The means of yoga is to attain annihilation of the egoism, realize unconditional peace through the self-realization of the truth, be free from ignorance, and thus transcend suffering.
The mission of yoga being spread into the society of the commercial world is for the sake of world peace. It’s not so much about getting some health and fitness benefits from performing the yoga asana exercises. Though there’s nothing wrong about that.
World peace has to start from individual peace that is unconditional, undetermined by physical conditions and abilities, or qualities of names and forms. When one has attained unconditional peace in oneself, one is no longer being affected nor disturbed by any impurities or disturbance that exist in the world. One will be free from ill-will and violence, and will not generate disharmony in oneself or into the surrounding atmosphere. And this is how yoga contributes to world peace.
Yoga practice is about self-awareness, self-discipline, self-control, self-restraint, self-transformation, self-realization. It’s not about to convert other people to abandon their existing beliefs or religious practice, and to believe in the teachings of yoga and to take up the yoga practice, nor to change other people to behave the way that we think they should behave, nor to change the world to be the way that we think it should be.
Yoga practice is eliminating the egoism and ignorance through the practice of non-attachment and non-identification, and letting go of craving and aversion. All these yoga practice can be incooperated into any existing beliefs or religious practice that one already has, without interfering what one used to believe and practice.
While allowing the existing beliefs and practice to be there, one also allows the mind to be opened. One learns how to stay detached from the existing beliefs and practice, without identification with the beliefs and practice to be who ‘I’ am. One also doesn’t attach towards the teachings of yoga, but will perform self-inquiry inquire into the truth of everything, including the existing beliefs and practice, as well as the teachings of yoga.
For many people, it is not that easy to have the determination and perseverance to perform serious yoga practice (Sadhana) while living among the society in the commercial world, unless the aspirant has developed a strong foundation of non-attachment (Vairagya) and right discrimination (Viveka). As there are many distractions around that will hinder one to immerse into the yoga and meditation practice especially if the aspirant has not yet developed a strong foundation of non-attachment, non-identification, right discrimination, self-discipline and self-control. One might be influenced by the worldly thinking and beliefs, and easily swayed into the worldly passionate desires and greed.
Most of the contents in the worldly social conversations in everyday life are strengthening worldly ideas, identifications, desires and attachments. It is empowering the egoism without us being aware of it. We tend to move away from the path of yoga and meditation, while thinking that we are pure enough, and we love yoga very much.
And thus, it is quite useful for someone who truly wants to be free from ignorance and to realize unconditional peace, by having the company of the wise (Satsanga) if there is one, or by attending yoga and meditation retreats once in a while, provided that these yoga and meditation ‘retreats’ are about the yoga and meditation practice, and it’s not about indulge in luxury sensual enjoyment ‘treats’. It can help to remind ourselves about Dharma, and to re-ignite the desire to attain liberation (Moksha).