Consider for a moment the question of exercise. What is exercise and why is it that Hatha yoga is not classed as exercise and why do yoga teachers seem offended at the mere association.
Exercise is described in the dictionary as the use and exertion of muscles and joints to achieve health. While
Hatha yoga exercises the body this is generally seen as a by-product and not as an aim in itself – almost a distraction to the task at hand.
As we have seen in these past talks the period of classical yoga (Patanjali’s period) considers emphasis on bodily postures as an insignificant precursor to the serious work – the definition being.
1: 2 “Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of consciousness”.
Yoga is seen as the study of the workings of the mind. The way the mind interacts with the senses, the breath and lays down emotional imprints. It is a study of consciousness. The way we are and how our mind works – in fact the way we interact with ourselves and with others.
How is it that the use of the body in asana can be said to contain the seeds for such a study.
An onlooker on asana practice sees a graceful set of movements containing coordination, poise, flexibility and stamina. But the same could be said of dance. What of the practitioner – what is the yogi involved in. Each asana is an attempt to place the body with a physical, mental and spiritual attitude.
Download the full PDF article below