On the International Day of Yoga

First get the true meaning of [yoga]: not joining two things, the soul and the body – that’s all nonsense – but to observe, to perceive life as a whole, as a total unitary movement. Because you see it as a whole movement you act non-fragmentarily. Therefore your relationship is total. Not my wife, my husband, my family, my children and all the rest of it, but complete, as a whole human being.

How is that to come about? Therefore they say you must breathe properly, etc., and perhaps that will then give you that. And then we get caught up in asanas. You exercise and forget the other, becoming lazy, self-centred. I am not saying you shouldn’t stand on your head. I do it. But that is not going to lead to the other. So when you see the importance of a life which is non-fragmentary, you won’t get caught in the asanas. You will do them, but you won’t be caught in them. Because by itself, doing asanas you might be terribly selfish and egocentric and lazy. — Jiddu Krishnamurti

Beyond the yoga industry, and the yogic entrepreneurship that is flourishing today, one must not forget its philosophical and ethical genesis. The fundamental text of Yoga, Patanjali’s Yogasutra says that “the transparency of mind” which is the purpose of Yoga comes not from the exercises:

मैत्रीकरुणामुदितोपेक्षाणां सुखदुःखपुण्यापुण्यविषयाणां भावनातश्चित्तप्रसादनम्।।३३।।

Tr: “The transparency of the mind comes from the development of friendship, compassion, joy and neutrality regarding the spheres of pleasure, pain, virtue and vice respectively.”

The exercises (the expulsion or retention of breath) are optional measures or instruments, which can help in bringing the transparency of the mind only if they lead to the moral development mentioned above:

प्रच्छर्दनविधारणाभ्यां वा प्राणस्य।।३४।।

The international day of yoga should be the day when we reflect if the competitive industry of yoga today has really led to the moral development of the new age Yogis and the society at large.