Inner Yoga - Yoga of Nature
What is Inner Yoga and how is this related to enlightenment
Sri Vast, you have also developed a kind of practice which you call Inner Yoga. What is Inner Yoga and how is this related to enlightenment?
Guruji Sri Vast:
See, enlightenment is not becoming something. Enlightenment is returning to your natural state. The more you become natural, the more you become part of the whole existence, to respond.
I am not saying you are not natural. You are part of the existence. Physically you are a part of the existence, but you are not necessarily responding there. For example, you may have a component in your computer which has no function. You don’t like to have such an unnecessary thing there. When you are not natural you become a component in the existence without any natural function.
See, everyone, you, me, this tree, and the grass, has a function. It is not just an accident. If you remove all the coconut trees from the planet, something will be missing; the planet will not be the way it looks now. If you remove all the elephants from the planet, the planet will not look the same way as it does right now. Everything has its own function. And when we are not connected we are refusing, we are denying that natural function. We are trying to do something else.
If we remove all the coconut trees and replace them with plastic coconut trees then something will be missing in the eco-system. Some function of this tree will be missed and will not be there because the coconut tree is not independent, it is dependent. The ecosystem which is around this tree will also miss this coconut tree. It is an interrelated relationship. When we replace that living tree and put a plastic tree, the function is not there anymore. The function is missing.
It is the same with the humans. When we are not natural we are denying our natural function. We are even excluding ourselves from the whole existence. Physically we are here, like a plastic tree, but we are not necessarily responding to the nature, to the system. Everyone is trying to know what their purpose is. You can hear people saying, “I know I have a better purpose”. Everyone is trying to find their better purpose instead of finding their natural function. You are here; you exist as a being and that in itself is a function. But you have so many ideas about how you are supposed to function. That is denying life.
If the coconut tree says, “I would like to have mangos instead of coconuts”, it is denying its natural purpose. Or, “I would like to have coconuts, but square coconuts“. It is confusing its own function. It is important to understand: we are all part of this whole and we ourselves are whole. Whatever world you see, it is not something different than what you are. The whole existence is you.
Inner Yoga is meant to make you realize your natural state of being. The more you come closer to your Self, the more you come closer to your natural state. When you reach your natural state something is happening between you and the nature. When you walk in the forest, something is happening between you and this tree. You are able to sense it, be part of it. You become part of this wholeness.
We have senses but we are not sensing. Inner Yoga is meant to open up your senses so that you can sense the life; you can sense what is going on in this moment. There is a connection between you and this moment naturally without any knowledge or information. Normally what do we do? We sense, not through our senses, but through the information that we have, through the ideas that we have about things.
Inner Yoga is meant to liberate one self. It is there within everyone; the wild nature that is not explored. Inner Yoga stimulates you to open up your senses, to sense the life beyond any ideas. You become a child again. We are all individuals and to understand your individual uniqueness you have to allow yourself to be individual. I can say to everyone, “Raise your hand 60 degrees. It is good for you.” And 100 people raise their hand to 60 degrees height. This means I must see all of you as the same. Only with plastic plants is that possible, not with the living beings. I must consider all of you as coming under one category. You are 100 people standing and you are doing exactly the same particular exercise. You are all considered as one monoculture.
What are the differences between Yoga and Inner Yoga
Now You are talking about Yoga asanas. What are the differences between Yoga and Inner Yoga?
Guruji Sri Vast:
Yes, the differences. I don’t see that you are all a monoculture. I don’t see all of you as plastic, having only one function. I see everyone as an individual. I see your experience, your connection with this existence as a very unique connection.
So your practice must help you to become unique, help you to find your own natural rhythm. It should not force any particular method on you; then again you would become plastic.
Do you understand? Many traditions say that you have to do it like this. But if you don’t do like that, what will happen? Nothing will happen. So it is very important that your spiritual practice is helping you to become unique, to become yourself totally. Your spiritual practice is not making you like a monoculture. If you bend this way and tell this mantra then it is right, if you say another mantra then it is wrong. Who says? The one who sees right and wrong? Or the one who is free, the one who sees the uniqueness of oneself? Inner Yoga is mainly meant to explore one’s natural rhythm. When a person connects with their own natural rhythm they are able to connect with the natural rhythm of their surroundings. That leads to the liberation. The more you become natural, the more you will be able to sense, you will be able to interact with this life. Life is possible only when you can interact with it.
