But what about the heavens ?

It is interesting to note that an entire fashion industry has evolved around yoga practice. I recently met a well known Ashtanga Vinyasa teacher who offers workshops and teacher training programs around the world. When we were discussing the various types of, so-called, yoga practices emerging these days (which have little to do with the original schemes of yoga) including beer yoga, goat yoga, ganja yoga, naked yoga etc., he said "wait a minute, there is one more kind that is really popular these days. It is Fashion Yoga".

While showing off newest apparel and gadgets certainly helps people to practice and get at least the physical benefits, the original goal of Yoga is to find deep fulfillment inside without relying on external objects, with the ultimate goal of getting liberation from the cycle of births and deaths called Samsara. Yoga practices offer methods to find deep inner satisfaction so that we do not rely on external pleasures to fill our void. So much so, in the Yoga Shastras, it is said that even the pleasure of attaining heavens is temporary because like the snakes and ladders game, when the luck (merit or Punya) runs out then there is a steep fall. No one captures this aspect as beautifully and in as funny a fashion as Swami Paramarthananda does, while illustrating one of the most beautiful shlokas in the Bhagavad Gita on the downfall that happens if heaven is our only goal. For more information on the Bhagavad Gita as a Yoga Shastra, please see here.