Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Yoga is a technique which unites the body, mind and spirit. Yoga relieves you from stress and tension. It is stress that causes weakness, anger, jealousy and all the negative emotions. When you get rid of stress using breathing techniques, meditation and some simple exercises, it helps your body and mind and creates a sense of well-being and happiness from inside. If you’re well and happy you will not be violent. When someone engages in violent activity, know that behind the violence there is anger and frustration. Yoga is uniting; uniting the small mind with the big mind, bringing harmony between body, breath and mind. If the body and the mind are not aligned then it is not Yoga. In Yoga you bring them in harmony. We have all done yoga as kids.
A child would have done all the yoga asanas by the time it is three. You don’t need a yoga teacher if you observe a baby. The way a child breathes is different from the way an adult breathes. Breath is the link between the body and emotions and by attending to the breath you are able to soften the emotions and get rid of negative ones. Being a yogi is becoming like a baby again. Similarly, all animals also do some asanas. A yogi is one who is connected with the infinity; connected with everybody.
He doesn’t feel isolated with anyone, at anytime. Yogi is one who is skilful, one who is flexible. Some people have a very flexible body, but their minds are very rigid. A rigid person is not very palatable. He cannot communicate properly and is not open to new ideas. A yogi is one who is not rigid but at the same time is not very wishy-washy; he is very straight forward. He has strength, yet is soft. He has innocence, yet depth in wisdom. He is childlike, not childish. He has a simplicity, yet is wise. A yogi is sensible and sensitive. Often people who think they are very sensible are not very sensitive, and people who are very sensitive are not sensible at all! A yogi is a perfect combination of sensibility and sensitivity.
Yogi is one who is loving, yet very centered. Often people who fall in love lose their centeredness, and people who are very centered, they don’t seem to be radiating love. A yogi is the perfect combination of head and heart; being centered and at the same time being very loving. You can assign all ideal characteristics to a yogi because a yogi is one who is connected to the Self, connected to the universe, connected to everybody; because everybody is connected. The knowledge of yoga is vast like an ocean.
The practice makes you ready to know the higher truth. If you are miserable, it takes you out of your misery. If you are very restless, yoga brings you that equanimity. It also helps you to attain skills that you do not have, because it is action which brings you happiness or sorrow. And if you are skilful in action, then your action will bring you happiness. So which way is your yoga way?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar