Yoga has become so popular in the West that many more in the East are returning to their ancient tradition.
They say when something isn't broken don't fix it. Unfortunately the West has done a lot of "fixing" to yoga. There are so many varieties available that it can make your head spin. As a Classical Hatha Yoga teacher I find many of these new trends concerning for the health of the teacher, participant and the practice. Boga is overtaking Yoga in popularity and this is not good.
Why the concern with Boga?
Classical Hatha Yoga in it's true form allows you to access the dimension which is the source of your creation. Isha Hatha Yoga allows you to reach higher levels of energy while balancing these energies within the body, and offers many benefits .
“Hatha Yoga is the science of using the body to prepare oneself for the ultimate possibility.” – Sadhguru
An experience with the Boga may entertain you if you have goats jumping on your back, a glass of wine in your hand, or a bottle of beer, but it is not yoga. If you want goats jumping on your back go to a farm and play with goats. If you want a beer or glass of wine with friends go out and drink, but don't mix it with yoga. In our world of true authentic yoga these pranks to fill a yoga studio are the equivalent of taking your poker chips and alcohol into a church, temple or mosque.
The biggest problem is Boga is going to give yoga a bad name and reputation as people get injured and don't feel good as their bodies get out of balance. The authentic practice of Hatha Yoga which is thousands of years old will be tainted with this same bad name , to many yoga is yoga.
Let's look at Hot Yoga for example, bad for the health of most people, . This is basically frying the cells in your body, overheating your system and making your body more out of balance. The exact opposite effect of what yoga should achieve.
Yoga should raise the internal heat in your body, to let your energies rise up. The upper part of the body should be slightly hot once you have finished a good yoga class and then you cool down and settle the energy system with a relaxing Shavasana. We want Ushna (heat) in the body to ignite and rise. You do not raise the heat in the body by doing your yoga in a hot room. You are more likely to overwork your body in a hot room as you believe you have more flexibility. As with everything in yoga it is an inward process and the heat should come from within.
Our bodies are much more intelligent than our minds, just think about how you were put together in the womb, amazing! We have forgotten how to listen to our bodies, yoga allows you to raise your awareness and tap into your body. Your breath is your indicator as to whether you are working your body too hard. You should be able to inhale and exhale through the nostrils with slow deep breaths while doing asanas. Participants should listen to the intelligence of their bodies and not strain too much. If you are out of breath you need to rest, you are over exerting yourself.
The Power of Yoga
I have seen the power of Isha Hatha Yoga and how it can transform a person, bring a new lease of life, give the Hatha Glow to a person who looks like they are bursting with vitality. The Isha practices develop mental clarity and focus, boost vigor and vitality, balance hormonal levels and take years off the body, bringing a sense of lightness and freedom.
If big Pharma could find a way to bottle and profit from yoga we would all be doing it and it would often be the first item on the prescription pad from doctors. There are many benefits and there have been studies to show these benefits, but there is no desire to prove the real worth, because there is no financial incentive to do so. This is very unfortunate for many people.
Curious about what yoga could do for you? Try out some of these beginner practices, they are simple yet effective. Do them for forty days consecutively and feel into a difference in your body. We did some very intense practices at teacher training and can do a little of the pretzel knot yoga. Despite this directional movement of the arms in this video is still one of my favorites and offers many health benefits. The trick is to do it like you are pushing 10 tonnes.
Tradition is without ego
Today everyone wants to put their own name to yoga and make it their own, make their mark. It is a much higher form of intelligence to take an ancient practice as it was originally taught and teach it in this manner without adding your own distortions. This is what we do with Isha Hatha Yoga. I love the yoga I teach, I have felt it's authenticity, it's power to transform, it's ability for me to reach higher dimensions of life. Once it is in your own experience you appreciate something to be true, you do not need to accept the word of others.
Enjoy your yoga and keep it real!
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