Yoga Was Supposed To Be A Secret
Posted by terrepruitt on February 15, 2016
I recently heard that yoga wasn’t meant to be done by the masses. It was originally supposed to be for a specific type of person. It was basically supposed to be a secret because not everyone is ready. Not everyone can do what needs to be done to do yoga. The eight limbs containing the yamas and the niyams, the Nadis, the bandhas, the Vayus all of the stuff that takes a huge amount of time to learn and perfect. Having to practice and perfect all of that with the ultimate goal of achieving ascension into the divine or merging with the divine. It really is for people who can and want to devote their whole life to it. Just like an athlete wanting to go to the Olympics, they pretty much give up everything to practice, practice, practice, and perfect. Yogis, just like that. Giving it all up so that they can devote their life to doing yoga. That really is the only way anyone could do all of it.
If the translations are accurate with all that one has to do and give up in order to “do” yoga perfectly, you really have to be removed from the things of the world. In order to cleanse and purify in the way that is referred to in the text one would have to live on a mountain top. That is why it was supposed to be a secret. That is why it was not considered something anyone could do without living apart from the modern world (perhaps the Western World).
Once I heard that it made a lot more sense to me. I felt relieved. I thought, “Oh, THAT explains a lot.” That explains why, a long time ago, I remember yoga being associated with people far away on high mountain tops. That explains why it always seemed to unattainable. That is why, when I was young it was this super-duper strict/restrictive practice that really didn’t appeal to me. That is why some of the poses that seem outrageous really are. They are not meant to be done by a person who has a yoga practice several times a week. They are truly meant to be done by someone who spends ALL their time doing yoga — and by yoga, I don’t mean the asana, I mean ALL eight limbs. Those pretzel people don’t work 45/50 hours a week and then just show up to their mat and bend like that. They are the deep practitioners that do YOGA.
I believe that is why the limbs get rewritten to work with the modern life. I believe that is why there are so many version and variations and modifications and names to one pose. Things have been adjusted to fit into a life that is not JUST yoga. There are still many benefits to doing modern yoga. Many people don’t think of modern yoga as yoga and I think when compared to ancient yoga, I could agree. I don’t think of a lot of the yoga that happens as yoga. Things like paddle board yoga and water yoga, not really yoga. But then again, as I said, the yoga I do, the yoga I teach might not be considered yoga compared to ancient yoga. So it really depends on what you think yoga is. It really depends on the what and the why. What do you want to get out of it? Why do you want to do it? When you do it are you getting what you want out of it and is your “why” being handled . . . .then who am I or who is anyone to say it is not yoga.
I really think our yoga is so far away from the ancient yoga that the people from thousands of years ago would be appalled, but then again, they wouldn’t. If they were as truly enlighten as the text said they would be if they practiced all eight limbs of yoga, they might just shrug their shoulders and get down on a mat and join us for some hot yoga, Karaoke Yoga, or whatever yoga is happening in the studio that day.
Perhaps yoga is done at different levels. So the ancient yoga is for people who remove themselves from the modern world and dedicate their lives to nothing by yoga, and then all the other types of yoga are for the rest of us. From the religious type of Kriya yoga all the way to Karaoke Yoga.
I have in my head some requirement for me to consider something yoga, but really in keeping with the way I’ve been taught about the yamas and the niyamas, I can just let it all be. I can be happy that there are different “levels”. The different levels allows it to be accessible for all.
Did you know that yoga was supposed to be a secret? How do you feel about that? Ever want to try something like Karaoke Yoga? Trampoline Yoga?