Yogi Gregor Maehle recently wrote this blog post called What is Authentic Yoga? It is a brilliant discussion of the diverse and often misunderstood practice of yoga, the ultimate goals of the practice, where Asana and the other limbs fit in, religion versus spirituality, and the perversion of Asana as "physical exercise" and still calling it Yoga. It is definitely worth reading in its entirety. I am copying some of my favorite parts below.
"...there are actually two different yogas out there. The authentic one that mainly deals with spirituality (and has health arising from harmony and wholeness as a side effect) and a new exercise regime that is only called yoga for namesake. This new so-called yoga has been castrated to such an extent that it can now be introduced pretty much anywhere because all ‘offensive’ aspects have been removed."
"There is an eternal, sacred core to each being and once this core has been seen, the individual can place itself in the service of humanity and the whole. It is to the search for this core, its cultivation and then the placing itself in the service of all beings that historical, true and authentic yoga was dedicated to."
"...And this is exactly what true yoga is about. It is not what a particular religion says about the experience but having the experience yourself, and the way and methods to get there."
"...Then Ramakrishna developed his teaching (as it was the teaching of the mystics of all ages) that THERE IS ONE UNDERLYING TRUTH AND ESSENCE IN ALL SACRED TRADITIONS OF HUMANITY. It is to this one underlying truth and essence that our practice must be dedicated. While there may be cultural differences in metaphor, these are only at the surface and once the mystic enters the mystical state, they all vanish."
Maehle's website is here. He is among the most advanced and authentic yogis I have come across.
This journal honors my ongoing experience with the practice, study and teaching of yoga.
1) Sridaiva Yoga: Good Intention But Imbalanced
2) Understanding Chair Posture
2) Why I Don't Use Sanskrit or Say Namaste
3) The Meaningless Drudgery of Physical Yoga
5) Beyond Bikram: Why This Is a Great Time For Ghosh Yoga