, who is a renowned Bhutansed lama,film maker and writer. He says that its not the clothes you wear, the ceremonies you perform, or the meditation you do. Its not what you eat ,how much you drink, or who you have sex with. Its whether you agree with the four fundamental discoveries(also known as the four seals)the Buddha made under the Bodhi tree, and if you do, you can call yourself a Buddhist.
So what are these four truths?
All compunded things are impermanent.
All emotions are pain.
All things have no inherent existence
Nirvana is beyond concepts.
By thinking of it, we see that there is nothing moralistic or ritualistic about them. There is no mention of good or bad behavior. They are simply the truths based on wisdom which is the primary concern of a Buddhist. Unfortunately, people seem to view Buddihsm in a religious way.
A few years ago, I got into yoga pratice for fitness reason. With regular pratising, I surely enjoyed all those physical benefits, at the same time, I found Yoga also invovled with a lot mental work. Then this karmic wind continued blowing towards me and here I am in the 200hrs YRS training course.
Its not surprising that yoga and buddhism is connected in the ways of concept and pratice. Some points of connections could be:
Meditation position and mudras.
Aim to reach enlightment as to Samadhi or Nirvana.
Yamas in Yoga very similar to Noble Eightfold Path.
Well, I just start the discussion here and this topic is really broad. Yoga, Buddhism and all spiritual paths are a map showing the journey back to the heart of the universe. Its time for us to give some thought to spriritual matters.