Yoga & Its Physical Aspect

by Ruchita Tripathi Upadhyay

Generally two statements are quoted about Yoga - 'Yoga controls and balances the body' and 'Body controls and balances Yoga' Both are parallel statements and both are true. An exhausted body, where the energy level has reached a low ebb, gets revitalized with energy and enthusiasm after following the discipline of Yoga. Yoga rewards its followers by carrying them to the transcendental stage – 'Samadhi' the destination which every person who practices Yoga looks for. On the other hand the body is also equally important. Great poet Kalidas has said very appropriately in his famous book 'Kumar – Sambhava' about body :-

“Sharirmadham khalu dharma sadhanam”

Without having a capable body no practice or religion can be done or followed. Whatever you want to achieve – physical gain or spiritual gain, it can not be acquired through an incapable body. Physique plays an important role in one's personality as it affects its several facets. Firm resolutions or noble thoughts can not be inculcated in a battered or incapacitated body. Rishis of Atharavaveda use glowing terms in praise of body. Respectful adjectives like Ayodhya, 'Hiranayaxi Puram', 'Aparajitam' and 'Amritavritam (a place full of nectar) have been used for body. Whether you want to enjoy the world or seek salvation, capabilities for both will have to be developed in the body itself.

In 'Sadhana' marg when the devotee becomes repeatedly unsuccessful in attaining the desired 'Sidhi' he starts blaming his sensory organs and starts punishing these. This is highly undesirable according to Vedic mantras. These mantras warn us that this is not the way of finding the solution. On the contrary it is like moving from darkness to dense darkness. By punishing the body or the sensory organs, you can not get rid of your woes, you will only be indulging in repugnant conduct. We can not run away form our body or senses. These are not illusions but realities. They are our friends not foes. They can be controlled by attending to them with affection, patting and not by condemnation.

Being hurt by his disciples' disdainful neglect of 'indriyas' (sensory organs), these have been declared as comprising of divine elements which need protection and conservation by a Rishi in Upnishada. The same Rishi of Upnishada has mentioned that 'Agni' has entered as voice in month, 'Vayu' as sight in eyes, 'Dishas' as hearing in ears, 'Anna, Aushadh & Vanaspati' as body hairs in skin, 'Chandra' as mind in heart, 'Mrityu' as 'Apaan' in navel and 'Jala' as seminal fluid in penis. The purpose of such a declaration by the Rishi is that each sensory organ of the body represents one or the other deity and these should not be subjected to neglect. All such behavior which makes the sensory organs weak, incapable or damaged prematurely should be treated as acts of violence. Yoga is the opposite current of violence. Surprisingly whosoever enters into the ambit of Yoga is neither intolerant to his sensory organs nor to the society. His sense of liability is awakened which channelises the regressive forces for constructive purposes. This awakened sense is the starting point for the destination of self-perception.

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