Philosophy of Yoga

The term yoga is an ancient one deriving from Sanskrit, originally from a proto-Indo-Iranian word yáwgas (team, yoke) and even more archaic proto-Indo-European word yewg (to join, yoke, tie together). When the common westerner hears the word yoga, he/she is likely stricken by visions of skinny, stretching, robed monks, silently posturing in abstract positions. What many do not realize, however, is that yoga applies to many different techniques, practices, and traditions. Additionally, many people practice yoga without being conscious of it, as it is more associated with purpose and action than it is with pure movement. The technical definition of the word means “a spiritual practice or teaching that aims to master the body, mind, or spirit.” In this context, anyone with extreme mastery within these fields of life is a practitioner of yoga, as long as this practice is intended and directed towards the positive development of mind, body, or spirit.

One could say that some sort of belief in the divine must be associated with this practice, as material mastery and purely mechanical operations do not seem to qualify as yoga without a higher purpose which one practices yoga in honor of. Mastery without purpose is near worthless, and likewise, purpose without a form of mastery is fantasy.

The channels or techniques of yoga are endless in spectrum, as one can do many things, such as the classic forms of stretching and meditation we commonly associate with yoga and yogis. Martial arts, physical exercise, hiking, art, music, crafting, writing, and most forms of creative or conscious repetitive action are all forms of yoga. If the action is meant to help the operative transcend or control body and consciousness, then it is fair to say that it would fall under the loose definition of the word yoga. In a way, every act in life could be considered yoga, if applied to them sacred and divine context.  

Yoga, through a resurrection and travel through linguistic history, appears to have a common theme in joining together, bringing into union, or “yoking.” Through this union, which could very well be seen mirrored in the alchemical schools of the west, creates, manipulates, and masters man’s position in the cosmos. The yogi, through yoga, connects, joins, and unifies intention and purpose into an action. He translates physical movement into a metaphysical act of devotion. If we look at the linguistic “criteria” for yoga, thus far, we can safely say that if our chosen practice aids in our self-mastery, our path of ascension or dharma, then we successfully practice yoga. If you achieve mastery over your technique, this is what it means to be a yogi.

Suffering, Fire, and Wellbeing

The avoidance of suffering shouldn’t be the end goal, contrary to what many Buddhists would argue. 

Times of suffering are opportunities that give us what we need; chances to break cycles, change habits, grow stronger, etc. while also giving us the (unfortunate) opportunity to completely give up, stall out and/or fail. Suffering is the great catalyst for change, the instigator of wisdom. Without suffering, mankind would not grow or change. 

To attach yourself to an end goal which jades you or completely removes you from suffering is to imply that growth comes to an end and suffering has a limit. This is a pipe dream mentality, because just as with knowledge, the more you learn, the less you know. This is the case with suffering, as the more you conquer it, the more you see it’s lingering presence in other people and the more you will strive to assist in the destruction of its grasp upon humanity.

The only way we could righteously practice an “avoidance” of suffering is if every single human being took it upon themselves to destroy, or rather, actively overcome their own suffering(s). By rooting out the cause of one’s own suffering, then one can consciously choose whether or not to participate in that which makes them suffer. Only then could the notion possibly be eradicated, as we would slowly and consciously move away from the negative connotations surrounding the concept. Suffering should be viewed as a “friction’ in one’s life, the same friction that births fire from sticks. Friction generates heat and heat creates fire/energy. This is a metaphysical fuel-source to the conscious individual, who can channel this in any direction he/she wishes.

Likewise, it opens the door to find new and more profound approaches to raise one’s sense of well-being. This well being must be found and cultivated internally, not produced by external means. If one wishes to feel a long-term sense of satisfaction in life, then one must spend their energy internally and renounce the addicting pleasures of material dependence. This is the road to achieving greater heights of the spirit.

Short-term pleasure must be sacrificed for the long-term gain; the short term being materialistic tendencies like consuming, hoarding, or anything solely connected to one’s externally gained sense of comfort. Well-being and comfort are to be found within oneself. If you create a sense of comfort and well-being within yourself, then it is untouchable, grasped and stored in the most secure way and form; an internal armor against external chaos.

Like the Nauthiz rune teaches, we are to instead channel this phenomenon into a certain metaphysical fire, a drive to conquer. We are, in a way, meant to seek out hardship for our own benefit; to cultivate, build, and reach the supreme Self within.

Become addicted to challenges if you want to reach the heights of the Immortals.