I wanted to spend a little bit of time talking about yoga, what it is and what it means practice yoga, what it means to me… yesterday I started writing and here is what came through…
Yoga is like a tree with thousands of branches. Each branch grows towards the light of the same Sun and is nourished by its roots that are embedded deep within the darkness of the same Earth. The tree is nourished by both the darkness and the light; the worlds of the inner feminine and the inner masculine are united within the trunk of the tree, which, in turn, creates harmony and fusion throughout its entire body. The tree is a perfect symbol of Unity in Diversity, of Yoga amongst this myriad of ever changeable forces.
We can also think of the roots and branches as being the diverse limbs of Yoga. Each branch or root is ever connected to its Source, sprouted from the same seed and, although one may seem drastically different than the other, each are striving towards that same Source, Spirit or Divine.
The symbology of a tree is both inspiring and all encompassing. To fully examine it in itself could potentially lead on to an understanding of what Yoga is; to embody an experience of that Tree within ourselves and feel that Unity within every cell of our beings.
My purpose in likening yoga to a tree in this case though is more to convey that there are countless different paths that lead us through and to Yoga, and we can see this in the many different styles and schools of Yoga in today’s society. Some of these branches include Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga (as conveyed by Sage Patanjali), Jnana Yoga (Yoga of Higher Knolwedge), Karma Yoga (Awareness in Actions), Bhakti Yoga (Yoga of Devotion), Nada Yoga (Yoga of sound) and the list could go on and on.
Each and every one of these ‘branches,’ or even a combination of them, has the potential to lead us to the deepest Truth within ourselves. It is truly up to the practitioner and the attitude with which they approach the practice.
For me, a true Yogi is one who can see the validity in each of these paths, who embodies humility and doesn’t see one path as being ‘superior’ or more ‘special’ than another, but rather recognises that what is best for them, is not necessarily the way that suits all. With this view, we are able to be happily observe and accept as each individual unfolds in their own unique way with tolerance, understanding and faith, and without prejudice, knowing that each of us must forge our own unique path to Truth and non separateness.
Often when I am teaching, I look at the practitioners in the class and think to myself that not one of them are practicing the same yoga, even though it looks that way. The inner journey is different for each of them. As a practitioner, it is important to connect with our own inner guide or Guru. The tools we use to make this connection will be different for each of us. Remember; Unity in diversity.
Yoga is Vast. Its essence is all encompassing and unimaginably boundless. Therefore, a person who is Awakening or Awakened, who has never even heard of Yoga, but walks through life with awareness and evolution, is still a Yogi. Any path that works to expand or stretch us beyond our limited perceptions, is developing yoga.
For Yoga is Unity; Yoga is the realisation of Source, Spirit or Divine. It is the unification of the universal consciousness with the individual consciousness and it is the work that we do to become open and receptive enough that we may embody That.
Yoga is ever present, ever alive and shows itself to us in uncountable forms. In order to experience it we must discover and tools and develop the path that works for us, that speaks our own inner language and allow that to evoke a sense of presence and life within us. We must become both unshakeable in our center and ever adaptable amongst our dualistic, changeable environment. Yoga is our natural state. Whatever tools we use to surrender into our natural state are subjective; they work for us and lead us to truth, but are not ‘the only’ way.
As a wise sage said: ‘The Truth is One, the paths are many.’