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The Urgent Call for Yoga in the 21st Century

28 Jun 2020 HYN Himalayan Yoga Academy

Yoga in the 21st Century

By Micheline Saliba Lebanon

The Urgent Call for Yoga in the 21st Century

The increase of Technology in the present century has certainly affected the whole global, as we are witnessing huge and fast changes, these changes are not in harmony with the natural changes but they are man-made, which means they are provocative and cause mutation. Mutation is followed by hardship because it would be very difficult for people to make adjustments in attempt to be adapted to the current situation, and this causes much suffering mentally and physically.

Who is responsible for this mutation? Possibly, we all are. As we are walking our way, we have stumbled and fell many times, yet most of us haven’t learned from the previous experiences and are now going through them all over again. We have been seduced by the material world more than necessary, and it was very hard for us to stand alone while everybody around us was drifted into the consumerism wave unconsciously. Thus, we all, each one of us, especially yogis, hold a big responsibility to what is happening. We are all responsible, each person from his/her own work, to give something to the world we are living in. Our responsibility is to educate and to spread awareness.  But how much are we really doing that? We should think it from own levels. 

The Difference : Yoga in the 21st Century

The difference between our elders and our generation, is obvious, our elders were in balance with their inner and their outer, they knew the dangers of imbalance, so they worked on daily basis thriving with persistence, to keep the balance, through yoga and through their daily lives in their relationships with their fellow humans and with their environment. In other words, they lived in harmony with the cosmos; they didn’t need to search any further. Unlike our times, we do need philosophy, we do need to search for a meaning for our lives and for its purpose, since the age of “great sages and seers” is absent, we need to look for wisdom and better for this wisdom to work hand in hand with Science, and to be written down in books for the sake of the future generations.

Now, we have come to a great gap and an immense imbalance, between our inner and our outer, between the grounding energies and the spatial energies, and we lost our path.

Let us take a look at the yogis of the past and the yogis of our present times in general. Ramana Maharishi, Paramhamnsa Yogananda, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Swami Dayananda. How they were much wiser and spiritual than the present Gurus of our days that try to help others but their teachings are divided and incomplete. Perhaps their Agni (Fire Energy), Endocrine glands like pineal, pituitary, adrenals  are passive, degenerated and blocked in this declined age, they are infected by the chaos of their surrounding, by the stressful vibrations among people, competition, inferior complexities, starting from the bad quality of food that we are all eating, to the internet, mobiles vibrations, etc. We are not against technology, but the exaggeration and the misuse of it has destroyed our well being from A to Z, from the physical to the mental to the spiritual.

The gurus of the past lived a simpler life and had great insights and their spirit healed all the people around them.  We are not saying we must be nostalgic  weeping the old day, but we must extract examples and lessons out of it, while stating the current situation as it is, to be realistic and see what can be done, as our duties as yogis.   

It is essential to realize and to emphasize on the mistakes we all have been making altogether by giving a good deal of energy to the OUTER PHYSICAL LIVING more than the INNER SPIRITUAL LIVING, this is the seed cause of all this imbalance we are witnessing.

Now that our world is full of wars, pandemics, bad health, pollution, consumerism, chronic diseases, lack of devotion, lack of empathy, intolerant, aloneness, lack of faith and fully mechanical. We must see all this clearly in order to search for solutions. 

Man has forgotten his roots, genes, ancient schooling and his environment.

We have thrown the values that were followed by our ancestors for many centuries. We have forgotten the ground, the Earth and exploited its resources. As Yoga Masters, our duty is to help our learners to “ground” themselves and to go back to the main genuine yoga; it is never enough to give asanas class while keeping aside all of the other aspects, the yamas and niyamas, the pranayama, mudras, dhyana and all the rest. One thing I must code here dhyana or meditation, a major weapon of yoga must be attempted as means of Yoga in order to achieve the goal, a state of devoid is Yoga. 

Whats Next :

Yes, proper education is needed and a huge rehabilitation for the yoga teachers who most of them have no idea what is behind the yoga asanas. The fact that some yoga schools are being commercial, giving yoga teachers’ certificates to anyone, and with only few hours of training with few series postures as gymnastic tips.  Is this acceptable to you Sirs? Shouldn’t the teacher be the good example for the students?  We are crying loudly to you to make restrictions in this specific domain which may result positively.  

Here is the outcome; it is disastrous, when we can all see the millions of images of western yogis showing off their perfect figures in asanas on the internet. Is this really yoga?  This is certainly a misleading image of what is yoga is really about. And it is frustrating because it is total ignorance. Adding to this, lately there are these kinds of trends from Hot Yoga, Power Yoga, Yoga for shoulders, Yoga for a slim body, Yoga for this, Yoga for that, and the most ridiculous one is floating yoga. Where are the feet?? Where is the balance when the students get on the ground?? This is devastating, this is total ignorance, and as we know already Yoga is not about power at all. I have many students running away from these classes, coming to my class, complaining they had injuries during the yoga class, plus, they don’t know how to breathe, and even some of the yoga teachers who are famous on the internet, breath from their mouth!! a total scandal !! From where did they get their certificates, from Nepal or India? No, it’s from business camp.

We are asking the Yoga Ministry or any concerned Authority, to consider this and to watch and educate the commercial yoga teacher’s schools and to educate them

We should not allow this; otherwise we would be irresponsible and unqualified yoga teachers.

The duty of the yogis is to show others what true yoga is all about. There are lots of works to be done and it has to be done seriously and urgently.

The world needs no more commercial yoga but in need for genuine scholars and gurus.

They say, it takes one wise person to uplift many people, but let us not forget that also, it takes one ignorant teacher to drown many people. Which side are you with? Our responsibilities as yoga teachers are bigger now and the challenges are wider. Wise people where are you when the world needs you most?????

The world relies on you for knowledge, wisdom and empathy.

May we all be awakened from ignorance to knowledge? May we all work harder and wiser for a better world? Without any delay, the true lovers are looking for the core value of this great ultimate life science.

To Sum up: The Urgent Call for Yoga in the 21st Century

Therefore, Yoga connects together the integration of hands, head and heart that means the responsibility is on the Hands, the understanding is in the head and honesty is in heart.  This is the theme of yoga in the 21st century, along with cosmic self intelligence of our spiritual attitudes, which has to be nourished like the roots and the sap of a tree but not the outer covering of it. 

If we want to experience and realize the sense of yoga, then we should deepen ourselves in this source of true knowledge with the 3 wisdoms “live, love and laugh”. Having one thought in mind: “No matter how many times we fall, and shall always get up smiling and keep on walking consciously because Yoga is the science of happiness, and the science of consciousness.” So, recall the SMS i.e. straight body, mindfulness and smiling.


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