Understanding Yoga in the Modern-Day World
Classical, Modern, and New Age
There is a theme in all subjects as they come from their origin to modern day understanding and applications. The older the subject the more this seems to be true. It is simply evolution. Knowledge is adapted to present day understanding and needs. Is something lost? Or are the adaptations merited because the universe itself is becoming something fundamentally new? From the experience of many spiritual contemporaries it does seem that way. However, claiming to know what that fundamental nature is, how it’s changing, we might be supposing things just shy of the most base principles. The power of our own fundamental nature, conscious curiosity, is delving into itself and we are seeing that our awareness can be as expanded as the universe or open up whole cosmos out of a single point of interest in the infinite field of possibilities. Is it possible to skip over the faithfully employed practices right to the culmination of divine consciousness?
These are interesting questions. Let’s look closer.
In Line with Tradition
Classical Yoga offers myriad ways to clear the mind so that we can consciously experience a greater connection to nature and the higher planes of reality where we already exist in some form. Vedic prescriptions for an individual’s practice are highly specific, including, daily and prolonged pranayama, certain asana, regular meditation, certain foods, gods to worship, mantras to recite, and generally a very disciplined way of life. The asceticism forges an energy-mind system which is both more harmonious and stable in it’s own signature and more finely tuned to lighter vibrations. Foundational practice provides spiritual fortitude which prepares the sadhaka for the ramifications of existing in higher realms while maintaining their cool. Adepts inspire us and facilitate higher consciousness. They are one kind of great Yoga teachers.
The applications of these practices today range far and wide; weight loss, sex appeal, stress management, stimulating learning, increased physical prowess and coordination, rehabilitation, financial success, fame, etc. Are any of these things wrong? In my opinion, no. Under the heading of Yoga, these things will bring people closer to the experiences and facilitators of spiritual awakening. Too often I think we let ourselves become too critical of how fast everyone “wakes up”. This is not something that can be forced. Yoga going through an awkward puberty as it spreads across the globe is fine. And the transformation that’s going on with people around the world today happening much, much faster than the typical human adolescence. People need to be where there interest is.
“Let yourself be silenty drawn by the strange pull of what you really love, it will not lead you astray” – Rumi
What is the New Age? While some of us are feeling impulsed to emerge into a more spiritual
dimension of existence through our practice, there seems also to be a natural awakening of spirituality in more and more people. Without any particular prompt they suddenly realize things about their lives, their work, or their relationships and start making drastic changes. Some of them may get into yoga, some not. It doesn’t so much matter. In this age it is possible to develop oneself through the internal disciplines of mental control respective to each individual’s mind. Yoga practices can be discovered just as well as learned. Coming to learn a discipline such as Yoga is becoming more about the communal experience shared and raising consciousness for the earth as a whole and the human family. The more appropriate practice now might be in being each others’ inspiration and support for co-creating an enlightened society. Simple but wise actions can have influence that change the world. Our ideas are becoming easier to share and make a new reality of peace, compassion, and divine play!
About our Author
George Anthony is a yoga teacher and modern mystic that travels the world training teachers, likes diving into self expanding experiences, and loves to share good energy with all people. He’s the director of Sajeeva Yoga School, musician, artist, novice acrobat, acroyogi, cook, handstand master, and philosopher. Join the vibes! – www.sajeevayoga.com