by Guest Blogger & Yoga Dublin Teacher Naomi Sturdy
Whether you have been going to Yoga classes for a long time or you have just started, at some point you may have heard your teacher refer to some of the philosophical aspects of the practice.
You may be aware that more than just being a physical practice there are many texts written which outline and explain the philosophies behind all the movements that you do in your everyday class.
Even the word philosophy can sound heavy and loaded and it can seem a little daunting to get your head around! But if we think of it as inspiration, as motivation, as information to help us get our heads around some of our own questions that may come up. I explained in my class this morning that I see the philosophy as the bed rock of the practice, the place where everything else can grow from, like the roots of a tree.
We don't have to get bogged down with details but we can recognise the value of what all these Yogis and ancient sages spent years contemplating to offer us some more depth. I sometimes think of it like poetry or daily quotes that you might read. When I feel disillusioned or uninspired or unmotivated, I turn to the Yoga philosophy to reinvigorate and rejuvenate.
It sure is good to move our bodies, to strengthen and to create space and likewise every so often we need a little more, we need some time to reflect and find meaning.
In Yoga, a lot of what the philosophy boils down to is ‘Freedom’. All of our practice is directed towards gaining this sense of freedom, a sense of realisation of our true self, our true purpose. In moments of this experience, people call it epiphanies. Over a period of time it could feel like a state of Flow. You could call it enlightenment or what Maslow referred to it as Self Actualisation.
The great news is that you already have all the potential, you already have the possibilities to shine, to feel free, to find flow. According to Patanjali, we just have to let those qualities be revealed. Suffering is caused when we cannot see this truth, when we get lost in negative thoughts or actions and a smaller view of ourselves.
2.23 sva-svami-saktyoh svarupa- upalabdhi-hetuh samyogah
The inability to discern between the temporary, fluctuating mind and our own true Self, which is ¬eternal, is the cause of our suffering, yet this suffering provides us with the opportunity to make this distinction and to learn and grow from it, by understanding the true nature of each.
The Yoga philosophy and teachings just like the physical aspects of Yoga can give us a medium through which we can use our suffering, our challenges and obstacles to learn how to tap into and become aware of our own true Self and to feel connected to our own well spring of awesomeness!
Most of us do not want to be told what to believe and I think thats why the philosophical aspects can seem ‘a bit too much’ or ‘not for me’ but if we can see philosophy as keys or tools, its more about taking what helps you, using what makes sense at a given moment in time. You can use another tool to help tap into a sense of growth and learning, another key to help open a gateway to understanding or sense of awareness.
At the end of the day its about doing what we all want to do and that is enjoy ourselves, our lives to the fullest and share that with those around us.
‘The success of Yoga does not lie in the ability to perform postures but in how it positively changes the way we live our life and our relationships.”
Want to Learn More?
Naomi is hosting a 3-part Yoga Immersions Series in Yoga Dublin, Ranelagh where you can go to advance your physical practice.
The immersions will give you tools for progressing and challenging yourself and doing all that while learning a little more about the philosophy behind Yoga and how that is relevant.
To be included: Fun, movement and learning!
Book into a Yoga Immersions Workshop