Is yoga meant only to remove structural disorders and emotional stresses and strains, or has yoga something more to offer?
In the beginning all of us are motivated to get rid of physical or emotional problems. When we get relief from these, why do we continue to practice? Is it just to tone the body, or is it to tune the mind? Through our practices, we gain some sight and understanding of the body and, to some extent, the sight of the mind also.
Ultimately, the aim of yoga is to have the sight of the soul – the seeker becoming one with the seer. This is called Atma darshana. So the question becomes, can we transform our lower motivations into higher level ones as we tone our bodies? Self-realization is an automatic process. There is no need to seek in the field of Atma darshana. If you know the known, the body, well that is Sharira darshana. If you observe the fluctuations and oscillations and stop them, you understand the mind. That is called Mano darshana, or sight of the mind. Then the seer comes to the surface automatically.
We normally practice as doers. When we begin to see and observe while doing, we may change our attitudes and feel something hidden expressing as an art. This becomes a source for the transformation of the physical and mental to the spiritual. As doers we have to learn to transform the physical body, the mental body, and the spiritual body to another level, not dependent on the day to day needs of life.
Ashtanga Yoga In Day to Day Life by BKS Iyengar
Excerpt from Yogapushpanjali