Beatle George warned of Maya – and was wrong. Illusion is not some snake in the garden, illusion is the garden, the universe-time wide game / art / vehicle that we all play in and produce. The danger lies in not knowing that it’s not real, in taking it all too seriously.
When I first started exercising on a regular schedule (back in the mid-‘80s), I soon added stretching as an integral part of my routine. I found that with stretching I was able to workout much more vigorously – and avoid injury and minimize soreness. With people I’d meet in the gym and with jogging partners, I suggested that they try stretching. My evangelical efforts were not very successful. Some said that they did stretch – once a week. Others considered that they did not have the time to stretch.
Now that people on a NYC subway with rolled up yoga mats on their backs are a common sight, you might think that I am happy to see so many interested in stretching. Unfortunately, most are not using yoga as a component of an exercise mosaic, but are instead using yoga as a substitute for exercise. Yoga has become a vehicle for self-delusion.
If a smoker attempts jogging or any other form of aerobic activity, it becomes immediately apparent that tobacco use is physically destructive. What needs to be done is to stop smoking. The answer is not to switch to yoga so as to be able to ignore that each and every pack of cigarettes paves the way to the grave.
What sedentary people need most in an exercise routine is an aerobic workout for cardio-vascular health and weight control. Once that foundation has been achieved, the next level is weight-bearing activity for muscular and skeletal development – to preserve strength and to avoid osteoporosis. Be aware that stretching is the key that starts the engine of serious exercise. To think that yoga can replace a strenuous workout is just fooling yourself.