Many people think that ‘yoga’ is only doing postures on the mat. That is an important part of it, but yoga is much more than that. Yoga is a conscious lifestyle in which you become pure love and bliss to be able to merge with the Higher Energy which is also of pure love (prema) and bliss (ananda). Only particles of the same can merge. So you have to become as pure and loving as ‘the Higher’ before you can become one with it. This process is the actual goal of life and is called Moksha or liberation. This is only possible through the path of Jnana, Karma and Bhakti Yoga.
When you become pure love, you actually become your true self: the Soul. In its pure state it is named JivAtma. The soul is the only ‘thing’ that is left when you leave your body at the end of your life. Nothing physical you can take with you; no money, status, cars, houses or even your name or gender. Because for the soul, all of this does not exist. It is temporary. Only love exists. Only love is everlasting. Because that is what the soul is. You have to become love to connect with your own real self and to feel aligned with who you truly are, which is love. The process of becoming love is ‘yoga’.
In our modern lifestyles we are not focussed on love. We are not seeing love everywhere. We are not only doing actions out of love for others. We are very busy with temporal and material things. We worry about it and this gives a lot of stressful thoughts. But for the process of Moksha we should only see love, think love, feel love and act out of love. Greed, egoism, anger, jalousie, resentment, fear and all kinds of negative energy of thoughts and emotions, we have to get rid off to be able to become pure love and to get balanced and relaxed. This is possible with the process of Jnana, Karma and Bhakti Yoga. But it is hard. We need to get in control of our thoughts and senses to be able to enter this cleaning process. The Bhagavad Gita and the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi tell us that having having thoughts, words and actions in line, gives us perfect happiness.
To get control over thoughts, we need to be aware of them. With Jnana Yoga we get wisdom and knowledge about our behavior, thoughts, patterns and emotions. It is deep self reflection, which is very hard because we have to be brutally honest with ourselves. Then, when we discover a negative pattern or thought, we have to get rid of it. All kinds of tools can help us with that, like cutting the ties, pranayama, meditation and postures with the right breathing. When we get rid of the negativity, space automatically comes free in our soul energy which is immediately filled with pure love and bliss. We feel the love. Then we want to act out of love for others. That is Karma Yoga. It cleanses our soul on a very intens and deep level.
When you feel this kind of bliss and love, you only want to serve love. And love is in everybody: you want to serve the Higher Energy of love who binds us all. You become a devotee of love, that is Bhakti Yoga. You realize that the only thing important in life is love. You feel that everybody is love. You act out of unconditional love for everyone. You help others where you can. You see love everywhere, even in nature. You think loving thoughts. You become love, to merge with love and you will shine a light on everybody who comes near you. Then you have a perfect balance between body, mind and soul. You understand why you are here. That is yoga.
And that is only possible with a light and Sattvic lifestyle: with light food, we get light thoughts and those are easier to control. Heavy energy of unhealthy food, negative thoughts, stress, fear and angry feelings are almost uncontrollable. When you are light and your energy is positive, you feel happy. Then it is easier to become in between thoughts and the state of Samadhi during meditation. Only there, in that space of nothingness it is possible to reach for the Higher (and merge). That makes meditation the path to wisdom and liberation.
According to the Bhagavad Gita Sattvic is not only ‘healthy living’, but also an austere lifestyle in which you help other people. With Jnana, Karma and Bhakti Yoga it is possible to understand this: we have to become loving persons to be able to reach Moksha. Everything is connected; our food, our thoughts, our emotions, our actions and our experiences. They can all become light and loving with a Yoga Lifestyle. So indeed, yoga is deep, mysterious and much more than ‘just’ asanas! It is the only art to open the heart. Yoga is our reason for living.