By Bhavan Kumar
In our modern society, art and science are viewed as opposites on the spectrum with a definitive line that runs through them. Yoga sometimes looks like an art, and at other times appears to be a science that stems from ancient wisdom and insight. So which one is yoga? Is yoga an art or a science? Could it possibly be both? In the ancient days, there wasn’t a barrier between art and science at all. The intuition and insight of the wise stemmed from their imaginative capabilities alone since they lacked the technology that we have today which enables us to see and confirm every little thing.
If they were to know about the workings of the body or the universe back then they would have had to have the imagination to think it a possibility. There was no other way. Those with incredible minds capable of conceiving ideas beyond what could be seen and touched filled in the blanks regarding the natural and spiritual world, and yoga was born from this insight.
Intuition and imagination are largely undervalued and under appreciated in our modern world of science, which only believes what it can count, measure and see. There is no need to guess when one can directly observe instead. Art is one area that still relies on insight and imagination in order for artists to create unique works of appealing art that strike a chord with the audience and without it, where would imagination and intuition be? Science may try to create calculated attempts to manipulate the senses but it’s just not effective. Art has soul.
The interesting thing about yoga is that it is the perfect marriage of science and art. The asanas are truly beautiful movements to behold and each one is a dance in its own right. Many of the yoga movements seem to simply be artful, with the point being beauty in the movement. Yet, when the yoga asanas are studied with the scientific knowledge of human anatomy and physiology we have today, the movements take on a completely new meaning. Each asana works the body perfectly, as if a computer had developed it especially to strengthen, lengthen or heal the human body.
Yoga is definitely both a science and an art, stemming back from a time when there was little difference between the two. Practicing yoga training serves to keep this ancient wisdom alive and well in the present day, ensuring its enjoyment for generations to come.
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