What is Yoga about?

A : Yoga is about ‘Becoming Aware’. Yoga is about managing the negative aspects of our character and developing the positive qualities which uplift our nature, and with that uplifting others as well. When we are expressing these qualities then other people are uplifted, and that is yoga! If you have the quality of loving, then love will manifest, but that love will be unconditional. If you don’t have that quality, no matter how hard you try, nothing will happen. You can hug a million people, you can say nice things, but you’ll never know what love is.

There is a Story about a person who practiced austerities for many years in order to manifest God in his life. Moved by these austerities, God appeared and said, “Ask me for any boon you want.” The person said, “I have nothing to ask. My wish was just to see you, not to ask for a boon.” God repeated his request, but each time the person refused to ask for a boon. So, as the person started to walk away, God granted the boon of healing to his shadow. Unaware that his shadow had received this boon, the person continued walking in ignorance.

But miracles were happening behind him. His shadow fell on a dead tree, and the tree became green, laden with leaves, flowers and fruits. The shadow fell on a sick person, who became healthy and started to jump up and down with joy. The shadow fell on a blind person, who suddenly could see. The shadow fell on a lame person, who suddenly could walk. The shadow fell on a dead person, who came alive. In this way, one miracle after another happened, and the person did not even know about it. Wherever he went, the boon of healing worked behind his back through his shadow, without his knowledge.

This story conveys a simple message. In expressing your qualities, be like this person. Everything happens without expectation, without desire, as long as the heart is clear, open and simple. And that is the outcome of Yogic Life. Yogic life is not Perfection, it is not love. It is Knowing, Realizing and expressing your Best.

~ Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

(Spiritual Head of Bihar School of Yoga)

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