In its 5th millennium, Yoga is faced with a crisis!
For the first 4980 years; Yoga was practiced by Yogis and was taught by Gurus to their students. But that scenario has changed now. Dramatically. TODAY’S STUDENTS DON’T ENTER A YOGA STUDIO IN SEARCH OF NIRVANA. So, what do they come for?
In the past, students would live with their Gurus studying and practicing Yoga and Life. This would be a long arduous journey with the ultimate aim of self-realization. This, mind you, still happens today. However, the larger group of practitioners of Yoga that we see; which is today a Global Yoga phenomenon with millions practicing yoga – are people who are attracted to yoga either as a cure for ailments or as a fitness work-out. They come in to yoga studios looking for fitness, health and de-stressing. Which is perfectly fine; because soon enough as their bodies get fitter and their breathing gets deeper they will start to get more meditative and explore deeper realms of yoga.
Which brings us, as Yoga teachers, to the question; “Is any style of modern yoga capable of producing a YOGI?” If not, are we selling yoga short – should we just call all of this as Asana classes and not Yoga? That way there won’t be any confusion. How many yoga classes represent Yoga as we might gather from the Yoga Sutras? Or, are we able to at least produce students who then are prepared to make the journey to Samadhi?
I have a simpler question – have you seen any yoga student or teacher at a yoga studio go on to become a Buddha? (or attain Samadhi in yogic terms). If not, then why are you hoping that it will happen to you? In 10 years as a Teacher; I haven’t seen anyone at a yoga studio in Samadhi! That’s pretty darn depressing, isn’t it?
YOGA is the ULTIMATE TRANSFORMATIONAL Science. If it is not bringing about Transformation; then we need to assess how far away we have all gotten from the lofty ideals of yoga! And perhaps then we can get our tiny ships to sail towards the lighthouse of Samadhi. Otherwise, 2000 years from now people will say that in 2013 there were 50 million people practicing yoga in the world – but it did not produce a single YOGI!