We are taught nowadays that the miracle of the world’s ecosystem is its balance, a balance which modern man is fast destroying by deforestation, pollution, over-consumption. This is because when man becomes unbalanced, he seeks to change not himself but his environment, in order to create the illusion that he is enjoying health and harmony.
In winter he overheats his house, in summer he freezes it with air-conditioning. This is not stability but arrogance. Some people take tablets to go to sleep and tablets to wake up. Their life has the rhythm of a pingpong ball.
The student of yoga who learns to balance himself internally at every level, physical, emotional and mental, by observation of paksa and pratipaksa, frees himself from this hellish to-ing and fro-ing and lives in harmony with the natural world. Because he is stable, he can adapt to outside changes.
The flexibility we gain in asana is the living symbol of the suppleness we gain in relation to life’s problems and challenges.
BKS Iyengar, Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, II.33
Central heating, air conditioning, cars that we take out to drive three hundred yards, towns that stay lit up all night, and food imported from around the world out of season are all examples of how we try to circumvent our duty to adapt to nature and instead force nature to adapt to us. In the process, we become both weak and brittle......Ultimately, when all the sheaths of the body and all the parts of a person coordinate together while performing an asana, you experience the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind and also freedom from afflictions.
BKS Iyengar, Light on Life, Chapter 2.