Why is an old man fond of sex? Why does his age not come to his mind at all? If he sees a young girl, his mind will be wandering, even though he may have no physical capacity. What is the state of his mind? He would like to possess her, would he not? But ask him to do a little yoga, or something to maintain his health. ‘Oh, I am very old,’ he says! So the mind is the maker and the mind is the destroyer. You must tell the destructive side of the mind to keep quiet–then you will learn.

At a certain age the body does decay, and if you do not do anything, you are not even supplying blood to those areas where it was being supplied before. By performing asanas we allow the blood to nourish the extremities and the depths of the body so that the cells remain healthy. But if you say, ‘No, I am old,’ naturally the blood circulation recedes. If the rains don’t come, there is drought and famine, and if you don’t do yoga–if you don’t irrigate the body–then when you get drough r famine in the body as incurable diseases, you just accept them and prepare to die.

Why should you allow the drought to come when you can irrigate the body? If you could not irrigate it at all, it would be a different matter. But when it is possible to irrigate, you should surely do so. Not to do so allows the offensive forces to increase and the defensive forces to decrease. Disease is an offensive force; inner energy is a defensive force. As we grow, the defensive strength gets less and the offensive strength increases. That is how diseases enter into our system.

A body which carries out yogic practices is like a fort which keeps up its defensive strength so that the offensive strength in the form of diseases will not enter into it through the skin. Which do you prefer? Yoga helps to maintain the defensive strength at an optimum level, and that is what is known as health.