Hatha Yoga: The Nature of Sadhana’s Progress
Questioner: Some time after starting to practice hatha yoga, I seem to have caught some virus and it took me a while to recover from it. Another thing is, sometimes, I get frustrated when I see other people are much more flexible than I am. Can you say something about that?
The Ultimate Goal
Sadhguru: It may happen to people who start practicing hatha yoga that initially, they feel wonderful for a couple of weeks. After that, they may experience some sickness, small accidents, or emotional upheavals. That is when you need to continue to do the practice. Suppose you started a plain physical exercise – everything hurts the next day. If you give it up, you will never progress. If you continue to work through that pain, after some time, you will become stronger. Similarly, when you practice yoga, many karmic processes will happen.
One fundamental goal of yoga is to put your life and your karmic cycle on fast-forward. Today, finding a solution for your backache or some psychological issue may be your focus, but ultimately, the goal is mukti. When you put your karmic cycle on fast-forward, the suffering that you would have had in a diluted form over 20 years may come to you in a concentrated form in 2 years or 2 weeks – and that is good. When you work through that, you will come to a plateau where, if you look back, you cannot believe you went through all these things. Every sadhaka goes through such phases.
Once you set your energies on this path, it is very important that your mind, body and emotion cooperate and align themselves in the same direction. It is just like your vehicle – if all four wheels are in one direction, it flows smoothly. If one wheel turns the wrong way, there is struggle and the damage is more because it is travelling fast. If you put your mind, emotion – everything – in that direction, you will travel joyfully. If you don’t, you will still travel, but you will be hollering and crying.
Comparison and Competition
Give it more time, rather than getting frustrated or comparing yourself to someone else. When practicing yoga, never compare yourself to others. Work with where you are right now. Do not try to do what others are doing. Once you compare yourself to others, competition is inevitable. So, no comparison, but do not spare yourself. You must always go to your fullest, but do not try to be like someone else. This is a fundamental discipline you have to bring into your life if you want to progress on the spiritual path.
Even if people come to us because of their backache, we want to set up the process towards the ultimate for them. How far they go is left to them. If you put in more time, you will see, once you go beyond a certain point, so many things which you thought were a part of you are suddenly not there anymore. This is the nature of the sadhana. So do not compare yourself with someone else and frustrate yourself. That is not necessary at all.
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.