… [W]hen one sees the absolutely marvellous results of this culture, when one observes the extent to which the body is capable of perfecting itself, one understands how useful this can be to the action of the psychic being which has entered into this material substance. For naturally, when it is in possession of an organised and harmonised instrument which is full of strength and suppleness and possibilities, its task is greatly facilitated.
— THE MOTHER [CWM 10:30]
Few persons understand that generally they who are against this external discipline, this concentration on a material achievement like sports, are exactly the people who lack totally control over their physical being. But to realize the integral yoga of Sri Aurobindo, control of the body is one of the first indispensable steps. They who despise physical activities are people who will not be able to take a single step on the true way of integral yoga, unless they get rid of their despise first. The control of the body in all its forms is an indispensable basis.
— THE MOTHER [CWM 7:20]
From our experience we have found that a particular system of exercises cannot be stamped as the only yogic type of exercises and we cannot definitely say that participation in those exercises only will gain health because they are yogic exercises …. Any rational system of exercises suited to one’s need and capacity will help the participant to improve in health. Moreover, it is the attitude that is more important. Any well-planned and scientifically arranged programme of exercises practised with a yogic attitude will become yogic exercises and the person practising them will draw full benefit from the point of view of physical health and moral and spiritual uplift.
— THE MOTHER [CWM 12:287]
If the body is considered as the tabernacle of the Lord, then medical science, for example, becomes the initiatory ritual for service of the temple and doctors of all categories are the priests who officiate in the different rituals of the worship. Thus, medicine is truly a priesthood and should be treated as such. The same thing may be said of physical culture and of all the sciences dealing with the body and its working. And if the material universe is regarded as the external robe and manifestation of the Supreme, then it can be said, generally, that all the physical sciences are rituals of worship.
— THE MOTHER [CWM 15:374]
It is very obvious that those who practise physical culture scientifically and with coordination acquire a control over their bodies that’s unimaginable for ordinary people. When the Russian gymnasts came here, we saw with what ease they did exercises which for an ordinary man are impossible, and they did them as if it was the simplest thing in the world; there was not even the least sign of effort! Well, that mastery is already a great step towards the transformation of the body. And these people who, I could say, are materialists by profession, used no spiritual method in their education; it was solely by material means and an enlightened use of human will that they had achieved this result. If they had added to this a spiritual knowledge and power, they could have achieved an almost miraculous result.…Because of the false ideas prevalent in the world, we don’t usually see the two things together, spiritual mastery and material mastery, and so one is always incomplete without the other; but this is exactly what we want to do and what Sri Aurobindo is going to explain: if the two are combined, the result can reach a perfection that’s unthinkable for the ordinary human mind, and this is what we want to attempt.
THE MOTHER [CWM 9:86]