How spiritual is todays yoga?

Modern Yoga Practice as an Integral Contribution to the Corporate World System

By definition, yoga means unity, union. Rishis in India have used yoga as a tool to find a way to reach enlightenment and the union with the divine in one incarnation. Yoga used to be a technique to gain a higher consciousness, to become more and more sensitive and to work on the internal and outward energy system.

I have been a very sensitive and psychic person for my whole life, turned my life into a quest for my own truth, into a strong commitment to contribute to flipping up this world to become more aware, more social, more whole-hearted and more environmentally conscious.

Most of the time, the road to a spiritual life style seems to start off in a yoga class in our modern Western world.

What most people allure to when saying “I am doing yoga” is asana sequences with a few minutes of meditation in the beginning at the end and maybe the three most common pranayama practice of nadi shodana (alternate nostril breathing), lion’s breath and kapalabhati (fire breath).

But is that yoga? Yoga teachers and some students know that yoga has many different styles and convictions but most importantly it’s all about the seven chakras, Patanjali’s yoga sutras comprising the yamas and niyamas, the bunch of mythical stories of gods and goddesses and healing. Okay, it is a way of healing. But healing what?

Yoga therapy is getting more and more spread around the world showing impressive results by adding physiotherapy like spiral dynamics and seems to help combating psychosomatic issues like eating disorders and trauma. Yoga helped. It did. It does.

But oddly enough, to me this kind of yoga is not enough. There is something missing.

This yoga that became normal to us just keeps people on their usual track and makes them able to function again or better in a system where multinational companies rule the world. It makes them calmer, more creative, more effective, healthier, more social – thus, the ideal team player and corporate employee.

In their holidays, high-positioned managers go off for ayurveda, yoga, massage, meditation and calmness to prepare for another 4 months of madness only to know that a retreat will make you recover again.

When I was still teaching vinyasa once I week I often didn’t know the students. Before we started, some students asked to reassure themselves that this is the “exhausting” yoga. So here ,I am trying to convey a good sequence, a few words that I find important to share, some easy breath work, my knowledge about anatomy and a superficial introduction into the energies when you do yoga. I am trying to subtly introduce them to the body energy layers and how many things go on there without you seeing it.

Most of the time I am torn between wanting to be friendly and using the language other people understand. On the other hand, I feel like needing to translate and then not being able to speak my own language. And that’s really exhausting.

Despite looking at psychology and emotions when we practice yoga and the many things you cannot see, I am missing the aspect of energy work and integrating the knowledge about subtle energies. What is really the goal of yoga if not being a spiritual practice? But is the yoga practice we have these modern times really a spiritual practice? To me it isn’t. So are we practising yoga? Are we practising unity? Are we practicing being one with the divine and becoming divine?

I am really challenging the yoga practice we see today.

How are we tackling the soul? We like to say the word prana, because most people are unaware that life force can also be another word for “god”. “Prana” doesn’t scare off anyone because to Westeners, it can just be a synonym for “energy”. We are practising a technique of energy activation without knowing how to handle these energies. Whilst yoga originally was about purifying all energy layers, increasing the light energy flow within the nadis (energy channels), and learning how to access other dimensions, yoga today is not teaching how to approach these anymore. So what is the spiritual part of today’s yoga practice? Chanting OM? Sitting still? Stretching and loosen up the fascia and all the stuck emotions? Yes, many teachers tackle the issue of presence and yoga being a meditative moving. Presence training is really really important. But it is just one of the steps towards consciousness. There is so much more. And actually the whole focus on calming the mind often leads to spiritual bypassing where people boycott their thoughts, wanting to focus on love and light, out of misconception.

Spirituality to me means to, first, know who you are and being able to access wisdom within. Second, it means to be aware of the subtle non-material elements and to be able to direct them and communicate on the basis of the heart. Third, it essentially is to become a connection and channel of the divine source and the planet you are incarnated on. Just imagine everyone to be connected and a channel of love. Just imagine to be able to access this divine wisdom within you. Just imagine you knew how to communicate with people without speaking.

Yogis in India before Pattabhi Jois and co could use their senses to space and time travel, heal, see clairvoyantly, connect telepathically and create material things from thoughts. Most postures, Mantras, Mudras came much later as an addition to make the body smooth and receptive in a world that has become denser and denser energy-wise throughout the past centuries.

So what are we practicing when we practice yoga today? Relaxing? Strength & Flexibility? Fascia Release? Psoas stretching? In those apparent “Chakra Flows” and “Chakra Workshops” nobody learns how to be able to control and direct energy. And do we know whether our chakras are still the same as 2000 years ago? I doubt that. So what subtle elements are there that we learn about chakras, besides their colour, what they represent, and that they exist?

Most yoga taught today is not enough for what we need if we want to create a new society that can think about the smartest innovations and acts for the common good. We need a revolution.

We need you to know yourself, to direct your energies like a master of intention-setting. We need you to be connected to your highest wisdom in order for you to act out of empathy and passion. We need you to live from the heart to start re-aligning with the elements and feeling for nature.

The usual Vinyasa Flow and Yin Yoga stretches a few times a week will change you in the way, that you will be healthier, probably more effective and happier. It might be the introduction to a different way of thinking. But this not what yoga has been designed for. It’s a wonderful side affect. When we try to avoid the spiritual side of yoga, we are not practising yoga.

It is you practising unity, being unity, and creating unity.