How to Learn Yoga Poses?
1. What is yoga and what is the role of asanas in yoga? What do we seek to achieve through yoga?
Sadhguru: Yoga is not an exercise form as is commonly misunderstood today. “Yoga” literally means union. Modern science proves that the whole existence is just one energy – but you are not experiencing it that way. If you can break this illusion that you are separate, and experience the oneness of existence, that is yoga. To lead you towards this experience, there are various methods. Asanas are one aspect.
There are other dimensions to this, but to put it simply, if you observe yourself, when you are angry, you sit one way. If you are happy, you sit another way. If you are depressed, another way. For every level of consciousness or mental and emotional situation you go through, your body tends to take certain postures. The converse of this is the science of asanas. If you consciously get your body into different postures, you can elevate your consciousness. Understanding the mechanics of the body, creating a certain atmosphere, and using the body to drive your energy in specific directions is what yogasanas are about.
2. There are several yoga gurus offering yoga teaching certificates. But in its true form, how is procedure of becoming a yoga teacher
Sadhguru: Yoga is a subjective technology, not an objective technology. Whether someone comes for relief from backache, or to explore mystical dimensions, initially, we teach the same thing because it is the change in subjectivity that makes the same device do different things for different people.
So, when something is placed in your hands that is far more profound than you are able to grasp right now, it is important that you keep yourself in a certain way – the person sitting in front of you is a more important life than yourself. This is known as upasana. Upasana means you are not sitting on the main seat, you take a side seat in your own life within yourself. For one who wishes to impart yoga, the most important thing is to stand aside – to be there but to stand away. If you can do this, then dimensions beyond your understanding and experience will open up. And this is a great blessing because if you can do something way beyond yourself, that is the greatest thing for any human being.
3. Today, there is social media, YouTube and other mediums that teach yoga while the viewer sits at home. Is it safe to pursue yoga in such manner?
Sadhguru: Yoga needs to be handled in an extremely committed atmosphere because it is a tremendous tool for transformation. If something has the power to transform, it also has the power to cause damage if mishandled.
However, there is something called upa-yoga, which gives you physical and psychological benefits but doesn’t touch the spiritual dimension. Upa-yoga does not demand that level of commitment nor does it cause any problem if you do it improperly because you cannot do it improperly – it is very simple!
In Indian vernacular languages, the word upayoga, has come to mean something useful, but actually it means sub-yoga or pre-yoga. This can be learnt in five minutes. You can practice it anywhere and the benefits are quite immense. Upa-yoga is a safe way to take yoga to the world large-scale. Once people experience the benefits, they will naturally seek yoga in a more serious manner, and that is when yoga should come into their lives.