To treat yoga as just another exercise form is a farce because the yogic system involves not just exercising the muscular and skeletal systems of the body, but also exercising the internal organs and the involuntary systems in the body. It is a process of bringing that which is involuntary within us into the voluntary realm. So you can have sufficient mastery over the system – then everything within your system slowly begins to happen consciously rather than unconsciously and compulsively.
Yoga is a process of completely overhauling the system in such a way that health and well-being come from within. Above all, it aligns the physical, the mental, and the pranic (energy) systems in such a way that the source of creation within ourselves finds expression. So yoga is not just an exercise, it is a process and a system to enhance the human being in an overall way and to manipulate one's energies so that individual human beings can find their highest possible potential within themselves.
Treating yoga as an exercise form, or even comparing yoga to some other exercise system, is completely out of context. When we talk about fitness, it can be of many kinds for different requirements. For example, a wrestler needs one kind of fitness. A labourer on the street needs another kind of fitness. An executive needs a different level of fitness. An athlete needs another kind of fitness. Fitness is not the same for everyone. Just building muscle and making the body strong is not fitness. Fitness means every aspect of you is functioning at its optimal level. So, the yogic system is focused on taking an individual to his ultimate possibility and towards fulfilling his ultimate potential.
The best part of the yogic process is that you do not need any equipment or any help from anybody else. If you are there, that is sufficient. All you need is a space of three feet by six feet in which every kind of exercise that is needed for the system can be performed. When you practice yoga, it is a complete system.
(Sadhguru is the founder of Isha Foundation, a yogi, mystic, visionary and a bestselling author)
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