Practicing yoga to gain power without inquiring into what you want power over is like saving up for a rocket-powered car to take you to a job you dislike.
Power, or control, is often the go-to tool in the human tool-belt. A desire (really, a thought and accompanying emotion) arises on its own, and we imagine it is “our” idea; Have you ever considered that thought as a spontaneous and unstoppable event, much like a heartbeat, is about as much “your thought” as is turning your head involuntarily to look at a flock of low-flying birds?
To the point – it is unhelpful really, to label the desire for power good or bad. Obviously, there are powers we want. We want the power to pick our children up in our arms, or the power to sustain patience when required. But the desire for power over our minds begs a question paradoxical to many of the practices of yoga. If it is true that we are, like an apple on a tree, somewhat distinct elements in an integrated and interdependent universe, who or what is it that lies outside this integration that can exert or benefit from control over?
The feeling of being at the mercy of X is probably the motivation for wanting control over Y. It is easy to see though, that we don’t really want to be an inmate or a prison guard.
Visualize an apple. Do you see an singular apple against a vacant background? Now visualize an apple growing on a tree – from invisible to the point where it drops, ripe, to the ground. At what point do you use a different name for the apple as distinct from the tree? Is an apple tree only called “apple tree” when ripe apples are about to fall, or is an apple tree always called an apple tree because of its potential to produce apples from the alchemy of sun, rain and earth?