Yoga sadhana is a structured daily practice to recognize the divinity in all of us. We can all think that intellectually, but it is the actual practice that brings our divinity into a felt daily reality. The practice of yoga is often seen in the general public as holding postures for endurance and strength, or jumping through postures for a cardio workout. None of that is yoga if it is done without the intention of revealing your own divine nature. Most of the time this type of “yoga” practice only reinforces a sense of separation from our divine nature.
If the practice becomes a performance of doing postures, then it runs the risk of reinforcing the ego. Strong attachment to the ego is an obstacle to recognizing our inherent divinity. The performance approach to yoga can work well (up to a point) for the individual with low self-esteem who feels an inspired about oneself through the sense of “accomplishment” with the poses. However, for those who see themselves as not good enough, they run the risk of an endless striving to do better in performance. If the body’s performance is short of the mind’s expectations, then the egoic mind can push the body toward injury. The mind treats the body as an adversary rather than an instrument of the divine. The goal of yoga is the joining of the mind, the body, and the breath for greater ease in being, not to create conflict in ourselves.
There are those who do the postures with a natural athleticism that gets posted on magazine covers to etch in everyone’s mind what “good” yoga looks like. For this individual there is the risk of inflating the ego, giving it a bravado to see oneself as superior to others. This attitude misses the divinity in all.
For those who feel that their expression of a posture does not measure up to social appeal, the ego runs the risk of further separation from one’s divine nature. Often these people will drop out of class with the false belief that yoga is about physical athleticism.
The practice of yoga postures is to align and stabilize the body for seated meditation. In the Raja path of yoga, meditation is seen as the practice to arrive at samadhi or union with the divine. If a chair helps for stability rather than a cushion, than so be it. The fact that I had a knee injury did not keep me from meditating as I transitioned from the floor to the chair. Yoga sadhana will find ways around apparent obstacles to the goal of reaching our true nature.
Yoga sadhana does not see proficiency in performing a multitude of postures as a requirement to come into one’s true nature. Thank goodness! Yoga sadhana includes a range of practices besides movement. These include breath practices, mantra repetition, and practices to invoke deep relaxation and stillness, as well as practices to direct the focus of attention. It, also, includes studying sacred texts, and even writing personal reflections such as this. Included in yoga sadhana is self-study to identify the traps of the egoic self that creates separation from the divine Self. The fruits of our yoga sadhana will be evident when we experience our divinity coming forward as an expression of love in daily living.
Namaste. (The divine in me acknowledges the divine in you)