Yoga is a gift to the universe. A physical, mental, and spiritual gift to humanity that has existed in a variety of forms for over 5,000 years. However, much of its modern origin can be traced back to the Gupta dynasty of ancient India.
While the Monarchs of many other kingdoms extensively researched religion and philosophy, the early Maharajas of the Gupta Empire spent hundreds of years studying meditation, spirituality, and the holistic connection of the human mind and body. What resulted was the creation of an ascetic discipline that is known today as ‘yoga’.
Since the era of the Gupta Empire, the practice and teachings of this ancient discipline have experienced a cultural revolution. There are now over 300 different types of yoga (both passive and dynamic), many of which are wildly popular here in North America such as Anusara, Bikram, Hatha, and my personal favourite, Kundalini Yoga.
What is fascinating today, is the shift in the mentality of North American society. When I am driving home from work in Calgary, there are more yoga studios than coffee shops. This is a major shift from 20 years ago, when the only thing to do was go to a bar after work. Now I see girls running down the street with their yoga mats on the way to the studio.
Yoga has become an industry. Not only just the classes, but this industry has expanded to include clothing lines and resorts. For example, there is a yoga resort on my island in Belize and this past New Year’s I went to a yoga retreat in Ananda.
Why was this important to me? Rishikesh, in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains where the Ganges breaks through to the plains of India, is the birthplace of yoga. Instead of getting drunk on a Caribbean island for New Year’s, I spent it at a yoga resort.
Yoga is a miracle drug. In a day and age where everything needs to be factual and supported empirically, this combination of the physical, mental, and spiritual does not. Does anyone really know what a chakra is? Does anyone really know if an energy point actually exists? Everything is energy, nothing is energy, but does anyone know what energy is? No!
But what I do know, is that when I do Kundalini Yoga I feel better, or when I do my fire-breathing the morning before a big presentation it goes smoothly. So, I too do not really know what a chakra is, and I cannot prove that an energy point exists or what it is for that matter, but what I can prove is the end result of yoga.
When all the seven chakras connect (my favourite is the heart chakra), and the cobra at the bottom of my spine ignites all the way up to my top chakra, at that point I have reached Nirvana.
Like they say in Kundalini yoga, Sat nam.
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