21st June marks World Yoga Day. I feel pretty chuffed that Yoga has been marked on the world calender and given this privilege of being celebrated globally. As I look forward to the celebrations I also take time off to ponder on what yoga mean to me.
When the yo-yo mind comes to rest and the heart goes gaga over Creation – you’re overwhelmed by an awesome sense of wonder…when in that magical space of wonder you feel completely one with this existence, then ‘yoga’ has happened.
In normal parlance, yoga means fitness.
Or it may conjure up the image of a skinny loin-clothed yogi with matted hair walking on a bed of rusted nails…but I think that concept is defunct now.
Yes, when one says ‘yoga’ one invariably thinks of the alternative to the gym – yoga classes with a yoga instructor, and yoga asanas being practiced on colorful yoga mats. I feel yoga extends far beyond the mat. Through the vehicle of the body and a combination of asanas, pranayamas and dhyana ….one can launch off into a much larger space as one experiences a sudden expansion and connection with Infinity. Yoga gives us glimpses of our own Divine nature. It gives us the ambrosial taste of the amrit of Paramatma.
i consider Yoga to be an exalted way of living : living life with joy, love, dignity, grace and compassion. Living life lightly as a passing cloud, knowing that nothing in this world is forever. Yoga extends its flexiblity to not just the body, but also to the mind, emotions and ego, making even the most unbending ego bend!
Yoga has brought me harmony on many all levels. Not only am I in better tune with myself, I feel a lively connection with all beings – animate and inanimate! I find myself singing intimate love songs to the sky, joking with the moon, talking to the trees and kissing stones and wayby snails. I feel a motherly protection to all creatures. May sound a trifle looney but it does wonders for the soul!
Through Gyan and Dhyan, Yoga has eliminated stress and cleared confusions! Hatha Yoga has gifted me with a healthy, supple body for which i feel grateful. Karma Yoga has enhanced my skill in dealing with people, improved my working efficiency and my joy in selfless service. I now feel life worthwhile as wearying ambition has been replaced by endless celebration. And Bhakti Yoga keeps me whirling in ecstatic love!
This is what being a yogi means to me:
Being a yogi means living life effortlessly!
Being a yogi means having the guts to follow your dreams.
Being a yogi means seeing failure as a stepping stone to success.
Being a yogi means retaining your smile no matter what!
Being a yogi means being happy and spreading happiness wherever you go.
Being a yogi means smiling up to challenges.
Being a yogi means seeing the world through new eyes.
Being a yogi means dedicating your life to the good of society.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has said that all humans are born yogis. Watch an infant turn and twist into yogic asanas and mudras with such natural ease! Yogic breathing – taking long, deep breaths from the stomach (as opposed to shallow breathing from the chest) is easily visible in babies sleeping on their backs…their stomachs baloon up indicating the flow of air in their bellies as they inhale.
Yoga is the way to a better life, a better world. If you want a violence free, stress free world…this is the way.
Yoga is the doorway to a new dimension of living. It’s time we explore this ancient yet ever new avenue. Let’s go back to our true nature. Come, let’s go the Yoga Way!