Why are we doing Yoga?

Atha yoganusasanam, now the discipline of yoga. This is the first sutra of Patanjali’s yoga sutras and probably the most important cause it represents the point, the moment, where everything starts and from where everything else follows. And if  everyone has surely worked out their own interpretation of the word ‘discipline’, probably not all of us has pointed enough attention on the meaning of the word ‘now’;

cause is there where we can understand the meaning of the third word of the sutra: yoga.

So, now yoga. Why do we start to practice yoga? The second sutra, yoga cittavrttinirodhah, gives us the meaning of the word ‘yoga’, citta, mind, vrttinirodhah, cessation of the fluctuations (of the), so yoga means the stillness of the mind in order to allow ourselves to abide in the state of pure being (tada drastuh svarupe vasthanam, I.3); and this sutra not only gives us the meaning of the word yoga, it also explains what is the goal of this discipline, sadhana or spiritual path. So Patanjali gives us the complete explanation of what is yoga and why we should embrace this path in just one sentence.

But what does really mean to still the mind and what is this state of pure being? about the second question no one can really answer by words as it is a state that transcends the mind and so the mind itself can’t understand it and therefore explain it with its own tools such as words or images. The ancient Rishis described it as ‘satcittananda’ which means ‘being-consciousness-bliss’, which are the three characteristics of the transcendental state of our pure being. Stilling the mind is the process towards this state and it requires lots of efforts and practice and discipline and it’s the object of our studies and intentions. So why are we ‘now’ deciding to still the mind? Why do we decide consciously to silence our thoughts, to drop all of a sudden all the images, all the desires, all the expectations, all the memories, all the projects for the future, in one word our ego or, to use a more friendly terminology, our personality?

Be as we are and practice some asanas doesn’t really mean anything of that sort. Not even follow a healthy diet and gather once a week in a class of meditation would help much. Reconsidering our lives completely and face our most deep and hidden demons would help to start the process. That is NOW. The exact moment where we decide to fight our most important, intimate and hard battle against our false self, the ego. Osho says that moment, NOW, is the moment when we drop all our hopes for a better life, when we stop thinking of becoming something, when we are completely disillusioned about us as we are and we just give up any idea, any desire of being something else, just another illusion of ourselves. That moment is the point break, the non returning point, the moment when something might start to happen. It is painful and scary, it is the moment when we realise we are chained inside the cave and we are just enjoying someone else’s shadows as our own life. Yoga is the way out.

…to be continued.