Physical exercise will not bring you Yoga of the mind.

Acharya Prashant
5 min readMay 25, 2020

Following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant during the annual Myth Demolition Tour in Rishikesh, India.

Questioner: Rishikesh is considered to be the capital of yoga. We would like to listen from you, what is your definition of yoga?

Acharya Prashant: It has to start from your definition of yourself, right? If you are convinced that you are the body then your yoga has to be physical. If you are utterly convinced that you are nothing but the material body then what else can yoga be for you? Something bodily.

But if your primary place is the mind, if your primary concerns are not physical but mental then you have to address yourself as the restless mind.

Let’s say you have a sore knee or an inflamed back or a frozen shoulder then you have no choice but to go for the physical kind of yoga. Because your trouble itself is physical, so the solution has to be physical, right? Right now, I needed water, had he offered me Ramayana that would have not helped me. My problem was my throat, not my soul, so my throat needed this material water and I got it — Thanks. So if my knee needs some help or support then the kind of physical yoga we mainly see in Rishikesh is obviously the right thing.

But let’s observe the condition of most people. Let’s look at mankind in general. We are talking of the 21st century, today. Are our problems primarily physical anymore or are we all victims of a neglected, ignored, restless mind? We have to figure that out for ourselves. Today we have both: great advancements in medical science and great advances in industrial production, and the availability of goods and services to be consumed. If indeed you have a problem with your body then most of those problems can be taken care of by medical science. Obviously not all problems are purely physical, a lot of them are psychosomatic. So if you want to really address them you are required to heal the mind as well.

But still when it comes to an inflamed knee medical science does have a few answers. Nevertheless, if medical science does not have answers, you can try Hatha Yoga. But where does the bulk of mankind’s problem lie? Are we all sufferers of our physicality or is it so that body wise we are almost…