The true goal yoga is to help us build a vehicle that will support us on our journey in search of self. You don’t want a leaky boat. Both the mat and zafu share one goal and that is to transcend, transform and transmute both body and mind. So your boat needs to be travel-worthy. I am not the body; I am not the mind. Yet, we will need both to be in their optimal state for our journey.
What is the true goal of yoga?
Actually, this question can be answered with the following metaphor. Yoga’s true goal is to lead us to a point where we discover we are both the potter and the clay. I didn’t understand this until I encountered Samkhya philosophy in the course of my search. Samkhya is the ancient, cosmic science and technology behind Ayurveda and yoga, and it’s worth knowing what we are made off – pakriti, purusha, pranas, tejas, ojas, doshas, gunas, buddhi, manas, etc. One will come to understand why a sound body and mind are so essential for our spiritual journey.
I started doing yoga in my teens when I picked up a book by Richard Hittleman. Much later I signed up for a class in Singapore which then led me to wanting to explore the source of this knowledge and practice. It took me first to Prashanti Kutiram, a yoga university cum ashram outside of Bangalore which then led me to Rishikesh to the Dayananda Ashram. It’s been quite a journey but what a journey it has been!
In my own experience of yoga, as in Raja Yoga (or, some call it Patanjali’s Yoga), I am truly both the potter’s wheel as well as the clay. My yoga sadhana is the power that turns the wheel and I, the lump of clay, is constantly being spun and shaped. Every time I get on my mat or zafu, I am allowing the divine to animate the potter’s hands while the creative energy that will help me to transcend, transform and transmute is likened to the water that the potter uses to shape the vessel. This vessel is both the body and mind. And this vessel must be capable of encountering the creative energy.
This is the true goal of yoga. To be made travel-worthy, so that one can transcend, transform, and transmute the body and mind from a shapeless lump of clay into a vessel fit for the divine work that ensues the moment we ask ourselves: Who Am I? Why Am I Here? What Is the Meaning of My Life? Not everyone needs to follow the path of the yogi but meditation is a must for this journey. But how can you sit properly if your body isn’t up to it? That’s why we need both the mat and zafu. One cannot be without the other.
And if you’d like to know more about Raja Yoga, please click on the photos below to hear it from the masters themselves. You might also want to check out what I have written about certain aspects of yoga that are quite essential to know especially the energy aspect. Cultivating a body that can hold, transmute and transform the energies is really important so remember always to listen to your body and what it’s telling you. Your body is very wise and the voice of your inner teacher will become stronger as you grow into your sadhana.
~ ॐ ~