Sadhguru: Unfortunately in the western part of the world, if you utter the word “yoga,” people think you must twist yourself out like rubber bands or stand on your head. Yoga is not an exercise form. The word “yoga” means union. Today, modern science has proved that the whole existence is just one energy. So if all this is one energy, why is it that you are not experiencing it that way? If you can break the limitations of the illusion that you are separate, and begin to experience the oneness of the existence, that is yoga. The religions of the world have always been talking about God being everywhere. Whether you say God is everywhere or everything is one energy, is it any different? It is the same reality. When it is mathematically deduced, we call it science. If you believe it, we call it religion. When you find a method to get there, we call it yoga. So what is yoga, what is not yoga? There is no such thing.
If you use any process of life to transcend your limitations, that is yoga. Everything – the very way you breathe, sit, stand, eat, walk and work – can be yoga.
Hatha Yoga: Directing your energies
To lead you towards the experience of yoga – of union and boundlessness – we manipulate the energy and move the system in a certain way. Physical postures are one aspect of this. Understanding the mechanics of the body, creating a certain atmosphere, and then using the body or body postures to drive your energy in specific directions is what Hatha Yoga or yogasanas are about. Hatha yoga is not exercise. Asana means a posture. If I sit in one way, it is one asana. If I sit in another way, it is another asana. So innumerable asanas are possible. Out of these innumerable postures that the body can take, eighty-four fundamental postures have been identified as yogasanas.
Hatha Yoga: A preparatory process
Hatha yoga is a preparatory process of yoga. The word “ha” means sun, “ta” means moon. “Hatha” means the yoga to bring balance between the sun and the moon in you, or the Pingala and Ida in you. You can explore Hatha yoga in ways that take you beyond certain limitations, but fundamentally, it is a physical preparation – preparing the body for a higher possibility.
If we want to do Kriya Yoga, we always prepare people with Hatha yoga because without the body being prepared, it will not be able to take higher dimensions of energy. It will break. It is just like if your pipe is not ready and you pump in too much force, something is bound to burst. Hatha yoga, so to speak, could be understood as preparation of the pipe.
There are other dimensions to this, but to put it simply, just by observing the way somebody is sitting, you almost know what is happening with them. If you have observed yourself, if you are angry, you will sit one way; if you are happy, you sit another way; if you are depressed, you sit yet another way. For every different level of consciousness or mental and emotional situation that you go through, your body naturally tends to take certain postures. The converse of this is the science of asanas. If you consciously get your body into different postures, you can also elevate your consciousness.
The practice as you see it currently in most places – the mechanics of it – is simply of the body.
You have to breathe life into Hatha Yoga, otherwise it will not become alive. This is why, traditionally, there has been so much stress on a live Guru – to make it come alive.
Classical Hatha Yoga
After twenty years of yoga entering the West and becoming popular, despite it being taught sometimes in ways that leave much to be desired, still, the health benefits of it are undeniable, wherever you live and whatever you do. Right now the number of people practicing yoga is growing in a big way. This could be simply because the scientific community is slowly beginning to recognize the depth and dimension of what this is. But if improper, distorted kind of yoga spreads, in fifteen years’ time, scientific studies will clearly come out and tell you in how many ways it is harmful to human beings, and that will be the downfall.
So it is important that we bring back classical yoga as it was. If it is taught in a proper atmosphere with a certain sense of humility and inclusiveness about the whole process, it is a really fantastic process of shaping your system into a fantastic vessel, a fabulous device to receive the Divine.
There are certain dimensions of this that are almost absent in the world today. It is there in some places, but generally in the known places, it is absent. I would like to bring back those dimensions.
It is a very powerful way of living. Power, not over somebody else; it’s all about power to access life.
The 21-week Teacher Training, devised by Sadhguru is an opportunity for one to receive teacher training in classical Hatha Yoga. Upon completion of training, students are qualified to establish their own studio or teach private lessons. The program is an extensive exploration into the full depth and magnitude of Hatha Yoga and revives various dimensions of this ancient science which are largely absent in the world today. Far from being a training regimen that presents yoga as just an exercise form, this unique program brings forth the original purpose of yoga: to help one experience the fundamental nature of the existence.
The 21-day Hatha Yoga program is a wonderful opportunity to learn five ancient and powerful practices that bring forth tremendous support to the system.
Upayoga is a powerful set of 10 practices that activate the joints, muscles and energy system.
Angamardana is a series of 30 processes to reach peak physical fitness and mental health.
Surya Kriya is a potent 21-step yogic practice of tremendous antiquity, designed as a holistic process for wellbeing.
Yogasanas are a set of powerful postures to elevate one’s consciousness and manipulate energies.
Bhuta Shuddhi is a process of purifying the 5 elements within the human system.
Marie, one the participants, described how these 21 days brought about a sudden change in her health and her experience of yoga:
“The symptoms of lupus, an auto-immune disease that results in severe joint inflammations and extreme tiredness, which have tormented me for 10 years, disappeared as if by magic, telling me that there was much more to yield from this program.
The gentleness of the teachers’ instructions has helped to open a great sense of willingness within me and changed my mindset from ‘I’ll do it only if I can’ to ‘let’s try everything.’ I was able to break my limitations so easily that a feeling of joy from within has blossomed.
Through these 21 days I became so receptive that this program is without any doubt the deepest experience I have had since I have been with Isha. I am well aware of having received a wonderful gift and I am committed to explore it in depth.”
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