The following is the fifteenth installment of a new book on Tantra Yoga that I am writing. As a follower of this blog you have the opportunity to read this soon to be published book as each chapter comes out. So please make sure to check this blog as often as you can. Or better yet, sign up as a follower of this blog to be automatically notified via email when each new installment comes out.
YOGA ASHTANGA (8 Limbs of Yoga)
(1) Yama (ethics - dont's)
(2) Niyama (recommended practices - do's)
(3) Asana (yoga posture)
(4) Pranayama (breathing exercise)
(5) Pratyahara (making the mind introspective)
(6) Dharana (concentration)
(7) Dhyana (meditation)
(8) Samadhi (enlightenment)
(3) Asana (yoga posture)
Asana is the third step of yoga ashtanga, and it is one portion of yoga. There are many so-called yoga teachers who teach asanas only and call it yoga. Many of them don't even know and practice ashtanga and call themselves yoga teacher. Asana practice is not the way to become a circus star or to impress others by doing weird postures. And being a yoga teacher, is not a carrier or occupation. It is a selfless devotional service, and of course it is not a way to make money or to be famous attitude toward to be a yoga teacher should be no difference from being a monk or ascetic spiritual practitioner. (Actually it is so). Also priests and doctors (and politicians) should have this attitude towards their occupation. But looks like they are the richest unhealthy people in our low-consciousness society.Remember, asana is a third step of yoga practice, and yoga practice is the way to self-realization.There are uncountable benefits and effects that you receive by asana practice. Also you can expect miraculous effects thru this practice.Proper attitude towards asana practice is to "Practice for the sake of practice." "Practice asana for asana." For example, you can lose weight, heal disease, become really flexible, through asana practice. But those are not the main purpose of asana practice. These are mainly side effects of asana practice. You don't (or not supposed to) practice asanas to lose weight, to gain flexibility or heal disease. When asanas are practiced correctly, these side effects follow naturally. And best results can be obtained when you totally forget about the results when you are practicing. Since spiritual practice is done to become egoless, selfless, the practice is the practice of no attachment. (Why egoless = no attachment? Who is attached to what?).When one is practicing asana to obtain flexibility or to lose weight he or she is practicing for the effect itself. That is nothing but attachment and expectations towards the results. It is full of attachment towards "healing from the disease." Therefore you cannot heal and lose weight. Ironically, the best way to get the best effect is to forget about the effects. Completely and just practice for the sake of practice, because attachment (ignorance) is the source of suffering. This is the reason why many zen monks cannot attain enlightenment: so much attachment towards enlightenment, so much attachment to "no attachment"...