CREDOS : Yoga — II
For many Hindus, yoga is a way of life. For many Westerners, it’s often just a great way to stretch, strengthen, and relax.
What is lost when yoga is stripped of its spirituality and treated like just another exercise class?
Life has two facets. One is the physical; the other is spiritual. The physical facet of life is a concrete visible part of the life force recognisable through the organs of action, senses of perception, and the mind. The other facet of life is the self or the soul, which is mercurial and abstract.
Naturally whether one is Eastern or Western, he or she believes in what they see, and after grasping the visible sheath of the body he or she naturally tries to evolve to reach the source of all movements. Then they can advance by refining the intelligence to experience the second part of the facet of life. That is the core of the being, or the self. I do not think that the essence of yoga, which is meant to touch the self, is lost in leading one’s life towards the core. For me the body is the concrete visible self, mind is the subtler self, and ‘self’ is the subtlest of the subtle. This is the gradation or hierarchy in the field of yoga.
Not all practitioners can jump to that highest level. They have to climb, step by step from the physical sphere to reach the spiritual sphere. If it is treated as exercise it is not the fault of yoga but of practitioners.
My friend, I am happy that yoga-whether it is in physical form, mental form, or spiritual form-is spreading.— Beliefnet.com