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Hatha Yoga in 21st Century Living

I do Hatha Yoga, so I am working with the body, as you suggest. But the second part you have spoken of – mindfulness, just watching my actions and thoughts and feelings – is difficult.

     When you start with a modern body, the same techniques will not do. Something else has to be added. Hatha Yoga can be used beneficially when the body exists in a very natural condition, a very natural, very innocent condition...childlike. Then these techniques are miraculous. But we do not have such innocent bodies now; we have very complex bodies. They are not natural. Changes in the environment have done much to change our bodies, medicine has done much. The whole chemical milieu in which we live is different; even the air is different.
     You have a very unnatural body. It is unnatural not only because it has been conditioned by the outside, but also because of too much mental suppression inside. There are very complex suppressions in your body and unless these body complexes are released, Hatha Yoga will not help – or, it can help only to a certain extent.
     Read the work of the German psychologist Wilhelm Reich. He was a disciple of Freud's. He worked continuously for forty years with the suppressions in the body, not in the mind. For example, he said that if you have suppressed anger than your jaw will be different, it will not be natural. You will have a different jaw; your teeth will be different. Violence is concentrated in the teeth and in the fingers.
     Hatha Yoga does not take this into account because in former times a suppressed mind and suppressive attitude were not prevalent, particularly in India. In those days India was one of the least suppressive countries. Now that is not so. And in the West, Christianity has caused so much suppression that everybody is crippled inside. These suppressions in the body have to be released first.
     Otherwise you start out with a body that is not right, not natural, and many unnecessary problems may be created by it. That is why something totally unknown to Hatha Yoga has to be introduced now: the body must go through a catharsis first. To bring about this catharsis, a totally new science will be needed because this suppression is something new.

     For example, if you have suppressed sex a lot, then kundalini cannot move up. It is blocked. The whole structure from where the kundalini can move up is simply blocked, blocked by the suppressed sex energy. Or, if you have indulged too much in sex, then you have no energy left to move upward. These are the two problems: either you have a suppressed mind and the energy has become blocked or you have indulged too much so that no energy is left to move within you. You are not in a natural state, your energy is not balanced.
     Another thing is that all these hatha yoga techniques were developed for use in monasteries. They are monastic techniques intended for people who are totally involved in them for twenty-four hours a day, not doing anything else. Then too, you have to work with them for a very long period, for years. If hatha yoga is taught to a person who is not totally involved in it, who only comes to do hatha yoga once or twice – or even for an hour a day, but who is involved for twenty-three hours a day in quite a different world, a work that is quite the contrary – it is not going to help much Whatsoever you have gained is lost every day. The very method is a monastic method. Now we have to develop the methods, nonmonastic methods that will not be undone by the rest of the activities of your life.
     This is a problem, this is one of the most significant problems for those whose who are interested in yoga.

     For the West, many new things have to be done, many new things have to be conceived of and experimented with. I myself am trying many things. To me, the first thing that is needed is a catharsis. A catharsis releases everything inside you that is wrong, everything that is suppressed inside. You throw out all your suppressions, releasing them. Now, many new things have to be added to the traditional methods – a 2,000 year gap is there! – and this catharsis, to me, is the most important thing that has to be added. First, your body must go through a renewal.

Osho The Eternal Quest

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