Yogasanas – Creating Health, Joy and Blissfulness
Sadhguru: Right now, when you are trying to do hatha yoga, the biggest barrier is the limitations of your body. In fact, whatever human beings want to do, the biggest barrier is their body and mind. What should have been a stepping stone has turned into an obstacle, simply because they have not explored it considerably.
After a profound and thorough exploration of the human system, the yogic system identified 84 asanas as yogasanas, 84 postures through which you can transform your body and mind into a great possibility for your ultimate wellbeing. Most other spiritual processes talk about putting down the body because the body is an obstacle. If you want to sit and meditate, your legs tell you, “I need to stretch. I need to walk.” When we ask you in the morning to stretch your body, you say, “No, I want to rest.” If you do an asana and we ask you to stretch, you say, “No, I don’t want to stretch.” But if we ask you to sit unmoving, your body wants to stretch. Likewise, it has to eat, it has to sleep, it has to relieve itself – the body needs so many things.
Taking charge of your life
The body is a constant manifestation of various levels of compulsiveness, depending upon the type of information that has gone into the system. The information that is imprinted upon your physiological system is what we refer to as the karmic body. This information determines how much compulsiveness you suffer from, and how much freedom you naturally enjoy within yourself. In hatha yoga, we are not concerned about who our fathers and forefathers were, what kind of genetics and karmic substance we received from them, and what we have imbibed in the process of living. It does not matter what has happened until this moment – we have decided to take charge of our life.
In the Indian tradition, if you are a serious practitioner of yoga, no astrologer will want to make a prediction for you, because even he understands that you have taken charge of your life. This is what a yogasana means – you are taking charge of your life. You are transforming your body and mind into a possibility in your life. It is becoming a passage, not a block.
The process of transforming the body, changing the texture of the body, changing the fundamental information in the body, which makes it go in certain compulsive patterns, needs a certain determination, forcefulness, and adamancy. You are not willing to give in to the cycles of compulsiveness. You go the way you want to go.
Creating the right atmosphere
Ha and tha describe sun and moon. Hatha is about bringing a balance between the two. If these two dimensions are balanced within you, naturally, the body becomes a conducive place to live in for your being. If you mess up the place around you, you can move elsewhere. But if you mess up the body from within, you cannot go elsewhere until you die. As long as you live in this life, the body is the abode of your existence.
It is important that an atmosphere is conducive rather than being compulsive. If your home is a very compulsive place, you will feel suffocated. Every situation, every atmosphere is set up for a certain purpose. Your home may be set up for one kind of purpose. The ashram may be set up for another kind of purpose. An industry or a business may be set up for a different kind of purpose. Every atmosphere should serve the purpose that we have set it up for.
You must decide what purpose your body should serve. We will do the appropriate yoga for that. If your idea of a good life is being one step ahead of others, we will do one type of yoga. If you do not compare yourself to others, but you want to find your ultimate potential in terms of activity, we will do another kind of yoga. If all you want to do is dissolve into the ultimate nature of existence, we will do yet another kind of yoga. We can practice yoga in different ways.
An individual human being becomes who he or she is only because of what he or she perceives. You are who you are right now only because of what you have perceived in your life until now, and you will be who you will be only because of what you will perceive in future. The whole system of yoga is about enhancing perception.
If you hold the posture right, if your alignment is right, it matches with the cosmic alignment in some way. The 84 yogasanas represent 84 alignments, because existence as we know it now is seen as the 84th creation. The memory of these 84 creations is reflected in our body. We are trying to release and activate this memory. If one gets into these 84 postures, or if one masters a single posture and approaches the remaining 83 through that, one can know everything that has happened in creation until now, because the memory of that is within one’s system in a codified way. If this memory touches another dimension outside of yourself, it can be activated and ignited.
Yogasanas are a powerful means to connect. Do not forget, yoga means union. Union means two have become one. There are only two in existence – you and the rest of existence. In the rest of existence you may identify individual entities, but essentially, there are only two – you and the rest of existence – because there are only two dimensions of experience within you. You do not know what is up and down in this cosmos. You do not know what is forward and backward. These are all things that we have made up for convenience. Essentially, there are only two dimensions of experience – inner experiences and outer experiences.
Yoga is about creating a union between these two dimensions – inner and outer, you and the rest, you and the other. When there is no “you” and “the other,” when there is just “you” and “you,” that is yoga. Asanas are a physical form of approaching this ultimate union, because the physical body is the easiest thing to work with. If you try to come to this union with your mind, it will play too many tricks. With the body, at least you know whether it is doing it right or not, whether it is cooperating or not. If you push the mind too hard, it will make you believe all kinds of things and dump you the next day. The body is a more reliable factor. If you work with it sensibly, the yogasanas can definitely lead to ultimate union.
In the meantime, before this alignment with the ultimate happens, by getting into the postures, inner alignment happens, which will naturally create a chemistry of healthfulness, joyfulness, and blissfulness – and above all balance. Balance is something that modern societies have ignored, and they are paying a huge price for it. Whatever your intelligence, whatever your competence, education, and qualifications – if you do not have the necessary balance, you will not succeed. You will not go very far in your life.
The most important thing for people who are seeking to be successful – whether in the corporate sector, in politics, in the military, or any other field – is balance. Only if you have a balance that is not disturbed by external situations, are you capable of making use of the competence and intelligence within you. Otherwise, even the most wonderful qualities that one may have will go waste, simply because of lack of balance. Hatha yoga brings this balance.
Editor’s Note: Isha Hatha Yoga programs are an extensive exploration of classical hatha yoga, which revive various dimensions of this ancient science that are largely absent in the world today. These programs offer an unparalleled opportunity to explore Upa-yoga, Angamardana, Surya Kriya, Surya Shakti, Yogasanas and Bhuta Shuddhi, among other potent yogic practices.