Yoga is the process of stilling the mind; once upon a time this process was effortless and a still mind was
movement experienced by all. A very long time has passed, there has been change and this is no longer the case, the mind has become the biggest obstacle to humanity. According to Yogic history and philosophy, there are about four ages or phases in which the mind has changed or you could say degenerated over thousands and thousands of years; the ages shift from the golden through to the Dark Age and will cycle again and again. The phase of the golden age is fascinating as it is so far removed from the way in which the human mind operates today – in the Dark Age. The Golden age is believed to be how humanity started out. During this age the average person was connected to their true nature, they were one with the consciousness that is inherent in all. People of this time lived in harmony and peace with themselves and nature. Furthermore, during the golden age peoples’ minds were suspended (nirodha) – naturally still and at peace and only used when absolutely necessary. You could say that the mind was used like a muscle at this time, only flexed when there was work to do; otherwise, it was in suspension.
‘Men neither bought nor sold; there were no poor and no rich; there was no need to labour, because all that men required was obtained by the power of will; the chief virtue was the abandonment of all worldly desires. The Krita Yuga was without disease; there was no lessening with the years; there was no hatred or vanity, or evil thought whatsoever; no sorrow, no fear. All mankind could attain to supreme blessedness’. – The Golden age, also known as the Krita or Satya Yuga, as described in the Mahabhrahata (an ancient Hindu epic).
And so you can see just how different humankind was to how it is now, the absolute opposite to everything in that text is very predominant in the world today. This massive difference is due to the shift that has taken place through the ages. Very slowly over time people have moved further and further away from the true essence within and have been dominated by the mind.
Following the Golden age was the Silver or Treta Yuga. During the Silver age the mind had been somewhat distracted, however only as much that the average person had moved from stillness to a single point of focus and with help from their gurus could easily return to having a suspended mind. In comparison, having a single point of focus today requires a lot of concentration and is usually not sustained for long periods of time.
The Bronze Age or Dwapara saw the mind being distracted and occupied more and more, resulting in people being pulled further and further away from their true self. The distracted mind was now beginning to have difficulty understanding a person with a suspended mind, and needed a teacher to systematically explain what had to be done in order to achieve a still mind. As a result, the Bronze time saw the flourishing of philosophies and teachings of the yogic way. Over the thousands of years, this time saw some of the great teachers or masters including Rishi Kapila and Patanjali.
Finally the Dark Age or Kali Yuga (the age we are believed to be in today) – according to yogic philosophy, the average person during this period has an infatuated mind (mudha chitta). This infatuation means that one is obsessed with one’s own body, wealth, appearance and family relations. The mind in this age is materialistic; one believes that they are their mind and body. People have become so far removed from their true nature that even trying to understand the notion of the divine truth, consciousness, god, or whichever term you choose to use, has become very difficult. Humans have been reduced to understanding their existence as their bodies and minds only. Spiritual understanding has become a very rare phenomenon in this time.
However, in accordance with the yogic philosophy, the cycle will continue and there will be a new golden age at some point in time. In addition to this, it is believed that there is an ascending period and a descending period in each of the ages. These periods kind of mark the entering of an age and an exiting of an age. secure web browsing Taking into account that these periods span over thousands of years, it is exciting to think that we could be coming to the end of a dark age. There may even be some things happening in the world to suggest that we are in the descending period. For example, proliferation of the New Age spiritual, the greater awareness and change happening in terms of environmental care and impact, peoples sourcing natural health options, the prosper of organic/biodynamic, to list a few.
There seems to be shift happening in the awareness about spirituality and nature which is extremely appealing. Yoga is defined as the process of stilling the mind, and in such a fast pace, busy world that we live in today; through regular practise of yoga we have the opportunity to calm the mind, to attempt to focus the mind on a single point throughout a practise. Today, technology dominates, material things are highly valued and we are constantly ‘on the go’! Yoga teaches you to appreciate the little things, to find contentment with what you have. best domains Furthermore, yoga teaches you to accept yourself more holistically, and enables you to work with the mind more peacefully – for example, the way you overcome the challenges you are faced with on your yoga mat in the morning can then be applied to the challenges you are faced with in life.
If the whole world practised yoga, the whole world would be a much more peaceful place. Bring on the golden age!!!
“Be the change you want to see in the world”. Gandhi
Teacher TRainee 2011