Help people to be flowing, and then you will come closer to the real yoga spirit…
A yoga teacher asks: sometimes when I listen to you speaking about yoga I get the feeling that I want to be flowing and I want not to be too tight… ]
Mm mm. You can be flowing even with yoga. Don’t be very rigid, help people to be flowing, and then you will come closer to the real yoga spirit. These rigid yoga teachers are not really yogis; they are just gymnasts. They themselves are rigid and they are trying to impose their rigidity on others too.
Help people to be alive, not rigid. Help people to be more flexible, flowing, adapting, human. Don’t make them into machines. It is not only a question of doing certain yoga postures. Those postures can be learned by any idiot easily; in fact if a person is an idiot he will learn faster. The question is not only of yoga postures; those yoga postures have to be used only for a certain life source inside, as a provocation. It should not become like an army drill; it should be more like a dance. Just keep that in mind and there will be no problem, and you will be of immense help.
Let yoga be a kind of dance; keep that quality in mind. Don’t be rigid and don’t try to force forms on people. Rather, help them to find their own dance. Each one has a different kind of body, and when you start forcing a certain form on everybody this is a regimentation. The form has to be used just as a jumping-board and then everybody has to find his own way to use it. Make your yoga more feminine and you will be of great help to people. That is a need that has to be fulfilled: yoga has to be taken from the rigid people.
In my new commune I am going to experiment with more flowing forms, with more freedom. Use Patanjali and his yoga postures as jumping-boards and then let everybody seek and search for his own form, his own being, for whatsoever he feels good with. The work of a yoga teacher is not to impose a certain discipline forcibly but to provoke the inner consciousness of the person so that he starts loving his body, so he starts playing with his body as if it is a musical instrument. It is!
Help the person to become aware of the mysteries of the body. There are infinite mysteries. Somewhere in your body a Buddha is hidden — he has to be discovered. From the lowest to the highest, all is hidden in the body; the body is a ladder. You can find hell in it and you can find heaven in it. Help people to search, to seek, become more aware and alert about their bodies, about their health, their well-being, their wholeness. This is true yoga. Form is immaterial… form is only a formality. Start teaching from the form but soon help them to go beyond form. And when they transcend form they will have infinite joy and freedom available to them. They will be grateful to you and you will also enjoy the work, because then it will not be just a dead routine; it will be more poetic. And you will also be able to explore new things.
Patanjali has not exhausted yoga; nobody can exhaust anything ever. But the Indian mind is traditional. Since Patanjali they have not developed Yoga at all; they cling to the form. This is stupid. There is no need to cling to Patanjali. Pay homage to Patanjali, he is a great pioneer, but there is no need to remain stuck with him; we have to search further. Patanjali was never aware of these bodies that are available today. In Patanjali’s time a totally different body and a totally different body chemistry was available. Things have changed: man lives longer now, man has developed more capacities in these ages, more potential has become actual, man is more intelligent. Man is more loving, more aware, alert. Each new generation is more intelligent than the previous one. We have to take account of all these things. Patanjali is just a beginning and a rudimentary beginning; it has to be developed, it has to be constantly developed.
Just think: if traditional people had stopped at Newton and they hadn’t allowed Einstein because they said ‘Enough is enough. Newton has done all’ — then what would the situation of physics be? But they did not. We are not going to stop at Einstein either — we are growing and growing. If after three, four, centuries Einstein comes, he will be surprised! So should be the case with yoga.
I am very happy that yoga is getting out of this country, moving into new cultures. There it is bound to take new forms — less rigid, more exploratory. The West has much to contribute to yoga as yoga has much to contribute to the West. It is very good that many things that have remained stuck and dormant in India are moving out. It will be good, because new people will start trying new things. New postures can be developed, new body rhythms, new breathing processes.
Think of it as an exploration. Don’t think in rigid terms. You are not just to be there like a school teacher. Then you will enjoy it. I will help you to be free of the rigidity and that will make you more and more in tune with truth.