Did you get that? Can you make that shift in perspective?
Ethical yoga is a process aimed at changing the dominant culture of MIND. Awareness is cultured toward freedom. Freedom from a mindset that keeps us in the rat wheel of 'everything either being good or bad, right or wrong, something to be desired or something to fear.' A yoga practice is not meant to be a process of just tidying and renovating our personal prison cell (mindset). Yoga is meant to bust us out of the prison of self-doubt and delusion that binds us to unhappiness.
For yoga to function as a practice of liberation, our learning context trains us to examine our attitudes. Whilst we are working in postures we must learn to watch our mind for the judgements: the manifestation of desires and the leering mind of fear and shame.. (in yoga these judgements are studied as vrttis and kleshas) and they manifest in all of us.
When we can witness the characteristics of mind (fluctuations or vrttis), and shift the intention of practice to make these ‘fluctuations’ 'objects' rather than ornaments; at that point, our yoga practice changes us. The mental forces that bind us to unhappiness are weakened. Fears and desires, delusions and imaginations, are no longer dictators and back seat drivers in our lives. We stand in the power of our own presence and act from a place of inner wisdom. We create space for our Self.
When our mind set is toward the body as an ornament, we tend to engage with it in ways that glorify performance. Actions inherently serve no practical purpose. Whereas when we engage with the body as an instrument, we are concerned with the capacity of the instrument to harmonize within its context or circumstance. We understand that what is being expressed through the body is in fact the Self. Within nature, there is an eternal expression of wisdom. Our manifest nature; our body and small mind self, act as a playground where a yogi learns to relate to the eternal wisdom. We play with gravity, relational forces, anchors, extension, space. We develop concentration and accuracy of perception. Practice trains the mind in concentration and becomes the gateway to meditation.
Facing the Gestapo at his door, the man spoke with confidence and authority, “No Jews here”. The man was of course lying. A family of Jews had been living in the basement for many months. An exploration of why internal clarity and inner authority is necessary to navigate life.
Due to poor balance I had never consider yoga was for me as the images most often seen in posters and magazines show perfect bodies with amazing balance. October 2014 a few weeks before my 71st birthday I walked into my first yoga class. I have been asked “is it worth all the effort at your age?" My answer is “YES” yoga is even more important as we age. Seniors have experienced a life time of stress, raising a family, paying the mortgage, working at our chosen careers as well as balancing a family household. We have all experience grief, loosing grand parents, parents, aunts and uncles now at age 76 I am loosing cousins and life long friends. Our bodies have endured a life time of wear and tear from injuries, poor posture due to sitting and working at desks and repetitive actions such as housework and gardening.Yoga is ideal for all seniors even those with physical limitations, in our classes it can be quite normal to have several variations of a pose to suit individual needs. Learning to work with your body not against it is the same challenge regardless of age. Nursing several old injuries I do not want to add to them, I am very grateful to have well qualified teachers who are attentive to my needs and dedicated to keeping all students safe whilst practising. Yoga is not a quick fix for all ailments, I still experience some back and ankle discomfort but now rarely need to take pain medication. Today I am sleeping more soundly but occasionally still have a restless night. My time management has improved although at times I still talk to myself and loose focus. The big difference is I feel I am in control of my afflictions they are not controlling me. I am coping better and with my regular yoga practise I hope to prevent my health concerns from becoming chronic. Hopefully I can reach savasana with less suffering and with more dignity than my mother. Joan
Yoga is a state of Being and the journey to awaken into this state is regular practice over a long period of time. Our pricing system supports this understanding.