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Spiritual Straight Talk

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February 2005
Spiritual Straight Talk

Q. YOGA IS SUCH A BROAD DISCIPLINE. CAN YOU HELP US UNDERSTAND THE VARIOUS PRACTICES OF YOGA, SPECIFICALLY WITH THE BREATH THROUGH PRANAYAMA?

Sadhguru: If you want to move into a higher level of consciousness, a higher level of awareness, you must prepare your body, your mind and your energy. The fundamental principles of yoga prepare and mature your mind in a certain way. Yoga asana helps you prepare the body to receive higher levels of energy. Pranayama intensifies and directs your prana, the vital energy linked to the breath. Pranayama will make you feel more healthy active and alert, but that's not the end of pranayama.

Pranayama is a powerful practice that can slowly and naturally move you into a higher level of experience. It is a tool that can transform your very experience of life. Pranayama can take you beyond the physical limitations of the body in order to realize a deeper inner dimension. Pranayama is a complete path to self-awareness.

Pranayama is one of the eight limbs of yoga: yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadi. The first two are dos and don'ts for a beginner, more like a simple moral code that will assist one's growth. Many people think yoga is only about asana. Asana is about the body. The body is a big faction for people ? it rules them in many ways. If you don't keep your body in a certain level of health and vitality it will not allow you to think beyond the small realities of the body. Suppose your leg is paining - it doesn't matter if I talk about enlightenment or God, the only thing you will ask for is relief of your leg pain. The body has this kind of power over you. So yoga asana is not just for fitness ? it helps prepare the body to move from a grosser level to a subtler level.

Similarly, a person's energies can be gross or subtle. See, right now, if you look at the creation ? today modern science proves to you beyond any doubt that the whole existence is one energy. The same energy is lying here as mud, the same energy is crawling like an ant, the same energy is standing up as a tree and the same energy is here as human beings. The energy you refer to as God is also the same. It is the same energy manifesting itself in different ways. So from the grossest level to the highest level, the energy has moved. The lowest one you call as physical substance or inanimate things; the highest you refer to as god.

The whole process of yoga is to cultivate your energy; to make it subtler, subtler and even subtler so that you go from being just earth to becoming divine. If transforming your energy to the subtler planes within yourself can happen, your body has to cooperate, your mind has to cooperate, your energies have to cooperate. Otherwise it won't happen.

That is what is being done through the practice of pranayama. You will see within six months of pranayama practice, you will be a subtler human being than what you were, in every way. You will feel and experience life with much more sensitivity.

Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is an international spiritual teacher, author and authority on yoga, with profound spiritual and cultural insights on health and human values. He will be in Atlanta in February. For details and schedule, see "Events Calendar" in this issue.

Send your questions for Sadhguru to Isha Foundation, 10 Belcaro Circle, Nashville, TN 37215 or email: info@ishafoundation.org


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