Attending yoga classes has become quite popular around the world. Many yoga classes are limited to yogic postures (asan, asan) and breathing exercises developed by the ancient yogis for regulating the vital energies in the body (pranayam, pranayam) . So from the perspective of spiritual growth what is the benefit of attending yoga classes that are limited to yogic asanas and pranayam ?
Spiritual research undertaken by SSRF has revealed that if one just does yogic asanas and pranayam, it is insufficient to achieve spiritual growth. Yogic asanas and pranayam only purify the gross body (sthula-deha, sthula-deha) and the vital energy body (prana-deha, prana-deha) respectively, that is increase the Sattva component in them.
The following chart shows the average spiritual purification that happens across the various bodies of our existence after undertaking yogic asanas and pranayam.
From this chart you can see that benefit from yogic asanas and pranayam is mainly limited to the physical and vital bodies. For example by yogic asanas the physical body would be spiritually purified up to 20% by an increase in the Sattva component, but for this it would take 10 years on an average.
Increasing the Sattva component in the more subtle-bodies such as the mind, intellect and subtle-ego will require a more subtle-type of spiritual practice (sadhana, sadhana ))))). Moreover the purification achieved in the physical and vital bodies by yogic asanas and pranayam can occur by following other paths of spiritual practice as well. Hence from a spiritual growth point of view yogic asanas and pranayam by themselves are inadequate.
It is important to add that there is no connection between purification of the body and the destiny to be experienced by it. For example if a person is destined to sustain an accident, or develop some muscle disease like a degenerative myopathy, just having done yogic asanas is not going to prevent it. Purification of the body however increases the tolerance of the body to face its destiny.
One of the objectives of spiritual growth is to attain a higher plane of existence like Heaven (Swarga) , Maharlok , Janalok, Tapolok or Saptalok after death. Even to attain the subtle-region of Heaven, which is the lowest among the aforementioned positive regions in one’s afterlife each of the various bodies of our existence mentioned in the above table should be at least 50% pure. Refer to the article – Where we go after death.
However yogic asanas and pranayam are useful in worldly life to make the physical body and vital body healthy, especially to those who are unable to follow other paths such as Path of Meditation or Path of Devotion.