Manas-The True Essence of Yoga
The 'Aasanas' are the perceptible part of Yoga. In our quest to perfect the Aasanas at time we lose the true essence of Yoga that is elevating or directing the Manas (Mind) to meditate with the intent to merge with the 'Param-Aatma'.
In my initial days I was enamoured with mastering the Aasanas. There were and are some Asanas that I have not been able to perfect them to my satisfaction. However I pursued with a single point of focus to get it right. In the process lost sight of the 'Big Picture' - 'Manas - Param-Aatma'. This I realised much later.
I met a Yogi in Mysore while climbing the Chaamundi Hills. In conversation with him, he mentioned he does 4 Asanas and 13 Surya Namaskaras each day; each Asana lasts about 5 minutes. Once in the final position of an Aasana the 'Manas' moves from the physical (Aasana) to the subtle (Meditation) . In effect each Aasana concludes with Meditation on the Brahman - Formless and Timeless. From the very next day I started following the Yogi's advice. This was the tipping point in my pursuit of Yoga.
To the readers, I suggest reading the commentary on Kapila's Saankhya philosophy closely and understand the gross and subtle body aspects. This knowledge is essential to understand and experience Yoga.
In my next article I will write a short article on 'Saankhya' philosophy.