This past week has been a challenging one, no matter who you voted for. Many of us are still trying to process the outcome of the election and trying to envision what comes next. In challenging times, I am eternally grateful to have the tools of yoga to fall back on. This week, I was reminded of some teachings of yoga that I'd like to share with you. They are, for me, important steps when working through difficult experiences.Read More
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Filtering by Tag: yogic philosophy
I recently started taking dance classes again after a much-too-long, four-year hiatus. Returning to something that was a passion and a big part of my life has been a true joy. I didn't even realize how much I missed dancing until I was about, oh, 3 minutes into my first class back.
This experience and my exploration of svadhyaya (self study) in my classes this past week reminded me of this passage by Cyndi Lee:Read More
Have you ever heard the saying, when the student is ready, the teacher appears? I had one of those moments this week. I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on finding ease, lightness, and joy during times of stress, frustration, and uncertainty. I attended a meditation session on Friday where the teacher talked about a concept that, because of my reflections, I was primed to hear.
He talked about how we often say, I don’t know why, but I don’t feel good. Wouldn’t it be a beautiful thing if we could instead say more often:
I don’t know why, but I’m smiling.
Yoga could be thought of as the poses that we practice or it could be seen as a path to ending suffering — our own suffering and the suffering of others. I don’t know about you, but I think the latter is a much more valuable and meaningful practice to explore.
Yoga gives us 10 virtues or ethical guidelines (in the form of the yamas and niyamas) that we can use as tools or practices on our path to ending suffering. One of these is santosha, which translates to contentment.
Avoiding Suffering by Breaking Samskaras
Those of you who have been practicing with me for a while know that I believe yoga is a practice of developing self-awareness. Through the practice of yoga, we cultivate the ability to see ourselves more clearly. We slowly begin to uncover and understand our habits of behavior and patterns of thinking. In yogic philosophy, these patterns and habits are called samskaras.
Everything we do — every action we take, move we make, thought we think — leaves an impression, a samskara, on our minds and bodies. As yoga teacher David Yglesias puts it:
“Samskaras are like ruts on a muddy road. The more the wheel travels over them, the deeper the groove gets and the harder it is for the wheel, like our emotional tendencies, to break free from them.”Read More