Can yoga change your life and by that, I mean radically change your life?
It is the practice of real yoga that changes your world view and expands your understanding of your true nature and your relationship to Creation.
I sometimes get in trouble because I call this fuller recognition of yoga, REAL Yoga. As a writer on Living a Yoga Lifestyle and a Guide to Yoga, how we teach yoga in the West has as its principal intention fitness and strength.
However, the true purpose of yoga is greater than the practice of different postures.
Real yoga is a road to profound self-fulfilment. It is an adventure of discovery. You reveal the splendour of who you are, why you are and what you are a part of, but never apart from.
Yoga is the journey from the self to the Self through the SELF—Sutras of Patanjali.
The distinction between Yoga as taught in the West is its focus on a shift in the personal self when REAL Yoga has as its focus the revelation of the TRUE Self.
Understanding REAL Yoga
To live a true yoga lifestyle that will transform your life, you need to:-
- Understand the term “yoga.”
- the expression “self” and
- the meaning of the word “Self” (with a capital “S”)
Yoga means “union.” It is the direct experience of union between the:-
- Personal and the universal
- Time with eternity
- Form with the Formless
- Experiencer with the Experience.
In reality, none of the above are ever separate from the other, but that is not most people’s direct experience.
Most of us are 100% identified with our personality. Many of us spend a lifetime pursuing self-improvement and self-development practices.
There is nothing wrong with this except that the true Yogi or Yogini recognizes the limit of this focus.
The Personal Self or False Self
The Mask of Personality
This may be the first time you have come across the term “The False Self.” The false self applies to you as your personality.
I recognize that this may not be very flattering. For some people this may be a turnoff. Another term for the false self is the ego. Do not judge the ego as bad, as it often appears in various spiritual teachings.
The ego or false self is a necessary part of the journey toward revealing the True Self. As the sutras of yoga state:-
Yoga is a journey from the self to the Self through the self–Patanjali Yoga Sutras.
Your false self is a way of moving into the True Self. Your personality is the way of moving into the transpersonal. As the mystic Rumi says:-
The dewdrop is in the ocean and the Ocean in the dewdrop – Rumi.
Living as the True Self
The True Self is who you are. When you KNOW the True Self, you are graced a direct experience of yoga or union.
This KNOWING is not a belief. It is not more information or intellectual understanding. It is a revelation that will change your life.
You do not get it because you are already this revelation. You are the realization that the personal self is a mask through which you express the Essence of who you are and why you are.
The True Self is beyond opposites. It is a unified field. In Christian terminology this is when you recognize and live the experience that Jesus speaks of when he declares:-
I am in the Father and the Father in me–John 14:11–KJV
This is yoga as the experience of union of the personal “I am” with the universal “I AM” (Father). When you receive this grace experience of union, you will KNOW your true magnificence.
This takes you from belief to that which is beyond belief. It will absolutely change your life.
Taking the 1st Step
The 1st step in changing your life is to use the power of your intention and focus your attention.
Attention follows intention.
I cannot overstate the importance of intention as a 1st step in changing your relationship to life. This is a rock that you can confidently stand on in these ever-shifting sands of time.
You are living in an invisible field of intention. This is an infinite field of possibility.
This infinite field of potential created you to express its intention through you.
True happiness is to feel in alignment with this unique universal intention. There is a problem here because you cannot touch it, taste it, see it, or smell it.
The reason is that who you are is beyond sensational. However, you can learn how to KNOW this universal intention unique to you.
When I say, “You can learn to KNOW,” I am not speaking here about intellectual understanding. This is not the product of your personal overthinking mind.
This invisible field of universal intention is the field of which you are a part but never apart from.
REAL yoga is the grace realization of the connection that you feel through the body.
From Outer to Inner
Having set an intention to live the journey of revelation of the TRUE Self (which is the real purpose of Yoga) you will take the following steps.
These related steps involve your moving your attention as follows:-
- Outer to Inner Focus
- Doing to Being
- Purpose to PURPOSE
- Personality to Presence.
Without changing your focus in this way, the practice of yoga as taught in the West is equivalent to changing the décor in the basement of a Palace. Conditions might well improve, but you lose out on becoming one who lives from their sovereign state of Presence.
With a commitment to inner knowing, you invite a different relationship with universal intelligence. This brings about a foundational shift. You realize that Heaven lies within.
When you get to experience the right relationship with your inner YES, then your life will change for the better. There may be some difficulties along the way, but you know you are following the right direction.
From Doing to Being
You are a human being. Human means form. Being means the Formless. You are a unique dance of form arising from that which is Formless or Unmanifest.
Being cannot be explained in words. You can recognize your alignment with being by how your energy feels and flows and how you say Y-E-S to life.
Your life becomes effortless when your energy flows from being. You are being on purpose with the purpose of life as it created you to express through you.
This requires what I call the journey of trust and faith.
Do not equate the word faith with any religious doctrine. Faith is less about belief and more about a willingness to venture into the unknown.
In the Western world, they train us to focus almost 100% of our energy on getting things done and on achieving. In this way, we miss the magical experience of being done through.
