The Point Of Yoga
What is the point of Yoga asana (the physical postures)? Why contort yourself into all sorts of shapes for an hour or two every day? Well, besides the physical benefit (ie. increasing strength and flexibility), the point of Yoga asana is to connect with all the other living beings that we share Mother Earth with.
Sharon Gannon and David Life explain it well in their book Jivamukti Yoga:
"Asana encourages awareness...by giving us an opportunity to put ourselves into the various shapes and patterns of existence and experience the dynamic force that animates all form. In the Celtic myth of Camelot, Merlin teaches the young Arthur how to become a good king. The wizard transforms the boy into various life-forms: animals, plants and minerals. As Arthur experiences the perspective of those over whom he has lordship, he is better prepared to rule with compassion. This is Yoga, the experience of the vitality of life in all forms of life."
So when you're doing a Downward Facing Dog Pose, for example, you're connecting - becoming one, if you will - with another animal. (And I did mean to say "another animal" - humans are animals too. And while it's something most people constantly forget, it's something that we should constantly remember.) In the case of being in Downward Dog, you're connecting with the dog.
And when you do Cobra Pose, Camel Pose, Tortoise Pose, Fish Pose, Cow Pose, etc, it's the same thing - you connect with the cobra, the camel, the tortoise, the fish, the cow, etc.
In practicing Yoga poses you become (so to speak) those other living beings. And as you become them just for that short period, you're connected with them. With that connection - with finding the dog, cobra, camel, tortoise, fish, cow, etc, in you - how could you ever harm another living creature seeing as they ARE you? Yoga is all about making this connection.
SAY NO TO PUPPY MILLS! SAY NO TO ANIMALS IN PETSHOPS! SAY NO TO BREEDERS!
Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance
It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.
Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.
Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.
Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.
Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.
If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.
All information and photos are copyright © Despina Rosales.