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Why is yoga so popular?

By Sadhguru Email By Sadhguru
November 2011
Why is yoga so popular?

There are many reasons; one thing is that it makes you realize some fundamental facts about yourself.

Once in a kindergarten school the science teacher asked the students, “See, if I stand on my head you will see my face will turn red because blood flows into my head, but that doesn’t happen when I stand on my feet. Why?” A little fellow said, “Because the feet aren’t empty.” Now you know the reasons why you do yogasanas; you stand on your head—it tells you.

Your body is like a barometer. If you know how to watch it, it tells you everything about you. Not the fancy things that you think about yourself, the real facts about you. Your mind is too deceptive. Every day it says a different thing about you. If you know how to read the body it tells you everything just the way it is, your past, present, and future, in a way. That’s why fundamental yoga starts with the body. First thing in the morning you stand on your head to at least know what is empty and what is full.

So why is yoga becoming so popular everywhere? Many other things come and go with changing fashions, but yoga has survived for thousands of years and is still picking up momentum. Even though it may be transmitted in a very rudimentary way and many a time in a much distorted manner, it still endures. Why? One reason for its growing popularity is the large scale transmission of education. We have more intellect on this planet today than ever before. So naturally as the intellect becomes stronger, people look for logical solutions to everything. The more logical they become, the more and more they become dependent on science and the outcome of science is technology. As the activity of the intellect becomes stronger in the world, more and more people will shift to yoga over a period of time and it will become the most popular way of seeking well-being.

How do you know whether your intellect or somebody else’s intellect is functioning or not? You think you are just super smart but somebody else thinks you are stupid. Maybe you are smart, we don’t know. So when it comes to your mind, you don’t know what it is saying. What your mind says might look very reasonable and straightforward to you. But somewhere else it may feel totally out of place. Especially when it comes to a dimension beyond your present level of perception, the mind is a horrible guide because it says different things, which makes you believe in things that don’t exist, and it makes you miss things which are right there in front of you.

This is the reason why yoga adopted a comprehensive way for approaching the spiritual process through the body, through energy, through breath, through emotion and of course through intelligence independent of the intellect because intellect always comes from perspective which is absolute for the intellect. So we learn to trust the body more. If you can simply look at this body as an instrument and learn to use it as an instrument, it will become a powerful instrument. It can tell you everything about what is here and beyond. Body is reliable, not the mind.

Your mind philosophizes. “What is the use of bending your body and doing all this nonsense? Is it going to take you to heaven and enlightenment?” Body never lies to you. If you develop this body, if you release this body from the identifications and attachments that you have created for it, if you just learn to drive it like an instrument, it is the most fantastic and most powerful instrument on this planet. The process of yoga is just towards realizing and retrieving this machine for your use.

Named one of India’s 50 most influential people, Sadhguru speaks before millions annually around the globe, including to prominent leadership forums such as the United Nations, the World Economic Forum, TED, and the World Peace Congress. From ground-breaking yoga programs to projects for rural communities and the environment, Sadhguru’s Isha Foundation (www.IshaFoundation.org), serves as a thriving model for human empowerment, which is reflected in the Foundation’s special consultative status with the UN. Designed to enrich every aspect of one’s life, Sadhguru’s introductory program, Inner Engineering Online (www.InnerEngineering.com) now makes this distilled essence of yogic science available to millions worldwide.

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