Yoga is one of the oldest techniques that has been recorded or taught. It’s one of the most practiced forms of exercise, health, and spirituality. While at essence, there is great potential for benefit and deeper Consciousness through yoga, 99% of the yoga is coming from an old paradigm perspective. It is yoga based on limitation. No matter how many times a day, no matter how many hours one works with these systems or these techniques, one is still held to the perspective of limitation.
Well, maybe I should back-up a bit. In no way do I mean to imply that practicing hatha yoga is harmful. As it is understood and practiced by most of the world in the twenty-first century, yoga is light or rigorous physical exercise which develops muscles, flexibility, breathing, and awareness. It is good all-around physical exercise.
I should also make a distinction here. Historically, *yoga* is an all-encompassing activity. Is has only been in the last century with it’s commercial rebirth and propagation that its primary connotation has become postures and physical exercise. At heart *yoga* is any spiritual practice, meant to bridge the gap between human and divine. And “bridge” is key. Most often burning bridges is not best practice. In this case, when the bridge is crossed, after it has fulfilled its purpose and is no longer needed, the bridge may well burn.
So, the reason why most yoga practiced today is old paradigm is because it’s based on a codified system, a formula, rules. It’s based on right and wrong posture, correct and incorrect breathing. The flexibility involved is only superficial: e.g. the yoga instructor improvising a series of asanas on the fly. For most practicioners, yoga is glorified aerobic exercise (and they are happy with that). For some, yoga has the added advantage of a spiritual component, but I believe that they are in the minority.
So here is how yoga is different in the New Paradigm: yoga is life and life is yoga. The way I walk, stand, sit, and sleep, everything is yoga. I’m conscious of the muscles that are moving, conscious of my posture, conscious of my breath. I’m conscious of the steps that I’m taking and of the ground that I am stepping on. That’s just a normal part of life for me. I’m aware of the way my body feels, if it’s starting to feel tired or stagnant or stiff. I shift my weight, I move. I breathe. I stretch. I’m practicing yoga while I write a book. If I’m riding in a car I’m practicing yoga. If I am speaking in front of a crowd I am yogic. Whatever I am doing I’m aware of my body. I’m feeling my body. I’m listening to my body. I’m loving, respecting, and appreciating my body.
This is the foundation for true yoga. True yoga is the entire life rather than two hours three times a week. And true yoga comes effortlessly.
It isn’t codified, it isn’t based on a canonical set of postures executed in order, or even freestyle, not on any proper technique of meditation. It’s based on the Consciousness that our bodies know exactly what is beneficial and what is not beneficial. Bodies know exactly how to move, how to sit, and how to stand in ways that are beneficial and not beneficial. We don’t actually need to be taught based on any moves or techniques to become flexible or get strong. Our body is designed to naturally be that way and all we have to do is connect with that, tap into that, embrace and honor THAT. There again we see the essence of the New Paradigm: everything you need to know, from the blueprint of the functioning of your body to what foods to eat to the optimal way to accomplish what you are trying to do is already present within you NOW~*~
I am not saying “stop going to yoga,” or “stop exercising, stop lifting weights, stop jogging, etc.” I am pointing out that if you are the kind of person who wants to be healthier, wants to feel clear and great everyday, the place to start is within yourself, not by signing up for classes. If taking a yoga class brings you closer to the awareness of self, then that’s a great thing. But the class is only icing on the cake. Look no further than where you are right now to start getting to know yourself. You aren’t unhealthy because you don’t do yoga four times per week; you may appear healthy if you do take yoga four times per week, but your inner house could be in total disarray.
So it’s really important to look at form and formless here. In the old paradigm, people give their power to form. Their experience is based on form and virtually all yoga classes and books are talking about the form: learn this pose, learn this routine. And that’s not where the power of yoga is at all. That’s where the limitation of yoga is.
All form is formless first. All form is Consciousness manifest. Our bodies are direct manifestations of our Consciousness. Most people who are overweight or unhealthy, who are sick or diseased or trying to improve themselves in any way, they look for a new form. They try to change the current form by applying a new form. If you are trying to lose weight then start running, run on the treadmill, take a spinning class, etc. If you want to build muscle then lift weights, drink a protein shake, go to the gym. If you are unhappy in your relationship, ditch it and find another. The idea that changing the form, changing the relationship, changing jobs, or following the new diet will result in the desired transformation is fallacy. What you normally get is another crappy relationship, a boring stressful job, and another diet that doesn’t work.
In the New Paradigm we realize first that everything is formless. And so the sickness, the disease, the excess weight – it isn’t really happening because you don’t get exercise, it’s not really happening because of the foods that you’re eating. Not getting exercise and the foods that you eat are the manifestations, the RESULTS of your RELATIONSHIP with self, your relationship with the world, your relationship with your body.
So the way that this formless New Paradigm perspective applies to yoga is, if you are trying to be healthier, rather than looking for a new routine, a new system, a new formula, new poses, new movements, come from the formless perspective which is connecting with the body, listening to the body, feeling the body, loving the body, respecting the body, being in a place of intimate communion with the body.
To read more about existing in full awareness and communication with your body, and about health in the New Paradigm, check out Quinn’s book “Full Spectrum Health.”