Yoga: More than just Exercise

Yoga is commonly misunderstood as mere physical exercises. It is, in fact, a process of self-awakening


“It is our right to be happy. We are born to be happy. We will live in happiness and in death too we shall be happy.” Yoga can lead the way to every individual’s happiness.

Real spiritual yoga starts with selfless service. If you are one who just donates a hefty sum every month to charity and believes you are doing something great, you are wrong. Merely donating will not give you happiness. Do physical seva [service to humanity]. Simply go to the nearest ashram, and physically help with their work. Sweep the floor, clean the toilets, serve food, mop, scrub, help in the kitchen work and gardening. You can also gather the local slum children, give them free tuitions, and teach them how to chant mantras. Whatever you decide to do, remember it has to involve physical energy. Even if you are old or afraid of physical exertion, shed your inhibitions and go for it.

Behind this physical exertion lies a great spiritual secret. As you do selfless physical service, your mind undergoes a silent transformation. As you remain engrossed in gross physical labour, the mental blockages are slowly removed; subconscious and unconscious conflicts are quietly solved. You will find new joy in your normal activities, and when you sit for meditation you will feel relaxed automatically. This is the approach to yoga that respected names like Swami Sivananda, Swami Satyananda, Swami Vivekananda and Swami Pranabananda teach.

Relationship Yoga

Forming a strong and beautiful relationship with your partner, children and family is important. A loving family leads to a calm mind and peaceful meditation. In your place of work, always be kind to your subordinates and treat them with respect and love. Don’t humiliate them. See to their problems and help them if possible. At home, be kind and just to your servants. Treat all birds, animals with respect and love, and that includes even the stray dogs and cats. Feed them if possible. If you are a teacher, be kind to your students and love them. A rude and insensitive bully can never have success in spiritual yoga even with mantra japa and pranayama.

Truth Yoga

The practice of truthfulness is the greatest virtue. Be truthful in your business dealings, in your office, at the market. If you believe, that after leading a dishonest, treacherous life and abusing power, you can compensate for it by spending millions at holy shrines like Tirupathi, Vaishno Devi, and Benaras Yagnas, you are mistaken. It will lead you nowhere. Simplicity and truthfulness will give you happiness and peace.

Cocktail is the Best

Add a little bit of Mantra yoga, a little bit of meditation, a little of pranayama and asana, a little of reading Gita, Kathamrita [Gospel of Ramakrishna], a little bit of Pratyahara, a little bit of selfless physical service and whip it up with kindness and respect to make a powerful cocktail.

Associate with Spiritual Yoga

Yoga is regaining its popularity. But we have mistakenly welcomed it as a mere physical exercise or at most a few pranayamas. We have to remember that the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads were not meant for back pain, migraine, rheumatism and diabetes. The physical wellbeing is just a byproduct. The body will perish no matter how healthy we are. Disease is inevitable. So whenever you practice yoga, go beyond asanas and pranayama – make it spiritual. It is only practical spiritual yoga that can lead to true happiness and fulfilment. For that, we need compassion and courage.

Practical Spiritual Yoga – A Simple Guideline

Seva Yoga

  1. Do something for the old and diseased, the poor, the needy, and the people in slums, for the physically and mentally sick.
  2. Go to any good ashram and work there for some time.
  3. Give your sweat and not just money.

Truth Yoga

Practice truth. Don’t try to be cunning and too clever in your dealings. Be truthful in office, business and home.

Kindness Yoga

Treat your subordinates, servants, students, family members, stray animals well. In this age of money power, political power, crime, corruption, terror, violence & multiplexes God still exists and watches all.

Mantra Yoga

Japa any mantra you like if you are not initiated. Every evening sit silently and for some time do a few rounds of any of the following mantras.

  1. Om Namah Shivaya
  2. Hare Rama Hare Krishna
  3. The Gayatri Mantra
  4. The Mahamrityunjay Mantra


Practice Yoga Nidra or Ajapa Japa. It is an extremely powerful tool in spiritual Yoga. Get a cassette or audio disk of Yoga Nidra and do it everyday.


Do Nadi shodhana Pranayama for 10 minutes and the Bhramari for at least 11 rounds everyday.


Do a few simple asanas to your liking. Include a stretching, a forward bending, a backward bending, a twisting, a balancing asana and Vajrasana in your daily programme. Do asana with awareness and not while watching TV.

Kirtan Yoga

Gather the local slum children and do kirtan with them. If you cannot sing pick the child who can sing and just follow him.

Study Yoga

Read the following books.

  1. The gospel of Ramakrishna [Kathamrita]
  2. The Bhagavad Gita
  3. The Autobiography Of a Yogi [Paramahamsa Yogananda]
  4. Books by Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh [Divine Life Society]
  5. Teachings of Swami Satyananda [Bihar School of Yoga]
  6. Books of Ramakrishna Mission
  7. Lives of Saints.

Magnifying lens over an exclamation markSpot an error in this article? A typo maybe? Or an incorrect source? Let us know!

Soham Bose
Soham Bose is a Yoga instructor, teaching at number of institutes including Don Bosco School, Park Circus, Birla High for Boys and Army Public School. He has started a Yoga foundation that teaches spiritual yoga.


  1. Ten minutes of kapalbhati will be excellent. But please do a little shavasana after that. Also check for contra-indications.


  2. hi
    iam vasanthi my weight is78kgs and height 5.3″
    so i want to reduce my wieght day by day or week by week or month by month iwant good instructor in tirupati.

  3. Well researched article. Congratulations.
    How about adding ten minutes Kapalbhatti to the Pranayama list

  4. Yoga indeed helping people to be more focused and effective in their vision. Thanks for sharing this with the readers of Complete Wellbeing!


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