Are we meant to think of yoga as utilitarian?
Probably not, if you think of Classical Yoga, Patanjali’s yoga. He seems to recommend that we give ourselves to yoga to uncover our true selves.
That’s very different than me stumbling out to the Yoga Shed and doing yesterday’s Fatigue-fighting sequence so that I could feel energised afterwards. Or, as in this morning’s practice, doing abdominal strengthening yoga movements to tone my middle section. Which, unfortunately, following on the heels of The Amazing Meeting conference of last weekend, has increased slightly in girth even as it lost muscularity. (How do conference-goers survive? There must be advice out there.)
I guess this is the point of cultivating a meditation practice. In the highest expression of meditation, we don’t do it to calm the mind or cultivate special powers – but to just be. And, out of being, one’s essential self emerges.
I do do a little meditation, in that Higher Self spirit that I’ve just described, just a little. And, I love it.
But I also love how practical yoga is for my Lower Self, and that feeling of being trim and taut and energised.