Updated: Jul 21
Yoga can be described in many ways, including a way to concentrate the mind, and a process to access a laser like focus of the mind through bodily postures, and more importantly, through the breath. In my own journey, I feel the more I know, the more I know I don't know about the power and potential of the human mind.
However, I do endeavour, through the process and refinement of my own practice to become an ambassador for the wisdom & truth shared through the ancient teachings, especially connected to the Kaivalydhama lineage through my dear teacher Sri O P Tiwari.
The most significant aspect of this vast field of Yoga, is that a sincere practice leads us towards the vast potential of the human mind, a knowledge the ancient yogis have passed down to us through the many ancient texts. These texts seem even more relevant today, especially in these times of divide and conquer - those elite few who would like to lord over others with their superiority. As yoga gives us all the tools to access the power within, it gives us the power and strength during the climate of "power over". Can we realise the truth that we all have the wisdom of the universe within us? Can we find the discipline to practice, focus and surrender to it?
The rich lineage of Kaivalydhama which we are deeply connected to, was set up by Swami Kuvalayananda in the1930's, where he pioneered scientific research into the practice of Pranayama and Asana. Swamiji was my own teachers' (Tiwariji) teacher. To have his blessings to hand down this knowledge has been an awesome task, but one that I accept with the honour it deserves.
Not many know that Swami Kuvalayananda taught Gandhi, who has to be one of the greatest leaders of peace in our history.
“Be the change” was his motto; no doubt inspired by the teachings of Swamiji, whose spirit lives on in the ashram and through the work at Kaivalydhama. Researching the effects of both the physical postures, and breath, of which I share on Trainings. May I also add that Tiwariji holds the highest position in Yoga in India, as the president of the Indian Yoga Association. The information shared on our Trainings are precious jewels from his wisdom, particularly the teachings of Pranayama and translations of the sutras. Krisnamacharya, who was Iyengar and Pattabhis Jois teacher, also studied with Swami Kuvalayananda. Swamiji was not into fame and fortune, so few actually know that the true source of his teachings have filtered through the teachings of many schools of Yoga today.
I have heard Tiwariji say so many times that his aim was never to dilute the message Yoga has for the body, the mind, and the whole of humanity. This wisdom could help lift us from states of fear, to higher states of consciousness to become free of the trappings of the ego, and move towards the wisdom of the heart (Buddhi). This is the message the second Yoga sutra teaches us, and is the true certification any yoga training should emphasise.
However, we are all a work in progress. Many of us have had to step over a few obstacles on our yoga path to connect with the intimate dance of breath and body, to truly connect with this moment to bring the light of our presence into the world.
To really connect deeply is to become aware of what is arising in any present moment. The first of obstacles (kleshas) on this path is the lack of awareness (Avidya). A sincere Yoga practice shines a light on our behaviours, one by one becoming more aware breath by breath, through the mirror of relationship with ourselves and others (Yamas and Niyamas).
The 8 steps (angas) of Yoga illuminates this path. The breath takes our attention inwards, (Pratyahara) and sharpens the focus of the mind so it is laser like. It builds concentration, until that pure presence becomes more sustained. We then spontaneously move into Dhyana (meditation), and is is the breath which is the easiest tool to slip into Dharana effortlessly. You may even begin to glimpse for a moment and come face to face with Yoga - Samadhi.
What is important is an awareness that Yoga is a vast ocean, and asana is but the tip of the iceberg. The real work is in the depths of this ocean; here we realise with single pointed awareness the behaviour of the mind (the chitta vrittis) and how they can be shifted by becoming more intimate with our breath, if we practice with sincerity (Tapas).
Yoga does ruin your life. However these words were expressed to me by the superhuman Richard Freeman, I now fully understand the full depth of his statement; your life will never be the same again. As you step towards the light, you can never go back into the darkness of lack of awareness (Avidya). When you see reality as it is, you cannot unsee it, and the importance of your part to play in the whole.
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