"Yoga Yes, Yoga No" -- Physical Asanas Are Not Enough Because You Need to Accomplish Chi Stage Kung-Fu and Higher
After trying to get them interested for years, my friends are all of a sudden "Hot on Yoga." Great! Fantastic!
Is yoga good for you?
Should you practice it?
Yes, of course -- simple stretching, and particularly yogic stretching is great for keeping in shape, exercising, and eliminating back pain. In fact it's been proven to help eliminate back pain!
Can it help you get the Tao?
Well, now we have a problem. I have never seen or heard of anyone getting the Tao because of yoga. From yoga with breath practices and meditation, or from meditation and yoga, but not just from yoga alone. Not just from physical stretching.
You see, the physical part of yoga has to do just with the physical body. It is a type of spiritual practice only when you combine it with meditation but without that meditative component, it's just stretching, like Pilates. In fact, I even think it's better than Tai chi, often called yoga in motion, because if you have restrictions in your muscles or movements, you're always going to do the forms of Tai chi or other martial arts incorrectly, yet with yoga done properly you'll open up those restrictions and get rid of them. With martial arts, if the muscles are too tight you can just keep repeating the same mistake over and over again.To me, yoga is superior than many martial arts unless your limbs are already open and limber.
I've seen many yoga and yogic breathing instructors over the years and you know what -- no chi!
That's right, I've seen 20-year olds from India and people who have practiced yoga extensively for 30 or even 40 years and if they didn't meditate then they had no cultivation chi whatsoever, no matter how much yoga they practiced. In fact, I met one man who spent nearly two celibate years in a special Indian monastery where they only teach advanced yogic pranayama breathing practices and at the end of that period he could do all sorts of breathing practices, and move his chest muscles in all sorts of amazing ways, but he had some of the dirtiest chi we had ever seen.
Same with Indian yoga instructors who don't meditate! Yoga is not going to clear you of dirty chi.
You see, there's nothing wrong with yoga, but don't think it's enough if you want to spiritually cultivate. And don't read my message here incorrectly. If you want spiritual progress, then no matter how you look at it it comes down to meditation practice. The requirement for spiritual progress is, first and foremost, meditation.
The same goes for pranayama breathing exercises and even qi-gong. They're useless without the practice of freeing yourself of thoughts, which is meditation. That's the only way you learn to let go of the artificial things that stand in the way of the Godhead, and that's the only way you make spiritual progress. Sure yoga makes you softer and more limber and maybe even calmer, but without cultivating samadhi so what? Don't call it spiritual progress.
Now don't take this the wrong way, mind you. Yoga is great, it's wonderful, but it isn't enough. That's the message. Even in China the martial arts teachers found out that their moving practice wasn't enough for reaching the Tao. They next had to go to breathing practices, then internal energy practices (chi cultivation), and then finally to mind practices. They always ended up spending all their time in meditation, but after they had laid their foundation with yogic practice. Yet don't use THAT as an excuse to practice for 5, 10 or even 30 years without ever getting started at meditation.
Frankly, it all comes down to the mind.
Well, what about bodywork?
Bodywork is a way to get yoga stretching results in warp speed time. For instance, years ago one body worker friend of mine was visited by a famous Indian yoga master who practiced for several hours a day. He came to be Rolf ed (there are much better alternatives now) and when my friend said there was no reason to come because she felt there was nothing to do for him, he replied, "You don't understand, every session with deep bodywork is like doing a year of yoga practice, that's how effective it is."
So yes you can get lots of the benefits of yoga through bodywork sessions, but even then, body workers tell me that the results of their efforts will disappear after 6-9 months if you don't keep the released areas open and stretched ... or unless you meditate. As one body worker said when he worked on my teacher, "Gosh, his tissues are as soft as cotton" and yet because of his martial arts training, he could also make his muscles as strong as steel at will.
So we're back to yoga once again.
Folks, take up yoga. It's wonderful. It's good for you, BUT IT'S NOT ENOUGH. As I said, every single yoga teacher and master I've ever seen had absolutely no chi -- just a flexible body. If you really want to tread the pathway to Tao and spiritual progress, do the yoga practice for your body, for your health, for your sanity but there's no way you can make progress without your everyday hourly meditation practice.
Get to work!
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