Yoga Styles? Yoga Brands? Yoga Categories?

Mark Whitwell

Heart of Yoga

Our teacher Krishnamacharya described all the different yoga categories as belonging together as an integrated holistic approach to be adapted to the needs of each individual. He insisted that it was a wrong approach of Western thinking to split them apart as if they could be isolated from each other. For example he would say, “there is no jnana yoga (understanding) without bhakti yoga (love devotion). There was no bhakti yoga without hatha yoga (whole body intimacy with life). From these spring forth the natural yogas such as karma yoga (service), kriya yoga (purification) or siddha yoga (powers). They are practiced in a seamless easeful way according to each individual. It is the teacher’s role to help a student identify what is right for them according to age, health, lifestyle and cultural background. It is important to note that Krishnamacharya taught that hatha yoga was the principle means of bhakti and the practical way that the goals of bhakti, therefore jnana are obtained. Asana, which is hatha yoga, the non dual practice of direct intimacy with life he taught to be the first responsibility of a spiritual life because it is the sadhana (that which CAN be done to realize the ideals of faith.) It is whole body prayer to life from which all siddhis (powers of life) are spontaneously realized. Just like you cannot put your self to sleep willfully through effort (this only prevents sleep) you cannot attain the higher ideals of Yoga without this practical means of hath a yoga. It would be tantamount to trying to go to sleep without turning off the lights and laying down.

Inherent in this dialogue is the understanding that it is not appropriate to split Yoga into schools and styles or brands, which can modify standardized approaches, one size fits all, in the struggle to realize idealisms, the effort towards a future result. Such activity is the active denial of the perfection of life which is already obviously arising is each person, in the beauty and intrinsic harmony of all all life in and of the cosmos. Yoga rightly practiced is only participation in the given reality and not an attempt to get somewhere in the future. This is a very important point.

There is only one brand of yoga and it is Y Yoga. And that is you Yoga! the yoga that is right for you, designed perfectly for your individual unique needs, A body type age, health and your cultural background. We adapt Yoga to the individual, not the individual to stylized Yoga brand.

Hatha yoga is intimacy with all ordinary conditions, which spontaneously reveals and enables us to feel the source of all conditions. No matter what language of faith and devotion is used to express the beautiful ideals of “source or “God” or “absolute reality” hatha yoga is the universal means of them all. So when a person understands that their asana practice is the action of bhakti, it is meditation in action it gives them a lot of hope courage and fortitude amidst of the difficulties of life because it is tangible, something that can really be accomplished.

Mark Whitwell

Heart of Yoga

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