￼[“The Essential Skills of Yoga” is an ongoing series aimed at both the beginning and advanced practitioner looking at fundamental techniques of the physical and spiritual practice of the mind/body path of yoga.]
How do we relate the spiritual practice of yoga to the physical practice? If yoga is a spiritual endeavor, how does care for the body fit into the path?
Hatha yoga, or the “forceful yoga”, was originally devised as a technique to use the body as a vehicle to acheive spiritual realization and liberation. According to the sages of this tradition that began in 15th century India, by using certain physical postures coupled with breathing practices and cleansing techniques, the body can be purified to the extent that it literally transmutes into an immortal diamond-like substance that becomes the perfect vehicle for the spiriual transformation that will allow the practitioner to transcend the continual cycle of life, death and rebirth. Such goals seem beyond the reach of us normal human beings with everyday lives of work, recreation and relationships, but within the lofty aspirations of these ancient masters lie certain basic principles that can apply to and benefit all of us. (more…)