This is Mircea Eliade sounding off in Yoga, Immortality and Freedom: “From the start [yoga’s] end is perfectly clear—to emancipate man from his human condition…The method comprises a number of different techniques (physiological, mental, mystical), but they all have one characteristic in common—they are antisocial, or, indeed, antihuman…The worldly man is “possessed” by his own life; the yogin refuses to “let himself live”; to continual movement, he opposes his static posture, the immobility of asana; to agitated, unrhythmical, changing respiration he opposes pranayama, and even dreams of holding his breath indefinitely; to the chaotic flux of psychomental life he replies by “fixing thought on a single point,” the first step to that final withdrawal from the phenomenal world which he will obtain through pratyahara. All of the yogic techniques invite to one and the same gesture—to do exactly the opposite of what human nature forces one to do…
To discipline his breathing, make it rhythmical, reduce it to a single modality…is equivalent to a unification of all the varieties of respiration. On the plane of psychomental life, ekagrata pursues the same end—to fix the flux of consciousness, to realize an unbroken psychic continuum, to “unify” thought. Even the most elementary of yogic techniques, asana, has a similar goal; for if one is ever to become conscious of the “totality” of one’s body, felt as a “unity,” one can do it only by practicing one of these hieratic postures. The extreme simplification of life, the calm, the serenity, the static bodily position, the rhythmical breathing, the concentration on a single point, etc. – all these exercises pursue the same goal, which is to abolish the multiplicity and fragmentation, to reintegrate, to unify, to make whole.”
He goes on—Eliade is a very wordy guy. But his basic thesis is plain: to practice yoga is to practice un-natural, even anti-natural acts…self-expression, so-called, plays no part in yoga. At least not the passing, impulsive, skin-deep, most readily-encountered self we call our personality. Beneath that, or beyond that, there is Something or Somebody that any real yoga practice is always pointing at and urging us toward. Even to glimpse it will take perseverance, patience, courage, detachment.
So—slow way, way down, stop all that jumping and shouting, get still, exhale. Do it again.