What Is Authentic Yoga?
Yoga is a 2000 years old, all-accepting holistic tradition. It spans numerous ancient traditions. RightYoga seeks to preserve that invaluable heritage and wisdom.
“Yoga is not only about looking great. It’s more about being healthy and feeling great,” says our founder and former monk Sanjay C Patel.
SCIENCE BASED YOGA
Indeed, scientific evidence-based yoga – that means, yoga techniques that have been scientifically proven to be beneficial for your body, heart, health, and wellbeing – actually support the more holistic, gentle, therapeutic asanas together with the practice of breathing techniques, meditation, and a balanced diet.
Most of the twisted pretzel and deep bending postures have comparatively little health value and are simply gymnastics. They might help with some digestive maladies, but simpler postures could do that too. Additionally, the gymnast poses can lead to injuries.
YOGA REDUCES STRESS
Medically proven yoga is rarely about twisting yourself into a pretzel. It’s about untwisting the wound up mind.
The truth is that there are plenty of people in the world who are thin and flexible and yet are still in poor health. They’re stressed, anxious, have high BP, and are susceptible to strokes and heart attacks – and many other illnesses.
Yoga postures cannot help them much if they do not practice yoga’s breathing techniques, meditations, and holistic lifestyle.
A complete yoga practice is therefore holistic. It’s about body-mind-spirit. Yoga is not only a physical exercise. It is a holistic lifestyle and non judgmental worldview.
The physical postures of yoga comprise only 1 percent of yoga.
Yoga is 99 percent stillness of mind, self-control, self-awareness, compassion, healthy lifestyle, non-judgmental worldview, and spiritual enlightenment.
YOGA IS HOLISTIC
Though yoga is a holistic tradition encompassing body-mind-soul, it is primarily a spiritual tradition. It is actually body and mind in the service of soul.
Without achieving ‘stillness of mind’ (Yoga Sutra 1.2), establishment of the self in union (‘yoga’) with the true inner Self and devotion to God (Yoga Sutra 1.23), yoga can’t be called yoga. These are the definitions and goals of yoga as given by its ancient pioneers and carried on till present times. It’s a spiritual heritage as intrinsic as that of any faith such as Christianity, Islam, or Buddhism. It’s as simple as that.
Without this spiritual aspect yoga cannot be called yoga at all. Its postures are just skills any gymnast, ballet dancer, or ocean diver can do. It doesn’t matter how long you hold your breath or how ‘aligned’ your body – you can never be called the blessed name ‘yogi.’
In the cosmos of yoga, the term yogi is superior to any worldly medal you might receive. These medals are temporary and associated with your impermanent body. The term yogi is associated with your eternal, true self – your soul. It’s who you are.
YOGA ACCEPTS ALL YOGIS
Yoga is universal so yogis should be universally recognized. Yoga means unity and all yogis are one.
The exclusive admission of yogis who have graduated from certain schools – ‘registered’ or otherwise – schools which often don’t even have oversight – and the rejection of authentic yogis not from these schools is a narrow approach unreflective of the inclusive, all-respecting nature of yoga.
Yoga can be self-learned. In fact, this is ideal. In Sanskrit, yoga’s holy language, it is called ‘svadhyaya’ which means ‘self-study.’
Yet, some organizations only recognize yogis who have learned from yoga schools that have paid them large sums to be their members. As such there appears to be a conflict of interest and these schools often charge HUGE fees to yogis who need certification to teach.
RightYoga believes all this is antithetical to the genuine spirit of yoga which is non-greed or ‘asteya’ –a component of non-stealing. RightYoga believes all yogis should be eligible for yoga instructor certification. This should be regardless of where they learned yoga – from a yoga class, yoga school, a friend, online, or anywhere else.
WE ARE ALL EQUAL
In the true spirit of yoga, RightYoga embraces yoga instructor certification, registration, and promotion of all yogis, provided their practice is decent and they can provide visual proof via a video.
We are not judgmental about where they may have learned yoga.
In authentic yoga, there are no levels, only categories. This is because yoga is unifying, non-comparative, and non-combative. Therefore no yoga tradition is ‘greater’ or ‘higher’ than another. Even teachers are not superior to non-teachers. Nay, even yogis are not superior to non-yogis!
Why? Because on a fundamental level, everyone is a yogi. They just don’t realize it yet. Ultimately, yoga teaches us even to become our own gurus, our own teachers!
Yoga is not a competition. It’s not judgmental. It’s about becoming a healthier and better person who is enlightened – from whichever tradition, background, or faith you may come.
YOGA IS ABOUT HELPING OTHERS
Because others are us. We are connected to all. We are inseparable. Their joy is ours. Their pain is ours. So yoga is not only about self-growth. It’s about charity, helping others grow, and blessing perhaps even our ‘enemy’!
YOGA IS LASTING PEACE
Authentic yoga is only 1 percent what you feel while you’re on the mat. 99 percent of yoga is how you feel when you are off the mat.
Have you experienced that enduring transformation? Does the peacefulness and grace continue for the rest of the day?
If yes, you’re an authentic yogi, whether you’ve been practicing for a lifetime or just a month. And you belong in RightYoga – a community of the finest yogis in the world.