Yoga really isn’t about stretching. It isn’t about stretching “with the breath,” either. You might well ask, “Well then, just what is yoga?” Yoga is a complete science of self-transformation leading inexorably towards the experience of union with the Absolute.
The experience of union, or samadhi, is the only real yoga. I’m sorry to say, most all yoga teachers today have not experienced spiritual Samadhi (just look up samadhi on the internet and read about it) much less do they actually meditate, and unless they read this, they might never. The more and more people getting certified in 200 hr “teacher” trainings in yoga is just making the ability to find a real teacher that much harder and most likely impossible.
Among the rare handful of teachers who have experienced this state of union or absorption, most accept students under a backwards and (by today’s standards) abusive economic model. In that feudal economic model of pre-industrial India, China, and Tibet, you pay the master’s bills, feed him, and protect him for about 30 years, while diligently practicing a few watered-down techniques he gives you, and then, after 30 years, if he likes you, he gives you the secrets you could have mastered 25 years before, if shown the way…
We live in an age of information. Spiritual techniques are the only ones still stranded in the agrarian age.
For thousands of years, spiritual aspirants have groveled at the feet of their teachers, begging for scraps of the secret techniques that will bring them the Realization and abilities of their masters.
Your not gonna learn anything from a book either. You see, their authors are “in the dark” too! How can someone write about something they have not experienced or walked the path of? But this is what we have with the online journals and articles as well as the books in mass distribution. All the vedic sciences need a guru, that is a teacher that has the experience as well as the wisdom to guide the aspirant along their personal journey. The relationship is a personal one, not available to a student that is one in a thousand either, there needs to be a personal relationship for true transformational progress.
Yoga should give you a stronger, healthier body, clarity of mind, and, if taught and practiced properly, it should give you the experience of samadhi. If you’ve tried yoga and never got anything more than good stretch and some relaxation, then all you learned was the external exercises. If that is all one wants though, there is an over abundance of that available. Just get any book that is of the ones available in every book at Barnes and Nobles, Borders, and Amazon.
You see, anyone promising you a magic “pill” to enlightenment is just taking your money (or your freedom). For the very rare few, yoga (Samadhi) may occur spontaneously. But for most, yoga can take some serious practice. The nice thing about tantric hatha, kriya, and laya yogas (the real three forms), is that they can be a lot of fun… a great “ride” on the way to having a tranquil and all- encompassing experience of reality…
It is hardly understood about rooting and eating grounding foods after intense practice people find themselves with many symptoms. If you do not pay attention to your body, you may end up passing out during or after meditation. If you have no base or foundation built, no strength – physically and mentally , no understanding of actually how pranayama works – you will not be able to handle the prana. You can become very scattered, and both physically and psychologically unstable – resembling someone high on drugs like LSD or DMT.
By rooting, you can be simultaneously aware of your inner and outer reality. There is balance. You can still remember where you parked your car. You still have the ability to go to work, talk to people, and cultivate a healthy life and relationships. Most people that reach any stage of progress get lost in the ungroundedness that makes them seem pretty out there to the rest of the world. This leads to disease as Vata (in ayurveda) is imbalanced, not in balance.
People think that to be a yogi you must be really skinny, forsake your job or family, or do ridiculous, extreme practices like burying yourself up to your neck in dirt or fasting for weeks on a grain of rice a day, etc. No. Be Practical! Eat clean food and cooked. The health and stability of the physical body as well as the stability of the mind is intimately connected with the proper digestion of foods. Raw food is vata provoking and extremely hard to digest. It is not a yogic diet as has been portrayed in the West. Look for a healthy balance of fresh vegetables and proteins. If you need to ground yourself more, eat some nuts, eggs, or urad dahl (black gram). Just make sure you have the digestive capacity to digest it. If you really have a problem with rooting and have access to healthy and clean meat, eat it! If your body occasionally needs the strength and the proteins of meat, by all means eat it! Yogis realize that everything they do, inside and out, is an offering to the Divine. Be mindful of your food as you eat it. Even if you eat other beings, be they plant or animal, not only are you taking on karma but you will give karmically in other ways.
Remember you must cherish your body and take care of it properly. It is your vehicle for mundane life, and for spirituality too!
Most Tibetan monks and Taoist masters who have enlightenment and have real internal power eat whatever they want. It is not healthy nor truly spiritual to deprive yourself of things you may truly need. If you are healthy as a vegetarian, eat vegetables.
If your body needs meat, eat it! Ironically, prepared vegetarian and “healthy” foods are frequently less valuable to your body. So eat fresh and cook for yourself.
Whatever your dietary preferences, eat fresh foods that you prepare yourself whenever possible, and eat a well-rounded, varied diet of foods traditionally eaten in season. This is difficult today with the agriculture being as it is and every fresh fruit or vegetable is actually harvested way before it is actually ready to harvest. This is the benefit of farmers markets if you have one near you.
Sometimes the ascetic, arbitrary diet rules of cultic yoga systems, combined with their imbalanced techniques, actually create Kundalini syndrome in followers. Kundalini Syndrome is an imbalance. People with chi sickness and weak physical bodies tend to have very poor ability to root their energy, and tend to act completely ungrounded. They tend to be blissed out and not in any reality, just high like a junky. When around people who really have Kundalini open (or have lots of Prana / Chi), unrooted people feel dizzy, light headed, and they easily fall into trances. Throughout history, many so-called masters have abused this to keep a large group of followers “ High” off of the prana, addicted to “the juice.” These ignoble gurus never teach their students the necessary safety measures to ground themselves and integrate their cosmic experiences with their daily life. So the students stay in an ashram in India, completely closed off and isolated from the outside world, growing green sprouts in a cave, and forking over all their hard earned cash to someone else to guide their spiritual experience. This is not the way! You have the power to discover the truth about your energy and your personal relationship with the Macrocosm!
Kundalini Syndrome can be easily prevented and remedied by following the proper techniques yes, the techniques are of utmost importance contrary to the vast belief we find in yoga today that everything is everything and no techniques matter. Ignorance is bliss until it turns into disease.