Yoga as Play

You do your own thing. Absorb whatsoever you can get from anywhere, and always create a synthesis out of your own experience. Otherwise what you teach is borrowed, and the borrowed cannot be taught – because it is an art, not a science. Unless you have experienced something within you, you cannot transfer that experience to anybody else. You can teach the techniques, but they are not the basic thing; they are just the outer shell. The content is something totally different – that is your experience.

So always remain open to learn from wherever you can. Never become closed. Life is so tremendous that one can never come to a point where one can say “Now I have learned.” It never happens. Even existence is learning; hence it goes on creating. If it had learned the art, there would have been no need to create anymore. It still goes on innovating, creating, experimenting. The whole existence is an experiment.

Knowledge should never become a dead thing. It should be constantly learning. So learn from everywhere, and then always listen to your own inner synthesis. If you are teaching something which you have not experienced, which is not your own, in which your own heart is not beating, you are transferring stale knowledge…and that is dangerous. All stale knowledge becomes poisonous to the person to whom you are transferring it. So learn from everywhere, and learn with total humbleness, but remain open to transfer your own experience.

I am not in favor of too much strain. The whole point is that people are already too strained. They are almost on the verge of a breakdown. Don’t put any more strain on them. Rather, teach them how to relax, so relaxation remains the background. Even if they are doing Yoga exercises, the goal remains relaxation. Sometimes in certain postures, they have to strain, but the goal remains relaxation. For example, I can close my fist as hard as I can, I can put all my energies into closing it. A point will come where it is no longer possible to force it, and it will open on its own and become relaxed, more relaxed than it was before.

After every deep exercise, you can relax more. Tension can be used only as a step towards relaxation; it is not a goal in itself. Many Hatha Yoga exercises are designed as if tension is the goal, and many Yoga teachers think tension is the goal; it is not.

Just the other day I was reading a book by Lenza Del Vasto. He is Italian and a disciple of Gandhi. He says never allow yourself any unoccupied moment: constantly do something. Even if you have nothing to do, walk, dig a hole in the garden, run but do something. Don’t just sit without doing anything, because then the mind will start working. If you are tired, the mind cannot think. But this is not a state of meditation. This is simply a state of exhaustion; it is not resting.

I also say work hard but the goal remains relaxation. Work so hard that you can relax deeply. If you don’t work hard you cannot relax deeply.

Work is not worship. Worship is always relaxation. Work is just a means to reach that relaxation where worship is possible, where deep gratefulness, prayer, meditation, is possible. But rest is the goal, not work. Love is the goal, not labor. The celebration is the goal, not duty. So this emphasis has to be remembered.

Whatsoever you are doing here is to help people to become happier, looser, more easy-going. It is to help them towards a deep let-go. That remains the goal of whatsoever is happening around me – that people should become capable of a deep sleep, of deep meditation, of deep relaxation. They should become capable of enjoying fun. They should be able to fool around. They should not be serious. Seriousness is a disease.

So while you are teaching Yoga, don’t be serious. When one is teaching people, one tends to become serious…because if you are not, people will think that the thing that you are teaching is not serious. Teachers become serious, long-faced, and they destroy young children.

Be laughing, be relaxed, because the whole goal is how to be able to play; how to be able to play without any motivation. There is no motivation, but the energy is there. The thing is now to delight in it. So remember!

Osho, Nothing to Lose But Your Head

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