Yoga: A Simple Reminder
Written by Amanda Whittal.
Even in the midst of these sunny days of summer, it is easy to get lost. We can so easily get swept up in the busyness, the 'doing' of life, and simply forget to 'be'.
You may or may not be aware that the purpose and goal of yoga has been morphed, re-interpreted and presented in myriad forms since making its debut in North America. Today, I invite you to explore its definition as one of expanding consciousness, and how it applies to your life.
What I am seeking to do here is provide you with the fundamental basis of a practice, as it was traditionally intended, so for those who wish to delve in for the first time, or those who merely want a method for coming back to our calm essence when life takes over, there is solid foundation of understanding on which to rest.
We are multidimensional beings. Different aspects of ourselves manifest on physical, mental, emotional and energetic levels. Your yoga practice, when done mindfully, can serve to develop an ever-increasing awareness of these facets, but it does not end with the cessation of asana, breath or meditation. Rather, yoga has the potential to become a lifestyle, a practice that moves beyond the mat to infuse each moment, never separate from daily life.
The root of this path of self-discovery is cultivating 'Witness Consciousness' an awareness of taking the time to witness your experience not with judgment or expectation, but with compassionate self-acceptance. The value in this is that you become increasingly comfortable with the physical, mental and emotional sensations of being fully human, allowing yourself to take in their entire spectrum, without becoming identified or overwhelmed by them.
In our present world, days and lives are laden with criticism, self-destruction, struggle, addiction, detachment from the language of our heart... all behaviours signaling a severe disconnection with ourselves, and a lack of self-love.
Yoga asserts that we are born perfect, pure and whole, and seeks to re-establish our union with this truth. As we grow and move through the inevitable challenges of life, we form often-unconscious patterns of defenses, cutting ourselves off from this vital reality.
One needs only to observe the sparkle in a child's eyes and radiance of their being to realize that this perspective is not one that is new, but that is buried deep within us as adults and crying out to be remembered and heard. When you begin to do this, you bring balance into your life, consciously maintaining the purity and love of childhood, while simultaneously integrating it with the sophistication and intelligence of adulthood. Thus, you re-connect mind and body, head and heart, and enjoy what it is to be fully alive; leaving no stone unturned, no part of yourself forgotten.
Your choice of style, location, or time of yoga practice, is irrelevant for cultivating this attitude, pick what resonates. I strongly encourage you to try developing a witness state with each practice by connecting to your body and breath, stepping outside the regular judgments and expectations of your mind to experience things, as they are, with acceptance. Know that your mind will put up a fight, that it will be difficult to tame. It's okay. That's what it does. Don't judge that either, just notice it, and come back to your breath. Surrender to and embrace the process as it unfolds for you and your unique place in life. Let this way of being carry you through the unending activities of daily life.
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