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Pre-Conditions for Yoga

2nd Dec 2022 | Author - Viraj

Yoga is the ultimate science of connecting with life, which some cultures also call the supreme, divine, ultimate, or even God. In Sanskrit, the word "yoga" means union, which can be interpreted as the divine union of mind, body, and soul. 

In today's world, the term "yoga" is frequently used to refer only to the practice of postures, breathing, and a moralistic lifestyle; however, yoga is the ultimate tool for finding ever-new and permanent bliss. Working on just one thing cannot be the true path of yoga unless certain key conditions are met in our lives. 

Here are some of these conditions,

1. Frustration and Disillusionment with the current state of our lives: We are all living this life based on concepts and beliefs that are not even ours; most of it is learned through our family, culture, and educational system. The end result of all this is a life that is often out of line with our true nature, which may eventually lead to frustration and disillusionment in life. Unless one reaches this point of ultimate frustration, it is difficult to embark on the real journey of yoga.

In Gita, this phenomenon is referred to as "Vishad Yoga." This is Arjuna’s (vishad) grief and lamentation on the battlefield of Dharma-kshetra, and his pure satvik desire to know the truth, which prompted the divine discourse of Gita by Shri Krishna for delightful divine Yoga for the whole world.

Yoga Vashista is another important ancient text that documents Lord Rama's frustration with the nature of life, human suffering, and disdain for the world and also describes, through the character of Rama, the desire for liberation and the nature of those who seek such liberation.

Sage Patanjali in the second century laid the foundation of the Yoga Sutra, and the sutras start with

….. (atha yoganushasanam)  “And now,yoga”

"Now" essentially means "at the moment" or "living in the moment," but I prefer to consider Sadhguru's interpretation, which explains the significance of these words as essentially that yoga can only be approached seriously when one is ready for it.         

2. Desire for Freedom & Liberation : When one understands the circular nature of existence and the duality of life experience, where any phenomenon, e.g., darkness/light, high/low, happiness/sadness, seems to be different sides of the same coin, one develops an earnest desire for freedom from this fluctuating existence; this is the ultimate desire, which can absorb every other desire of our life. Desire for freedom is not a desire for some ultimate experience, ultimate happiness, or heaven; it's basically freedom from desire, which causes endless cycles of pleasant and unpleasant experiences. This freedom can only come when there is freedom from the desire to achieve. This is the ultimate desire and destiny of every individual being; this understanding is wisdom, and one can inculcate this desire willfully.

3. Renouncing the Suffering: We carry unnecessary beliefs and sufferings with pride; even painful memories are preserved in our deeper being for future reference. Everyone has memories that we would rather forget. Some of us enjoy being victims and feel constantly sorry for ourselves; however, we must recognise the impact of the past on our current experience of life. Our entire experience of the present is skewed through the lenses of our beliefs and past memories. By renouncing the suffering, we can feel lighter, live in the present moment, and experience life the way it is. We must resolve to let go of all painful memories and sufferings, as well as useless beliefs. There are two key things we can do to reduce the impact of the past. One is to realise the futility of the past and the weight we are carrying in our lives. The second is to change the context of our memories; a memory is just a sequence of pictures and associated experiences. With wisdom, we can flip the context of these memories from being painful to something that was essential for our own evolution, learning, and growth. This technique may help us dissolve the net impact of these memories. 

4. Turn Inward: Most of us believe whatever experience our senses and mind are creating, but we need to realise that whatever our sense organs report—whether it's our eyes, ears, touch, or taste—is all interpreted by our mind, which is influenced by our beliefs, past experiences, and expectations. We have squandered enormous amounts of time in our lives blaming external situations for our sufferings and pain; however, when we realise that it is not external events and phenomena that cause the suffering, but our internal interpretation of these events, a drastic change can occur in our lives; our present experiences are no longer dictated by our past or future expectations, and we begin to live more in the present moment.  

Yoga is about accepting life the way it is and aligning with and flowing with it. Its clear understanding, combined with physical and breathing techniques, can greatly assist us in transforming and living a life that is not just lived but celebrated, with each day and moment celebrated.


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