So the more you sense, the more there is an interaction between you and the life. Then you will see that life is more than your story that you carry. Life is a lot. Life is far beyond our knowledge, yet to be explored, and yet to be discovered. Every moment is new; something new is there to be discovered. You go on with that flow. When a person becomes more and more natural, then easily he enters into the state of liberation, into total liberation. You are not exotic; you are natural, wherever you are.
How can Inner Yoga help to reach liberation
How can Inner Yoga help to reach liberation and who can practice Inner Yoga, only yoga practitioners or is it for everyone?
Guruji Sri Vast:
Every word has its own associations, has it owns pictures. To understand the essence of the word you have to understand what you see when you hear that word. When you hear the word ‘monkey’, you see something is sitting in the tree. When you hear the word ‘car’, you see something with four wheels running in the street. Like that, when you hear the word ‘yoga’, what is coming to you? That is important to understand. Do you have a picture where someone is standing upside down or trying to twist like a rope? If that is the yoga you see that means you have to go deeper and learn more about what yoga really is. The Yoga is not twisting like a rope or standing upside down. Any person in the circus can do better than that.
It is not about performance. It is not about how to bring your ears to touch the knee but it is all about the freedom from the need of touching that knee; being free.
For me Yoga is life; living totally. The purpose of Yoga is nothing but reaching the state of the yogi, reaching the state of Nirvana. Nirvana is the zero-ness, nudity, the state of the natural being. The state of the yogi is the one who lives naturally. The one who is not claiming, who is not clinging on to any traditions, or clinging to any past, the one who is not clinging to any particular practices either. It is the one who is just living without practicing. There, life is not separated.
We call it addictions. If a person says, “Oh I have to smoke, without smoking it is difficult for me, I can’t be restful.” Another person may say, “I have to go for running, without running it is difficult.”A person may say, “I have to breathe in a certain way, without that it is difficult. I have to do some asanas, without that it is difficult.” This is the question. That means without this particular practice you are feeling it is difficult. Without any particular practice you feel that you are not spiritual. You talk about making the person free from the addiction. Say you are smoking and you want to be free from this addiction, which means you are talking about stopping smoking. You are not talking about smoking all the time. Anything that makes you feel that without this your life is difficult, that without this you feel restless, or that you need this practice to become restful, that means you are finding a substitute to your restlessness. That means you are the prisoner of that practice. If you say without meditating half an hour a day you become restless, that means you are the prisoner of that half an hour. If you say without your guru you become restless, you are the prisoner of your guru. In that case I don’t see the difference between smoking the cigarette and the guru, because both you feel addicted to. Without this you can’t be yourself. Any practice that you believe, “without this it is difficult” it means that you are the prisoner of it. The liberation means here liberating from that prison, whatever it is. Even if you say that without praying to God you become restless, I say, “Liberate from that prayer” because that is haunting you and that is making you restless. It is the same thing with anything in the life.
When I hear ‘yoga’, I don’t see a person standing upside down. I don’t see a person who is demonstrating some postures. No, I see the life. I see a person who is free. I see a person who is naturally happy, who is not doing anything extra to be happy, who is not addicted to anything, and who is not having any friction, to prove or to compare. It is the state of freedom, the free person.
It is important to correct the picture inside your memory. When you hear the word ‘yoga’, you are not seeing a person twisting, but you are seeing someone who is in the wilderness, someone who is free, someone who is natural; someone who is not separated from the life. For me that is yoga. When I call it Inner Yoga, I connect with someone who is natural.
And why do I call it as Inner yoga? The Inner Transformation; to bring this connectedness a inner transformation is needed. When a person transforms their inner world, their outer world is also transformed. When a person connects naturally with himself, he is able to connect naturally with the life outside too. That is why I call it “Inner Yoga”. Inner Yoga: the Yoga which transform your inner abilities, the yoga which celebrate your unique existence.
Inner Yoga is not putting you into any certain identities; it is not putting you into any particular tradition, or condition. It is all about being who you are naturally. It is a language of love and compassion with one’s self and mother earth. It is a journey towards the newness of yourself. Try, you will experience it. Words cannot explain because experiences are individual and unique.
It is all about bringing your natural state back, getting your natural playfulness back and making the person to experience the multidimensional state of one’s self. You are here, at the same time you are also in the tree. You are here, and at the same time you are in this flower. That is the divine; the divine which is in everything. It is one. You are here and simultaneously you are everywhere. Since you got stuck in your identity, you are not able to experience yourself in other things, and you are experiencing yourself only in this identity. It is all about brining yourself to experience the multidimensional experience of yourself. It is about expanding our selves, expanding our relationships, expanding our experience of this existence. Life is happening only once in this way. Let it happen totally. There is no excuse not to be free!