Yog is the science of entire Creation. Sun, moon, earth, water, sky, fire as well as human body are various aspects of Creation, yog is the sum total of it all. What is the force that powers the various aspects of Creation, that makes them function, that is the subject of yog.
When you do yog under a Guru, you start interacting with these various elements and forces and slowly you become one with them. Take for instance the five elements. We know the body is made up of the five elements, yet we cannot see them. As you do higher practices of yog, you begin to realize all these in your body and understand their basis. Then the elements listen to you and follow you. You are able to interact with them and affect changes in the body using them. The science of yog unfolds in stages, first through elements, then consciousness and finally divinity.
Yog is often mistaken as a healing system of the body. Actually, it is not a healing science, it is the sum total of yam, niyam, asan, pranayam, pratyahaar, dhaarna, dhyan and samadhi. Asan and pranayam as detailed in Yogsutras, are not to cure diseases, Patanjali says ‘sthir sukham asanam ‘– a posture in which you are still. Stillness here refers to inner and outer silence achieved by silencing the vrittis of mind; experiences of yog follow.
Let us take up the science of pranayam as an example. Today, there is no dearth of masters and teachers selling pranayam as an exercise to increase oxygen supply to the physical body and boost adrenalin. The fact is, pranayam does not pertain to the physical body or annamaya. It is a salutation to prana, and prana runs in the pranamaya kosha, which directly affects the annamaya, which is a lower physical manifestation of prana.
When you perform a pranayam, the oxygen levels reduce. In the lungs, there are tiny sacks called alveoli where exchange of gases happens. For the absorption of gases by alveoli, a difference in pressure is required for a specific time period. Pranayams like Nadi Shodhanam equalizes this pressure and as a result diffusion of gases does not happen. Even in a hyper-pranayam like Bhastrika and Kapalbhati, the movement is so fast that there is no time for absorption of gases. So, oxygen supply reduces, and carbon dioxide levels increase. A process is initiated as a result of which, you get into certain states where the lower functions of brain reduce due to lack of oxygen and certain higher centers, which the modern science does not understand, get activated.
The process of pranayam is triangle. The kundalini energy is in the form of an upward pointing triangle at the Mool chakra. If you notice, in a pranayam, the movement of breath is in a triangular manner. There is an erectile tissue in our nose, which inflates when there is more blood flow. You might have observed that when you are sexually more active, at times the nose blocks, what is called the honeymoon nose, it is because of the erectile tissue inflation only. In a pranayam, you make a triangle and press the erectile tissue at the nose constantly on both sides. This triangle pushes the kundalini energy upwards, when optimum areas of brain are awakened. The optimum activation happens when the three nadis – ida, pingala and sushumna are balanced. Then the kundalini energy rises and spiritual experiences follow. That is a pranayam.
As you go deeper into yog, you realize that all heavy things leave you, age doesn’t touch you, strength of the body increases. But for this, you have to go to an ashram, make a Guru and do yog, buying off-the- shelf is not going to get you that because what is sold is tied to maya, and what is tied itself cannot release you from your bondages. Yog is, getting released from the body, then you access the force or energy of Creation.