This blog includes reflections, creative work and resources. It is a glimpse of one person's journey within the realm of inquiry, experience with the human body and spirit. Look for ideas rather than answers. No claims are made. Perfection is not implied. I write as inspired to do so. Take what works for you, leave the rest. If you share anything from this blog, either verbally or in writing, please do your best to give credit where credit is due. Thank you for visiting.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A few words about support on the path of Yoga

Read the next 2 words, then close your eyes for a minute as you reflect:

- Define Yoga -

What was your answer? What did you hear yourself say? What did you visualize?

Ready for the answer? Here is the definition in Sanskrit, then with English:

YOGAH=Yoga; CHITTA=of the mind-stuff; VRUTTI=modifications; NIRODHAH=restraint
The restraint of hinderance of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga.

In the late 90's I participated in my first more formal yoga training. It was an online program by Dr. VS Rao with The High-Tech Yoga Institute in Lowell, MA. The Yoga Sutras were an important part of the study. As with the example above, the text we studied was a word-for-word translation by Dr. Rao.

If you embrace Yoga as your path I encourage you to refer to the actual definition of Yoga. Keep coming back to it. Yoga clothes, studios, teachers, workshops, books, styles, videos, magazines, mats, blocks, straps, and the physical postures & practices themselves matter in that they are supportive tools. Each can have an important role but are not Yoga. Yoga is within you. Select and choose things, practices, activities and teachers to assist you on the path to a mind that fluctuates less.

Yoga is about PRACTICE and is not dogmatic. Develop enough discipline to keep practicing but I encourage you to keep it organic and flowing. Keep it in the NOW. In terms of asana and pranayama what was correct for you last decade, year, month, day, hour may need to be released in order for you to open and make way for what's next in supporting a stable mind. And if the outer is fixed, for example, in the form of practicing 1 particular asana or pranayama daily of course that is fine too. Keep it in the NOW. Many poses are named after sages who dedicated their practice time to the particular pose. If a more fixed outer practice is a functional tool for you, release expectation, the fruits of action and be open to inner revolution and the steady, perhaps subtle physical changes. One last time, keep it in the NOW.

These are the 4 Yoga texts which have supported my path:

Autobiography of a Yogi - Paramahansa Yogananda
Yoga Sutras - Patanjali
Bhagavad Gita - I like Graham Schweig's interpretation
Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle

I have read each many times. For me it is less about intellectually absorbing the material but rather experiencing wisdom, the essence, the message. I experience the lineage of the teachings. I am so grateful for every teacher who has passed along the information.

Eckhart Tolle does not present teachings as any particular tradition. That said, in my experience what he teaches is indeed Yoga. Yoga is basic spiritual knowledge found in all others traditions, just as Tolle presents the material. The beauty of Yoga is how complimentary it can be with other traditions. For example, if Jesus means everything to you, allow his image to be your drishti (gazing point) in concentration practice.

I could go on about Yoga but will leave you with the above for today. <3

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