ow that the Adiyogi Alayam is up, we are seriously going into a hata yoga school. I grew up with an intense involvement with asanas and it did phenomenal things to me. I may not be so much into asanas these days, but those twenty four years of regular asanas are still holding me good because if you put that kind of sadhana into the system, it won’t let you down. You can take the grind of life quite effortlessly because whatever the physical exertion, there is another dimension of your body which will hold. All your muscle may be done with exertion, but even without rest or sleep, your physiological system still recovers after some time simply because your energy is kept in a certain way. There are various aspects to it, but hata yoga is definitely one important aspect of that.
If hata yoga is taught in a proper atmosphere and with a certain sense of humility and inclusiveness, it is a very fantastic process. The reason why it has become ugly is because people started teaching hata yoga like a circus. They want to do more to prove that they are better than somebody else. Not too long ago, I was in Southern California and I decided to play a round of golf, and they clubbed two young guys with me. Generally, when I am on the course, I try to dodge talking about spirituality because it doesn’t work like that. It needs a certain atmosphere. So, I pulled my cap really low and put on an unfriendly demeanor. These guys were trying to find out who I was and what I did, and the person who was accompanying me finally said, ‘Okay, he teaches yoga.’ The first thing one of them asked me was, ‘Can you teach me how to get a six pack?’ He thinks yoga is a way of flattening his belly.
This is not about sculpting your body and showing it off. Yoga is about making the body into a fantastic vessel, a fabulous device to receive the Divine. And hata yoga is a phenomenal process, but so many physical therapists and physical experts are writing books on hata yoga today and making people believe it is an exercise system. I am not trying to make it difficult. It is my wish that yoga reaches everybody in the world because it has to, but if people want to teach yoga they must show some dedication, they must show some willingness to spend the necessary time rather than just learning quick fix yoga. And not only that, people are so frivolous they want to modify it. For thousands of years, people who come from within, people who know the system absolutely well, have formulated these things. There is a lot more to it than just what is on the surface. Upstarts who do not know one thing from the other are modifying it. Today, there is aquatic yoga, sky diving yoga…This is absolutely irresponsible.
I have had at least eight to ten reasonably popular yoga teachers in the United States come to me with serious imbalances in their own system. One big mistake they are doing – which I think is happening generally – is that they are playing music. Another thing is, the teacher gets into different postures and speaks. You never utter a sound when you are in an asana; you have to be in a certain way. The teacher gets into some posture and speaks from that asana, which is asking for trouble for sure. So at least eight to ten people have come to us with serious imbalances which we have helped them with, and I think about four of them have given up their profession now because they realize what nonsense they were doing. For others, it is their livelihood and they won’t stop.
Yoga is a subtle technology of manipulating your inner energies to cause life to transcend its natural limitations. This has to be administered in a live form, but if that has to happen it needs a certain level of involvement from the teacher which is difficult in today’s world. We are an archaic lot because we demand that kind of dedication. We want human beings to make their journey starting with the body but moving towards their inner nature; we have to slowly grow people into another possibility.
We intend to make the Adiyogi Alayam a starting point to bring about that transition in the world. Here, we are not teaching yoga classes, we are training yoga teachers, particularly from the West. That is the intention and if we train a few thousand teachers in the next few years, they could first change the image of yoga, then the objective, goal, purpose and way yoga is delivered in the world. We could re-train studio yoga teachers to bring another dimension to their yoga. That is what we are intending. I would like to bring certain dimensions of hata yoga which are almost extinct today; it is a very, very powerful way of living. Not power over somebody else, power to access life. And to access life, you need the right kind of instrument. All you have is your body, either raise it to the peak of perception or just keep it as a mass of flesh and bone. An immense possibility or a basket of compulsions.