Sunday, August 25, 2013

What is Yoga?

Talking strictly about an extremely low carbohydrate diet can certainly produce amazing results for the diabetic, but without exercise, its really only a small piece of the puzzle.

But I am not talking about just running or playing soccer- as I described in This Post, the energy in the body is an amazing patchwork of interactions that comes together as a whole. When we are talking about diabetes, we have to think about specific exercises that target the root problems. The sciences of yoga and Traditional Chinese Medicine offer us explanations of where these energies should be and how to get them there.

Body is matter, "energy" is etherial and non-specific. However I think that Paramahansa Yogananda in his book Autobiography of a Yogi* gives us an important reminder of how not Other "energy" can be when he writes, "The Western day is nearing when the inner science of self-control will be found as necessary as the outer conquest of Nature. The Atomic Age will see men's minds sobered and broadened by the now scientifically indisputable truth that matter is in reality a concentrate of energy." The "indisputable truth that matter is in reality a concentrate of energy" is Einsteins famous E=mc2. This is the reminder that all mass is in fact energy and just because we experience it as body does not mean that it is not also energy- digestive energy, electricity, kinetic energy, mind energy and light.

So when I talk about exercise, I am really talking about a kind of exercise that will allow you to navigate the indisputable bridge between matter (body) and energy (mind). In order to find real healing, we must work to create this mastery. Their remains then the fact that we can find a way to convert healing mind energy into physical manifestations. Interpret this as you see fit.

But what is yoga? Yogananda gives as a more specific definition that Yoga is " a method for restraining the natural turbulence of thoughts, which otherwise impartially prevents all men, of all lands, from glimpsing their true nature of Spirit. Like the healing light of the sun, yoga is beneficial equally to men of the East and to men of the West. The thoughts of most persons are restless and capricious; a manifest need exists for yoga: the science of mind control." Yoga the exercise in physical postures and practices is the control of non-material mind energy. What those specific practices are I have given here. There were countless specifics taught, the one I have outlined is the one I learned from my teacher and practice.

So when someone talks about Yoga, it is much, much more complicated than "just stretching" as I heard someone put it the other day. This is an entire system of how to willfully transfer between material and mind energy. Such a mastery may occur quickly, or slowly. However, the ever increasing awareness promised by Yoga practice will create higher and higher levels of the ability to discern the energies of the body and mind and to direct them in the most beneficial ways in healing yourself and others and discovering that energy's source.

* Autobiography of a Yogi, Thirteenth edition 1998, Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles. 


  1. I really enjoying reading your posts (and anything that reminds me that reality is more than just the material world). Looking forward to re-reading the Autobiography which I first read as a teen. The way I look at it, yoga is how I can release my limiting thoughts and allow healing which happens automatically once I get out of my own way. I am taking baby steps to avoid pushing too hard, too fast. Daily carbs are down to around 165g. Every morning I do a few minutes of quigong, sat kriya, and pranayam.

  2. Amazing to hear. Yes, little by little over an extended period of time can often produce results quicker than an "intense radical transformation" all at once! I'm a big fan of marginal improvement every day :)