|[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 201 ]
Various cultures throughout the ages have placed the term yoga into a number of lights. Those who endeavour to follow this system do so in the company of many, all within a broad range of interpretations and experiences. To the inexperienced then, it can seem confusing and difficult to know really what yoga is and what it has to offer.
On top of this, we're often confronted by those with misunderstandings, because for some, yoga is deemed to be connected to the odd practices of fakirs; for others yoga is a cluster of recipes and magical techniques that help one to achieve amazing phenomenon. For others still, yoga is merely a peculiar form of gymnastics designed for those who are perhaps more naturally endowed with flexibility.
Bear in mind that the attitudes and ideas from others that will constantly confront you are all coming from many differing levels of experience, as well as perceptions that are influenced by their cultures, societies and religions. As I’ve pointed out on several occasions already, there is often a great deal of ignorance as to the real nature and practice of yoga.
As a yoga enthusiast, you'll probably be confronted most often by the indifferent ones. Satisfied with their daily routines, they are afraid to change their stance in life. They do not give themselves the opportunity to compare because they don't dare to try and practice or to explore their 'selves' at any level beyond immediate, familiar sensations. They are the ones who 're-act' to life. In yoga we learn to 'act in life'! These folks maintain themselves in a state of inertness that is common to the great majority of human kind today.
There are also the doubtful ones, those who are suspicious without any well-defined reason. Fear of all that is new and appears 'exoti'c’ to them is their hallmark. They may view practices such as yoga as an 'Oriental thing' and those Westerners that practice it as 'flaky'.
Then there are the 'been there, done that' types -- those who, after being curious, have devoted themselves to some untidy attempts, more or less sporadically, poorly directed or badly assimilated, leading to a lack of understanding and few positive results. They may even have been confronted with some negative phenomena and now they condemn the yoga system. They would have liked to reach their goal quickly through chaotic practice and with little effort. But their impatient expectation for enticing results, such as a youthful figure or a profound state of ease and peace, lacks a consideration for the specific methodology and systematic effort necessary in yoga.
Thus their thirst remains unquenched. These people speak the loudest and protest the most. They may be the 'jack of all trades, and master of none'. They may also be the product of the modern 'yoga class' culture, lacking in proper instruction and guidance, and having as their only yoga experiences a few classes here and there at various yoga studios with a variety of teachers and various, mostly fitness oriented methods. Their resulting lack of satisfaction makes their attitude about yoga negative and even judgmental.
Really it is their lack of discipline and superficial approach to life that holds them back from true understanding and real accomplishment. They will challenge you on every step of your journey. Beware!
The adepts, or initiates in yoga, are those relative few who, properly understanding the yoga system, practice it accurately and consistently for long enough to have reached considerable results. Only those who have confirmed results through personal practice and experience can attest to the true nature and benefits of yoga.
The yoga masters are rare indeed. They are those who, through tireless activity, have realised within their own being the 'Absolute', the 'essence of manifestation' and the secrets of the Universe.
Thanks to Divine inspiration, they are endowed with wisdom. It is through their guidance, knowledge and teachings that others may also realise this heavenly state of being...
NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.
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... It is indeed a masterful work."
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