Yoga practitioners who live in the big city and wish to engage more time into their personal yoga practice by teaching some fitness yoga exercise classes in the big city to make a living to support their lives that also allow them to have the free time and space to perform their own yoga practice shouldn’t be bothered by what other people say about “These fitness yoga exercise classes are not about yoga and they are just a commercial ‘money making’ thing.” or “It’s wrong to modified traditional yoga asana practice into modern physical fitness exercise classes to make a living.”
Even if the fitness yoga exercise classes didn’t mention anything about the aspect of ‘spirituality’ whether intentionally or unintentionally, and it’s not about letting go of the egoism, desires, attachment, identification, craving and aversion at all, they do provide excellent and efficient physical fitness workout that can benefit many people disregard their personal cultural belief and religion practice, especially those who live a busy city lifestyle with limited personal time and space.
Although many yoga practitioners and teachers try to explain that yoga is universal, but, when we apply the name and form of ‘spirituality’ onto something that we believe is universal, then, not everyone will agree with ‘spirituality’ is universal friendly to all and everyone. As different people might have belief and disbelief about ‘spirituality’. Among those who believe in ‘spirituality’, different people or groups will have different names and forms of ‘spirituality’ that they think is belonged to them, and their ‘spirituality’ is better or purer than other forms of ‘spirituality’.
If something that is truly universal, it is free from being conditioned by any names and forms. It is nameless and formless beyond qualities of names and forms.
Fitness yoga exercise classes that don’t involve any aspects of ‘spirituality’ can bring the yoga practice to many levels and diversities of the society. As there are people do not wish to involve in the world of ‘spirituality’, which we can understand why, as there are many ‘weird’ people and ‘weird’ happenings going on in the world of ‘spirituality’ which are not necessarily what spirituality is about.
Not involving in the world of ‘spirituality’ doesn’t determine whether one is spiritual, or not. Just like not identifies oneself as good person, nor associating with other good people, doesn’t determine whether one is good, or not.
Without touching the aspect of ‘spirituality’, it is like any sports activities, it’s universal friendly. Anyone whether with or without a particular religion belief, being spiritual or non-spiritual, can take part in any kind of sports activities, if one is interested. Although great achievements and excellency in sports activities doesn’t guarantee anyone liberation from ignorance, egoism and suffering.
Living among the society, whatever people do and don’t do, there will always be somebody or some group in the society reacts towards something that they don’t like and don’t agree with, and criticize or condemn about this and that. Why should anyone be bothered?
Every living being comes into existence as a living being by oneself alone (even if there are multiple birth) and will leave this world by oneself alone (even if the life of multiple living beings is finished at the same moment). Self-realization or liberation from ignorance is attained by oneself alone. It has nothing to do with another being or group, not even all our past and present teachers and Gurus, or family and friends.
When a peaceful being prefers to be in solitude away from the society and keeps the path of liberation to oneself, and has no intention or interest in ‘teaching’ or sharing’ the path of liberation with any other beings, there will be criticism and condemn from somebody or some group about this being is selfish.
When a peaceful being has the intention or interest for ‘sharing’ the path of liberation with other beings, and tries to ‘teach’ or ‘guide’ other beings about the path of liberation, there will also be criticism and condemn from somebody or some group about one is not ‘teaching’ or ‘guiding’ other beings in the ‘correct and appropriate’ way according to what they think it should be.
Let them be. These minds that like to find faults in everything, and take pride and joy in criticism and condemn are restless. Most untrained minds are restless, or else there won’t be any criticism or condemn from anyone or anywhere about anything. The world will be very quiet and peaceful. Be compassionate towards all these restless minds, they are so unhappy and peaceless. Those who know non-attachment and non-identification will not be influenced by the points of view, thinking and beliefs of these restless minds. One shares what one is, or not, and it’s nothing to do with what others want and don’t want, like and dislike.
Among many forms of fitness exercises for attaining good health and fitness level, these yoga exercises adapted and modified from traditional yoga asana practice provide huge varieties and efficient fitness workouts for all levels of different physical conditions and abilities, to cater the personal requirements, the likes and dislikes of many different types of people, can promote fitness and obtain higher energy level, to induce good mood and relaxed state of the mind, to develop positive and clear thinking, to lower risk of injuries or contracting illnesses, to improve and maintain good physical and mental health condition, to improve quality of life, relationships, self-esteem and sense of meaningfulness. Although all these qualities of names and forms are still subject to impermanence, and don’t guarantee anyone liberation from ignorance and suffering.
The world will definitely be a better place with more people having a ‘cool and relaxed’ state of mind through performing yoga exercises regularly, there will be less conflicts and violence. It is better than taking some substances that might also can induce a momentary ‘cool and relaxed’ state of mind, but might bring other forms of side effects.
Eventually by obtaining and maintaining a well-balanced and ‘cool and relaxed’ state of mind through regular practice of some yoga exercises, naturally one can be evolving towards purity and higher consciousness, without any intention nor interest to involve in ‘purity’, or ‘higher consciousness’.
It is absolutely fine if people are not interested at all in the teachings of yoga about the elimination of egoism, desires, attachment, identification, craving and aversion. It’s definitely nothing wrong when there’s no mention about these yoga teachings in the fitness yoga exercise classes, but instead it is moving away from all these yoga teachings, whether intentionally or unintentionally, such like, strengthening the attachment and identification towards self-image, physical conditions and abilities, the empowerment of likes and dislikes, craving and aversion, the judgment and expectation towards the performance, and results orientated, and etc.
It isn’t being disrespectful towards the Gurus and the teachings of yoga when yoga (asana) practice in the world has been transformed into something that is very little to do with what yoga is about, which is to free the mind from egoism, attachment, identification, desires, craving, aversion and all sorts of impurities, to know the truth of names and forms, to eliminate ignorance and transcend suffering. And all these have nothing to do with whether one is spiritual, or not, whether one has a religion belief, or not, and whether one believes in the existence of an Almighty God or an individual soul, or not.
Yoga practice is to free the mind from ignorance, egoism, desires, impurities and suffering. And this alone is universal. Untrained minds are influenced by ignorance, egoism, impurities and experience suffering. A well-trained mind is free from the influence of ignorance, egoism, impurities and doesn’t experience suffering. An impure unrest mind creates havoc into the surrounding environment. A pure and peaceful mind doesn’t generate havoc into the surrounding environment. A closed mind generates offensiveness towards everything. An opened mind embraces all and everything.
It doesn’t matter where we come from, where we are now, who we are, what we are and how we are, we all have a mind and there are countless mind activities going on every moment, whether consciously or unconsciously. Without knowing this mind and its modifications, one generates disharmony in oneself and into the surrounding environment. Know thyself, is knowing this mind and its modification. There is no ‘I’.
May all be free, be peaceful, be happy.
If anyone doesn’t want to be free, or peaceful, or happy, let them be.