Yoga – Discover What It Really Is!


Once upon a time a famous dancer improvised instinctive movements that were, however, extremely sophisticated due to his virtuosity and, because of this very fact, absolutely beautiful. This body language was not exactly a dance, but it had undeniably been inspired by it.

The captivating beauty of the technique moved all those who watched; they were overwhelmed with its expressiveness, and asked the dancer to teach them his art. And so he did. In the beginning, the method had no name. It was something spontaneous that came from within and only echoed in the hearts of those who had been born adorned by a more refined sensibility.

As the years passed, the great dancer was able to convey a good part of his knowledge until one day, long after, the Master passed on to the invisible planes. His art, however, did not die. The most loyal disciples preserved it and assumed the mission of re-transmitting it. The pupils of this generation understood the importance of also becoming teachers, and of modifying nothing, altering nothing of the outstanding teachings of the first Mentor.

At some moment in History, this art received the name integrity, integration, union: in Sanskrit, Yôga! Its founder was entered into mythology with the name of Shiva and with the title of Natarája, King of the Dancers.

These facts occurred more than 5,000 years ago in the Northeast of India, in the Indus Valley, populated by the Dravidian people. Therefore, we will study the origins of Yôga in this period and find its original purpose, so that we can identify authentic teachings and distinguish them from others that have been compromised by consumerism and interference from alien and incompatible methods.

Yôga, Tantra and Sámkhya, were developed by this admirable people. Their civilization, which is also one of the most advanced of ancient times, was lost and forgotten for thousands of years until archaeologists, at the end of the 19th century, encountered evidence of its existence and excavated two important archaeological sites, where they discovered the cities of Harappá and Mohenjo-Daro. Later, more and more sites were uncovered. Today, there are already thousands of sites distributed over an area larger than that of Egypt and Mesopotamia.

The archaeologists were impressed with what they encountered. Their excavations of the cities revealed urban planning. Instead of tortuously narrow roads, wide avenues of up to 14 meters, running from North to South and East to West, were found. Among these, there were streets for pedestrians on which ox-carts did not travel. On these streets, the middle class houses had two stories, internal atriums, indoor lavatories and running water! Don’t forget that we are talking about a civilization that flourished over 3,000 years before Christ.

This is not all, however. Lighting on the streets and covered sanitation systems, children’s toys such as cars having wheels that turned as well as detailed images of bulls’ heads and dolls with implanted hair were found. Imposing barns that had an ingenious system of ventilation and elevated platforms to facilitate the loading and unloading of ox-carts were uncovered.
In other cultures of the same period, the buildings of the sovereigns showed opulent palaces and majestic royal tombs while the people subsisted in filthy shacks. In the Dravidian culture, on the contrary, people lived well and the architecture of the public administration was simple.
Gaston Courtillier noted another significant difference between this and other civilizations. “We are truly surprised that, in those profoundly religious times, we did not find temples or remnants of statues, not even of adoration or of divinity for oration, which was the rule in other regions throughout ancient times.” For us, this makes sense, after all, we know that in Ancient India, Sámkhya had its moment of splendour; and in pre-classic India, the Niríshwarasámkhya variety was even more naturalistic than Classic Sámkhya.

The Dravidian society has been identified as matriarchal, which is also coherent with our sources, which show Yôga came from a Tantric culture.
Even farther below the ruins of the first cities, archaeologists discovered other cities. To their surprise, further down they encountered yet another, which was still more ancient. They dug more and found another city below that one. And yet another. And yet another. What called their attention was the fact that, the deeper they excavated, the more advanced the technology was, not only in terms of the architecture but also in regard to the utensils. This continued until eventually, they reached an underground aquifer and their excavations were forced to halt. In light of these discoveries, what we must ask ourselves is: how many other cities were there under those and how much more evolved would they have been?
In any case, it was from this Dravidian civilization, a Tantric (matriarchal) and Sámkhya (naturalistic) civilization, that Yôga emerged.

