ESSENCE OF YOGA





Bridge of Light, Hindustan Times, 2001



Yoga is the means of acquiring stillness of mind, and steadiness of purpose. You need not practice many postures. Just pick one, and master it. If you get bored with one, pick a few that suit your temperament. Master them. It is the discipline that yields the fruit, not so much the posture. Watch how long can you retain a single posture, any posture, without moving or glancing sideways. Just sit cross-legged with a straight spine, and stare into blank space, at the tip of your nose, on the third eye in between the eyebrows, or a candle. This just sitting is an important first step. In traditional terms, this is referred to as kaya sthairyam, or steadying the physical body, that in turn steadies the mind.


Remember, it is not the object of attention that matters as much, but attention itself. Thankfully, we do have a choice as to where we direct our attention. Attention power is always in our hands. We can use it for anything we wish to manifest, such as success at work, joy in a relationship, or achievement of an ambition. Yet, the true purport of yoga is to collect attention for realization of our unity with the indivisible cosmic principle. This is the highest goal. Like bath is for cleansing of the body, yoga is for the purification of the soul. Means of acquiring unwavering attention is practice, just like with anything else.