The path of Yoga
Don’t practice thinking about the reward. Just as you can’t meditate thinking about achieving Jivamukti because it defies the meditation itself; you can’t practice postures thinking only about reaching an specific form: doing paschimottanasana with the goal of full bending your body is only going to hurt you.
Hatha Yoga is not the only path of Yoga. Neither is meditation. There is a path for each person to achieve the liberation. Yoga means union, and it can be reached through different ways:
• Karma Yoga: it is related to good deeds. Most active people prefer this, as they feel useful this way.
• Bhakti Yoga: it very devotional: chanting mantras and kirtan and praying, it doesn’t matter to which god. Sensible people like Bhakti Yoga because they can express their love this way.
• Jnana Yoga: is way of reason, of study. Intellectuals and scholars always use this route, as they usually go for paths they feel they can prove.
• Raja Yoga: is the way of meditation, of finding the liberation within your own soul. Hatha Yoga and self contemplation are usually put in this branch.
No matter which path a yogi follows, they all lead to the same end: the Liberation, The Jivamukti, The Moksha.
Love is not attachment: all the great masters said it, from Jesus to the Old Sages of India: you should love expecting nothing in return. When we have expectations about something, for example, when we love seeking love in return, we do not truly love. This is just desire, and desire is the root of misery. When you hope for nothing, then nothing can make you suffer. It is only natural to seek things for ourselves: we love to be loved, we work to live comfortably. But true liberation urges us to work against our impulses. Be selfless; give yourself to others without expecting anything in return and you will be set free.
What is Love?
Swami Vivekananda, an old sage from the late 1800 in India asked this question: have you seen God? But God doesn’t appear in front you saying I’m God, worship me. So, how would you know if you had seen him? Through meditation you can learn that God is in everyone and everything and the state of liberation is to feel him all around you, and inside you. The Moksha is the realization of one’s own divine nature. But there is no space for laziness, to achieve the Jivamukti state, one must practice: meditate and meditate some more.
Have you seen God?
Yoga has many benefits that can be summed in 3: physical, therapeutic and spiritual. The physical benefits are the first to come, for they come after any physical effort: they are the same of aerobics or running: more strength and flexibility. The practice of Hatha Yoga can cure several diseases, and many doctors recommend it to help the muscles heal from injuries. It also soothes the mind and helps with depression and anxiety among other affections. Those are the therapeutic benefits. But the most important benefit is the spiritual one. Any exercise can increase your stamina, strength and flexibility and many medicines can cure diseases. But the union of body and mind is the one goal that can only be reached through Yoga, no matter what type you practice.
The benefits of Yoga
Renounce does not mean being easy going or let yourself be pushover. Renounce is accepting the things that can’t possibly be changed with a good attitude: is keeping your mind calm and not allow it to go crazy with thoughts. The important thing is keep your mind calm, not letting the outside alter your inside. You might be running, busy with your daily obligations, but your mind is calm and your soul is happy. That is what detachment means. “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions” The Dalai Lama