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The Real Power Yoga

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Speaking Tree
27th January, 2021 05:08 IST

We often hear phrases like ‘power yoga’, ‘power breathing’ and perhaps even ‘power meditation’. These phrases convey images of aheavy punch delivered by a wrestler or a country beefing up its armed forces. However, this is not the kind of power a practitioner of meditation pursues.

The Upanishads do state that atman is not to be found by one devoid of bala, or power. Here, power refers to spiritual energy. The yoga sutras of Patanjali mention virya as one of the five ways of attaining samadhi and brahmacharya, or practice of celibacy, confers virya.


However, this virya arises out of shraddha, or reverent conviction, and is synonymous with the power to grant diksha, or initiation, which means shakti-pata, the power to transfer a higher state of consciousness to the disciple. This is the true meaning of power yoga.

The power in yoga means the power to extinguish one’s anger like that of taming a wild tiger, for instance. It means the will to overcome temptation and, thereby, altering the mental state of one who may approach a yogi with passionate thought.

It is the power of the Buddha, who converts Angulimala, the dreaded robber who cut off his victims’ fingers and wore them as a necklace around his neck. The Buddha walks into the robber’s lair and says, ‘Come along, monk!’ and helps transform the marauder into a monk instantly. The latter follows him like a tiger that has been tamed. That is true power.

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