Energy is the cornerstone of the yoga teachings. Many meditation teachings insist that to rise above body-consciousness one should ignore the body altogether. In so doing they demonstrate philosophical purity, but fall short of rational clarity. The fact is, we cannot afford to ignore the body. We must eat to stay alive. We must breathe, sleep, and in many ways respond to the body’s needs. Even if our goal in life is to meditate, we may as well accept that our bodies are real to us in our present state of existence. They can be ignored only at our peril.
An airplane pilot, before flying, may be mentally already soaring in the heavens, but he knows that to fly safely the essential parts of his plane must be checked carefully to make sure they are functional.
Vagueness in meditation produces vague results. Similarly, vagueness in our interaction with the body produces only vague success in our attempts to rise above body-consciousness. Better than ignoring the body is to understand how body-consciousness obstructs meditation, and then to remove the actual cause of that obstruction.
Energy is the link, usually missed, between body and mind. For lack of awareness of the energy, many meditators never get off the ground, metaphorically speaking. That is why Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, addressing this particular controversy, says, “O Arjuna, be thou a yogi!”