There are many reasons why yoga is becoming popular. One thing is that it makes you realise some fundamental facts about yourself. Once in a kindergarten school, the teacher asked the students, “If I stand on my head, you will see my face will turn red because blood flows into my head. But that does not happen when I stand on my feet. Why?” A little fellow said, “Because the feet aren't empty.”
Your body is like a barometer. If you know how to watch it, it tells you everything about you. Not the fancy things that you think about yourself, the real facts about you. Your mind is too deceptive. Every day it says a different thing about you. If you know how to read the body it tells you everything just the way it is, your past, present and future — in a way. That is why fundamental yoga starts with the body. First thing in the morning, you stand on your head to at least know what is empty and what is full.
One reason for its growing popularity is the large scale transmission of education. We have more intellect on this planet today than ever before. So, naturally as the intellect becomes stronger, people look for logical solutions for everything.
The more logical they become, the more dependent they become on science and the outcome of science is technology.
As the activity of the intellect becomes stronger in the world, more people will shift to yoga over a period of time and it will become the most popular way of seeking well-being.
When it comes to your mind, you don't know what it is saying. What your mind says might look reasonable and straight forward to you. But somewhere else it may feel totally out of place. Especially when it comes to a dimension beyond your present level of perception, the mind is a horrible guide because it says different things, which makes you believe in things that don't exist, and it makes you miss things, which are right there in front of you.
This is the reason why yoga adopted a comprehensive way for approaching the spiritual process through the body, through energy, through breath, through emotion and of course through intelligence — but not depending upon the intellect because intellect is always coming from whatever perspective it is in, that looks like the absolute for the intellect.
So, we learn to trust the body more. If you can simply look at this body as an instrument and learn to use it as an instrument, it will become a powerful instrument. It can tell you everything about what is here and beyond. Body is reliable, not the mind.
Your mind philosophises: “What is the use of bending your body and doing all this nonsense? Is it going to take you to heaven and enlightenment?”
Body never lies to you. If you develop this body, if you release this body from the identifications and attachments that you have created for it, if you just learn to drive it like an instrument, it is the most fantastic and most powerful instrument on this planet. The process of yoga is just towards realizing and retrieving this machine for your use.
(Sadhguru is the founder of Isha Foundation, a yogi, mystic, visionary and a bestselling author).