INDIA, June 1, 2023 (Fair Observer by Subhash Kak): Yoga is the heart of consciousness and it has been central to Indian civilization from the earliest times. Today, you can find it in small towns in Peru, South Africa and Hungary. Some see the last century as the story of yoga teachers who took this knowledge to far corners of the world and transformed traditional local religion.This historical movement repeats a phenomenon that took place over 2,000 years ago across the Himalayas, both east and west. While the story of yoga and tantra going to China, Japan, Tibet, and Southeast Asia is popular history as part of the spread of Buddhism, specialist scholars have also traced its movement to Samarkand and Bukhara and further to the Slavic lands.

The migration of yoga to Central Asia continued for a thousand years, and something similar may be repeating today. If contemporary interest in yoga focuses on personal well-being through asanas, at its deepest level yoga is about the nature of consciousness, which is now the frontier of science. To the lay yoga practitioner the connection between asanas and consciousness may appear surprising. But if one thinks of it, we are body and mind. While asanas are good for the body, pranayama and meditation prepares us to recognize the realm of mind and awareness, and finally to control it. The question of the self is at the heart of consciousness, and it has been central to Indian civilization from the earliest times. In Hinduism, the self is called the atma, or Shiva. In Kashmir in north India, which was a great center for science and scholarship associated with Shiva, it was conceived as Light (Prakasha in Sanskrit). Yoga practices are methods to be one with the light within.

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