"It is wise to remember "Thoughts Are Things"... they are the seeds from which our garden grows... in order to change the harvest, we must first plant new seeds." ~ The Kybalion
Lots of people doing Yoga these days... Goat Yoga. Beer Yoga. Yoda Yoga? (probably)
Hahaha, that’s good!! Yoga is an introduction to a personal experience which all people should explore for themselves... it is unfortunate, many don’t explore deep enough to gain the profound truths hidden within these ancient traditions... that IS the BEST part (not to mention the WHOLE point of the practice).
You see, Yoga and Meditation are a Spiritual Philosophy... they aren't meant to be a fashionable workout or stress relief tool, that's just how it's been sold to the West. This consumerism approach undervalues the true nature of what these actions represent and can teach the individual... luckily, many teachers are at least introducing the concepts to students and those Seekers who are ready are finding their way to deeper material.
I’m far from a Yogi Master, but I can speak to the profound meaning of these metaphysical arts. They are Consciousness tools. Techniques used to refine the human soul, to align oneself with a larger existence... to realize the true nature of oneself, without childhood conditioning and societal illusion clouding their thought process.
Conditioning is all the things the world did to you as you grew up. The things that shaped your mind and the way you perceive the world.
For example... woman, you don't have daddy issues; you just haven't taken the time to forgive the past (and yourself). And dude, you aren't a weak man because you grew up without a father; you've simply allowed your mind to identify with a personality trait that you unwittingly adopted in your childhood (go read, workout, gain personal experience in the world and you are fully capable of becoming a leader: nothing is stopping you from being powerful, except your FALSELY conditioned mind).
Simply because you think the world is filled with bad people, does not make it true. Your life experiences and your blindness to the illusion of Maya, may create that convincing reality for you... but that does not make it true, that is simply the illusion you are allowing yourself to live under. If you go outside and say HI! to the first person you meet on the street, I bet you get a pleasant response... maybe even strike up a friendship! There are SOME bad people in the world, but the world is not FILLED with them. The world is actually filled with GOOD people, who have convinced themselves they are having a BAD DAY... which YOUR effort to say HI! will turn into a GOOD DAY for them!
You see, this is how Yoga can rewire the poor condition your mind is in right now. You can be HAPPY all the time. Through a consistent meditation practice, and a sincere commitment to engaging your higher self, following the principles that arise with these actions... you begin to discover a symbiotic relationship with the universe which you didn’t realize was there before. You break the illusion. You wake up.
There are many Yogic practices, but I found Kriya Yoga the most fascinating... it’s heavily focused on the Mystical. If you’re trying to understand the Universe and your place in it, I would say Levitation and Mysticism are quite intriguing results to shoot for while you do the work. Much like the self-mastery process of Alchemy (in the Esoteric Arts of Hermeticism), the process of self-realization is an unfolding of your innermost being. You are essentially working through an inquiry process that helps uncover the false perceptions you hold over your egoic identity... once realized, these perceptions lose their ability to affect you, essentially burning away all the false conditioning you cling to in this illusory world.
Once purified of your illusions, you gain an irreducible clarity of what the human being is within this realm of existence... Cosmic Consciousness! This clarity opens up contemplation avenues that allow an immense level of introspection towards every facet of human history and the future of mankind. The gift is Wisdom of the true nature of things.
Once a certain level of Enlightenment is achieved, you are walking through the world in knowing... akin to walking on water.
"When the human race learns to read the language of symbolism, a great veil will fall from the eyes of men. They shall then know the Truth, and more than that, they shall realize that from the beginning Truth has been in the world unrecognized, save by a small but gradually increasing number appointed by the Lords of the Dawn as ministers to the needs of human creatures struggling to regain their consciousness of Divinity." ~ Manly P. Hall