Yoga, being both a science and art, is applied to the lifestyle of those who sincerely embrace the principles philosophy that provides us with a fund of knowledge that is unique. The essence has been transmitted through the ages and in India, through the Vedic teachings that prescribe ethical conduct as the first step. All that remains is for us to have the wisdom how to apply the wealth of knowledge that we have accessed, in a manner that satisfies us completely as a personality, soul and spiritual being.
It is commonly understood that Yoga practices aim for physical and mental fitness. The physical disciplines that promise good health, vitality and freedom from disease are reasonable, yet more complete than the rules we were taught regarding body care. However, each is free to adopt any extra internal hygiene methods that seem to offer benefit, or to refine our body by rejecting any flesh foods, artificial chemicals and any other disciplines as we choose.
However, with the yogic philosophy that teaches the unity of all life and offers a methodology to prepare our minds and senses to experience this as a spiritual reality, comes some personal effort. We must improve ourselves by exercising our bodies, emotions and our minds in readiness to embrace universal life – the Allness that has many names, but none that are grand enough.
Having put the stretching and extensions principle into practice with our bodies that have become freer, more supple, stronger, and our emotions similarly free of petty strife, fears and antipathies, we are well on the way to our psychological preparedness for expansion of our consciousness.
We must however, learn to take enough control of our minds so that our thoughts are also supple, free and generous, free of anxieties, prejudice and of ideas that burden us and inhibit us from realization of truthful new state of mental awareness as fitting companion to our expanded feelings of the heart.
The yogi applies self culture as well as taking an interest and respecting the wisdom and culture of his country and its knowledge of natural sciences, both past and present. These include many subjects often considered in the western world as ‘fringe’ or ‘alternative’ studies. In India however, we find them advanced in what we call palmistry, psychic studies of the aura and chakras, astrology, subtle value of gemstones, physiognomy, homoeopathy, oxygen therapy, aromatherapy, and the deeper psychology that includes the soul. In these studies and sciences they are far ahead of us and have much to offer to complement western science.
In spite of the encouragement to be as expansive as possible in our lives we are reminded to seek our intuitive centre at the heart of our being to help us determine our way of life and find our balance and the inner wisdom and can anticipate new excitement in completing our relationship with Nature and natural law.