This being done through is the secret life of flow. It is the secret of non-doing where life achieves through you what it designed to have done through you.
Trust and letting go of your personal agenda are the real challenge.
From Personal to Primary Purpose
When you live a real yoga lifestyle, it aligns your personal purpose with universal purpose.
The purpose of the universe is to experience unity through separation. The universe creates myriad forms through which it can bring Heaven to be manifested on Earth.
Heaven is not a place. It is an eternal state of being. You cannot describe this state in words, but your destiny is to KNOW yourself as this state of sovereignty.
This revelation comes through trust and allowing. Your personal purpose is to be in alignment with Love’s purpose. This is the primary purpose of all created forms.
Your personal purpose is secondary to this primary purpose.
How that secondary purpose expresses is unique to you. This may be as a teacher, an accountant, a musician, or whatever activity that you lose yourself in.
This alignment of personal purpose with universal purpose is the true role of education and religion. This has not been the realization of most people.
Your education program fills you up with information rather than teach you the technology of transformation. Religion fills you up with belief rather than the technology for living a life beyond belief.
Such a technology is REAL Yoga.
From Separateness to Unity
The word yoga means union. The major cause of unnecessary suffering in this world of time and space results from being primarily identified with the mask of persona. This is what you call your personality.
The term personality comes from the root of the word persona that means “mask.”
We rarely question this identification with personality as the primary cause of suffering. Our sense of the personal self is taken for granted as being the core of who we think we are.
The modern mystic Eckhart Tolle writes in his world bestseller The Power of Now–A Guide to Enlightenment calls this over-identification with the personal self the “normal insanity.”
How they teach yoga in the West does not have as its primary intention of teaching you how to move from this sense of personal self. This is where you move your focus from the personal “I am” into union with the universal Self, which is “I AM.”
We make an attempt at changing the cause of suffering by changing the out conditions. This can work for a time. However, the effects return because they are manifested from a foundational error in one’s relationship to life.
With real yoga, the primary focus is the union of the personal self with the universal Self. In reality, these are never separate but until that grace moment of revelation there remains a feeling of being separate from the field of unconditional Love.
Only from a felt connection with this universal field of intention can you change your life for the better. Rumi says it this way:-
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other”
doesn’t make any sense.
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
Can Yoga Change Your Life Summary
Yoga can change your life in profound ways provided your intention and your focus are clear and related to the invitation to Real Yoga.
This is not to say that practicing a particular style of yoga as taught in the West will not bring about change in your life. For many people it very definitely has.
However, it is unlikely to change your relationship to the purpose of life as you understand it from the sense of the separate personal self. Western style yoga will continue the identification with the separate self that is the major cause of suffering.
Changing jobs, changing house, changing partner, changing city is not going to work unless you change your intention – Akhanda Yoga.
To recap on this invitation to how yoga can radically change your life you are invited to:-
- Get clear on your intention.
- Move your awareness within.
- Balance doing with being.
- Align your purpose with Love’s Purpose.
- Feel into the experience of unity.
All the above are new ways of relating to the world. These are experiential ways. This is real university education whereby you are being guided by universal intention.
This is not book learning. This is alignment with your energy flow. It requires:-
This is a way of living and being in the world. It is the best way.
To be or not to be that is the Question – William Shakespeare.
Real yoga invites you to claim your birth right. You invite the fulness of who you are created to become.
I call this practice of real yoga learning to Companion Your Greatness (W. B. Yeats). In this way you get to KNOW that you are blessed and you can bless (Vacillation IV)
Such is the journey of REAL Yoga. This is a life changing, life expanding and life affirming adventure without beginning or end.
I hope you are encouraged to invite the experience of unending revelation you are uniquely created to become. Below I share with your resources that can be explored in relation to real yoga and the power of intention.
Summary and Further Resources
References made in This Article
This is one of my all time favorite books. I have read it and re-read it. It is written by a modern mystic not tied to any specific spiritual tradition.
This is one of the lesser know poems of the Irish poet W. B. Yeats. It is the poem that is central to the workshop I share in Ireland entitled Companioning YOUR Greatness – Learning to Treasure the REAL You.
This is from a collection of poems I recorded on CD entitled The Yeats Experience – Listening from the Deep Heart’s Core.
This is one of my favorite extracts from the poetry of W. B. Yeats. It shares with you what I consider an experience of spiritual awakening. This is awakening to the KNOWING of the True Self. It is an experience of spiritual embodiment.
It is where you KNOW that you are blessed and can bless.
One of the KEY ways in which I invite the journey of yoga is through the language of mystical poetry. I call this yoga poetry. This opens the heart for the experience of revelation.
It is the language through which you learn to align your energy so that the higher (Self) may flow into the lower (self) and transform the lower. (Meister Eckhart)
In this way, you change your life.
The mystic Islamic poet Rumi is such an inspiration to me. I share with you here an example of the power of words, images, and music to invite you into the journey of union.
Video related to Intention and Real Yoga
Here is one of the leading teachers and researchers who is sharing the power of intention allied with attention explaining how to use this foundational power.
Here is one of the world’s great wisdom teachers. He is down to earth and funny and enlightened. Here he shares what the true purpose of yoga is.