Yoga As An Art
“Yoga is known by almost everyone as a philosophy or as a path, but very few know that yoga is also an art. No artist can define his own art; what art is can only be expressed through art itself, and not by words.
The sages of ancient times distinguished between knowledge of the world and knowledge of the soul. Knowing that man exists as a physical, mental and spiritual being, and realizing the importance of these three levels, they developed various arts to work on the trinity of man rhythmically, systematically and uniformly.
The six basic arts of Indian tradition are yoga, wrestling, archery, drama (including dance), music and economics. Arts can be of many kinds, including useful arts, healing arts, fine arts, performing arts and so on. The art of yoga embraces all these levels and is thus the fundamental art. Through yoga, the human being comes into contact with the soul; thus yoga is a spiritual art. Each asana has an exact geometrical and architectural shape; thus it is also a fine art. Yoga brings health and happiness to the practitioner; thus it is both a healing and useful art. When the beauty and harmony of the asanas are appreciated by onlookers, yoga also becomes a performing art.
Three qualities are required if one is to become an artist. One must have aptitude, or the ability to acquire mastery of the art; one must have tremendous love for one’s art in order to work on it with determination, effort and concentration, and one must have imagination and creativity to develop along new and unknown paths. What is known today was unknown yesterday. Every day there’s new knowledge, but the unknown remains vast because the universal is vast. The unknown is the area which artists must explore in order to refine their art. While living in a normal social environment, artists must at the same time show new vibrancy and bring about hitherto untapped transformations in order for their art to live.”
An excerpt from:
The Tree of Yoga