Yoga asana practice is just a very small part of the yoga practice…

Those who enjoy doing the yoga asana exercises but don’t like the practice about letting go of the egoism, attachment, identification, craving and aversion, say that yoga asana practice is the most important part of the yoga practice, and that is what they are learning from the ‘yoga classes’ that they have been attending for months and years.

If they have done a yoga asana practice that day, they will tell themselves and others that they have done their yoga practice that day. And if they didn’t practice yoga asana for a few days or a few months, they will tell themselves and others that they haven’t been practicing yoga for a few days or a few months.

But yoga practice exists in every moment in everything that we do and don’t do. All actions, including inactions, are free from egoism, attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion.

Well, everyone can think and believe what they want to think and believe. If some people insist that yoga is all about the yoga asana practice, and how to make their yoga asana poses to be ‘perfect’ is the goal of their yoga practice, and to make the physical body super strong and flexible will make them a perfect ‘yogi’, then let it be.

Yoga asana practice is just a very small part of the yoga practice to help the yoga practitioners to balance and calm the mind, to prepare the mind for meditation. But, if we don’t want to let go of the egoism, attachment, identification, craving and aversion, and there are countless impurities constantly arise in the mind influencing our thinking and behavior, then no matter how much yoga asana exercises we have been practicing, and how much health and fitness benefits we are getting from performing the yoga asana practice, and the physical body becomes super strong and flexible, we are not free.

People who can’t or don’t perform yoga asana practice due to any reasons, can also attain the means of yoga, to be free from ignorance and suffering, if they know how to free the mind from egoism, attachment, identification, craving, aversion, and all sorts of impurities.

Sometimes how some of the yoga teachers training courses train the ‘yoga teachers-to-be’ for what they will be teaching to the others who will learn yoga from them after they are ‘graduated’ from the yoga teachers training courses, will make their yoga students misunderstand about yoga, the teachings and the yoga practice. There’s nothing wrong with that either, as the students will be getting some health and fitness benefits from doing the yoga asana exercises regularly, just that they might not be practicing yoga.

Om shanti.

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Physical exercises and yoga?

Just like everything else, physical exercises are neither good nor bad. If it is being performed with some basic knowledge and understanding of how to perform the exercises with care and attentiveness, as well as without the influence of egoism and attachment, then it will bring benefits to the body and mind. If it is being done under the influence of egoism and attachment, without the basic knowledge and understanding, nor with care and attentiveness, then it might cause unnecessary tension, stress, damages or injuries to the body and mind.

At any stages in life from young to old, the physical body needs to be performing some forms of regular physical exercises to improve and maintain its good health and fitness level. The intensity of the exercises should be within the effort according to the physical condition and ability in that moment. Some forms of gentle exercises for about half an hour to an hour a day will be sufficient to achieve the benefits of physical exercises. Over exercising or performing strenuous physical exercises that is beyond the effort of the physical condition and ability in that moment can cause short term or long term damages or injuries to the physical body.

The body needs certain degrees of ‘stress’ to maintain its bone density and muscular strength. But excessive ‘stress’ that can cause over-stimulation to the entire body systems, energy depletion or over-exhaustion, and muscular tendons injuries, isn’t necessary. What’s the point when we try to make the body fitter and healthier, but being disappointed, or dissatisfied, or frustrated, or unhappy about oneself imposed by some negative judgment, comparison and expectation coming from oneself towards one’s physical condition and ability, or the physical performance and achievement.

Yoga is not a physical exercise as some people think it is. Yoga asana practice is one part of the many types of yoga practice. Yoga asana practice involves physical movements that will give the similar effects of performing any physical exercises. These effects of physical exercise that we attain from performing regular yoga asana practice is just a side-effect from the practice, it is not the goal of the practice.

Physical exercises don’t guarantee anyone to be peaceful and compassionate. But yoga, which is the mental exercises or internal observations, if being practiced with the correct understanding and attitude, can bring oneself to realize unconditional peace and compassion, that is undetermined by the physical conditions and abilities.

Yoga asana practice is like everything else, it is neither good nor bad. It has no quality nor intention to generate pleasantness or unpleasantness, positive effects or negative effects to the practitioner. Yoga asana practice being performed regularly without the influence of the egoism and attachment will bring oneself towards peace beside getting the physical and mental effects of physical exercises. If it is being done under the influence of the egoism and attachment, it might cause tension, stress, damages or injuries to one’s body and mind.

Although regular physical exercise doesn’t guarantee us to be free from ignorance and egoism, or be free from unhappiness and suffering, it can help us to develop higher energy level, strengthening the body systems, improve physical stamina, physical strength and flexibility, to lower the risk of incurring diseases and lower the risk of physical injuries, promote good health, alertness, positive thinking, cheerfulness, determination, perseverance and tolerance to deal with unexpected or undesirable situations that may arise in everyday life more efficiently and easily.

The effects of physical exercises are beneficial for both physical and mental health and fitness, to allow us to enjoy a better quality of life, to allow ourselves to have the good physical and mental condition, the clear thinking ability, the strength and mobility, and the higher energy level to perform selfless service for oneself and others. But no matter how much we try to maintain the good condition of this physical body, it is still subject to changes, decay, injury, pain, discomfort, stiffness, weakness, old age and decomposition.

Appreciate and take good care of this physical body as well as the mind, but without identification with the body and mind as who ‘I’ am, and without attachment towards the impermanent changes of the body and mind. Allow the impermanent changes to be what they are, without craving for particular conditions, nor aversion towards certain conditions. Make good use of the good condition of the body and mind that is available now, to be doing something beneficial for ourselves and for others, without identification with the actions and the fruit of actions, without attachment towards the actions or the fruit of actions.

Om shanti.

Different types of yoga and different styles of yoga asana practice?

It doesn’t matter what type of yoga that we like to do, what style of yoga asana practice that we love to do, as long as our mind is moving towards I-lessness, compassion, attributelessness, namelessness, formlessness, non-duality, non-separateness, oneness, then we will know that it is not important what type of yoga it is, or what style of yoga asana practice it is, it’s the same. Beyond all the different qualities of names and forms, there’s no difference at all.

If our mind doesn’t move towards I-lessness, compassion, attributelessness, namelessness, formlessness, non-duality, non-separateness, oneness, but instead generates lots of judgment, comparison, expectation, craving and aversion towards different types of yoga and different styles of yoga asana practice, then know that we are not practicing yoga at all even though we like certain type of yoga, and love to do certain style of yoga asana practice.

Om shanti.

Feel intimidated or frustrated by some of the yoga asana exercises?

Due to some physical limitations, or injuries, or weakness, or stiffness, or diseases, some people might be limited from performing some of the yoga asanas.

It’s totally okay if someone cannot perform some or all of the yoga asanas. It doesn’t limit anyone to realize selflessness to be free from ignorance and egoism, and realize unconditional love and peace.

As selflessness, peace and compassion is not determined by how many yoga poses one can perform, nor how ‘good’ can one execute the yoga poses.

Everyone and anyone also can practice yoga and be free, but it is an undeniable fact that not all the yoga asana exercises are suitable for everyone, nor anybody should be performing all the yoga asanas disregards their physical limitations.

Yoga is not at all to push the body to go beyond its limitations, nor to make it stronger or more flexible, but it is to go beyond all the identifications with impermanent qualities of names and forms, and realize attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness.

One should be more calm and relaxed by performing the yoga asana exercises instead of feeling intimidated or frustrated by some of the yoga asana exercises that one couldn’t perform due to some physical limitations.

Om shanti.