Throughout the centuries of Yoga practice, not only in our age, but since the dawn of Yoga, practitioners have been caught up with some idea or another of what yoga can do to help them “make friends and influence people”. And one of them is that meditation, the practice of asana, etc., can give you powers (siddhis). I’ve always been quite skeptical of that notion and have been vocal on occasion. Through my years of dedicated practice, I have never come across anyone who could actually do what they said they could (levitate for instance) or have never experienced it myself. What I did experience is a shift in the visceral feeling of my body which is probably the burgeoning connection of body-mind; a leveling out of my emotional body, a form of contentment, where now sadness is really sadness, happiness really happiness, anger is really anger, hurt is hurt; and a shift in body-mind consciousness, a taste of non-duality.
This became apparent slowly through years upon years of practice. My practice of either asana, meditation, and pure present-centeredness did not come without struggles, disillusionment, frustration and in some instances, real joy. It was a quiet unfolding which after years of arduous practice, on a retreat (my last at this particular place) something was revealed to me which altered everything and life has never been the same. The practices of Yoga can transform you and draw you in to catch a glimpse of Non-Dualistic reality, our true condition.
Yoga is not Magic; it’s Alchemy. It will not give you powers. You’re not about to bi-locate (although that would be fun), turn someone into a toad, or make the one you love yours just because you did an hour of asana, and some meditation. In fact, it won’t happen at all (but only for those who are to be true adepts). And if someone claims to be a great yogi because they can do such things, turn around and run! Yoga unfolds and unravels you slowly without a tremendous amount of hoopla!
Yoga is Alchemy where, like the quest to transmute lead into gold, your practice is the flame which transforms the raw material of – your body, emotions, and thinking mind into the Diamond body. To fan the flame of your practice, you immerse yourself into no-mind which together with the breath is the fuel for the flame. As Georg Feuerstein says: the traditional purpose is the radical one, not the one for the pursuit of a good looking body and becoming forever young, but rather, where the use of asana is to assist the development of the transubstantiated body – the Diamond Body (…no it doesn’t have “yoga butt”). But, he says, there are very few of us who have the determination and stamina to develop this mastery of the practice. Because of this – Are we left with what he calls “garden variety yoga”? No luckily we’re not. Through asana practice, one can “taste” the existence of non-duality, which is essentially like Samadhi. We can flow in and out of this state . It’ll happen, whenever it is to happen. You have no control over it, can’t predict it or plan it. Although, if in fact you do have expectations of developing some extraordinary powers, they will surely be shattered or dissolved – depending on the strength of the expectation. With sincere and constant practice, self-evaluation and observation; engaging in alchemy with the breath and no-mind, one can achieve this state and experience our true condition, the Non-Dualistic Nature of Reality. This is the true Magic of Yoga.