Around one thousand five hundred years after the earliest city uncovered in the excavations flourished, historical facts show that the civilization of the Indus Valley was invaded by a sub-barbarian people, the Áryas or Arians, who came from Central Europe. It is shown in current historical facts that these Arians destroyed the Dravidian civilization, absorbing some parts of their culture into their own and exterminating almost all those who were conquered and enslaving the few survivors. Others escaped, migrating to the extreme south of India and Sri Lanka, where their descendants live until today. Today, they are referred to as the Tamil.

Yôga was the product of a non-warring, naturalist and matriarchal civilization. From 1,500 B.C. on, it began to be absorbed by another people (the Arians), which were their polar opposite: warring, mystical and patriarchal. Around twelve hundred years after the invasion (which is by no means a short period), Yôga was formally ‘arianized’ through the celebrated work the Yôga Sútra by Pátañjali. This work inaugurated a re-reading of Yôga and from that point on, it would be known as Yôga Darshana, or Classic Yôga, which proposed nothing less than the opposite of the behavior proposed by the true Yôga of Dravidian origin. The Yôga of the Dravids was matriarchal, sensorial and non-repressive or, in a single word, Tantric. This new ‘arianized’ interpretation was patriarchal, anti-sensorial and repressive, in other words, brahmácharya.
The most interesting thing about this process of disruption is that if it weren’t for Pátañjali, Yôga would have disappeared from the records of History. Because of his efforts, which were obviously well intentioned and wise, today, his codification of Classic Yôga exists and is known to us. Adapting Yôga to the reality of the Arians, who discriminated against everything typically Dravidian because of its matriarchal characteristics (considered subversive by the dominant patriarchal society), Pátañjali was able to get Arian society and its constituent powers of that time to accept it and with this, such a tradition has reached us today.
After Pátañjali’s work, in the Middle Ages, Yôga suffered another grave disfigurement when the grand Master of Vêdanta philosophy, Shankaráchárya, converted a large part of the population. This was reflected in Yôga, because with the majority of Indians converted to Vêdánta, when practicing Yôga, public opinion and its leaders also conferred a spiritualistic format to Yôga, which, from its Dravidian origins and even during the Classic Period, was fundamentally of a Sámkhya or naturalistic philosophy.
In the 20th century, Yôga suffered still another tremendous blow: it was discovered by the Occident and, of course, ‘westernized’. It became utilitarian, consumerist, something amorphous, ugly and dull.
Legitimate Yôga, however, is beautiful to watch; it is fascinating to practice; and it is excellent as a philosophy of life. It is dynamic and it is strong.
The problem is that many people without certification as Yôga teachers have designated themselves to teach and, because they do not possess a repertoire of techniques, they mix a little of gymnastics, a bit of esoterism, a tad of hypnotism, a pinch of spiritism, something of the language tai-chi, some concepts of macrobiotics and all this they temper in an alternative therapeutic atmosphere then package it for consumption in a soft voice with new-age music. For the inexperienced, who do not have the slightest idea of what Yôga is, aside from a stereotyped and false vision, this fallacious miscellaneous satisfies.

But, it has nothing to do with Yôga.
We should not forget that the word Yôga means integrity and so, it must be represented integrally, in its entirety. For this reason, in the our blog you will have the satisfaction of getting to know a modality of Yôga that is fascinating, absolutely beautiful, extremely satisfying to practice and one charged with results capable of leaving anyone bewildered. It is SwáSthya Yôga, the very Pre-Classic, Pre-Arian, Pre-Vedic, Proto-Historic Yôga of Shiva, the ultra-integral Yôga with the characteristics of Tantra and Sámkhya preserved and what’s more, its execution is reminiscent of a dance, recovered from the most remote layers of the collective unconscious!

Article writen by Marcello Oliveira, Instructor of SwáSthya, The Ancient Yôga and member of The International University of Yôga.

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Author: Piyawut Sutthiruk

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