There’s a fundamental conundrum in our journey as yogis. It's the fact that we are embodied spirits. We have a finite life, a body, an individual identity with its personality and preferences. At the very same time, yoga tells us, we also have a mystical, expansive, sublime, and ultimately infinite nature. Both are truths.
Spiritual wisdom, therefore, is also always paradoxical because it reflects this dual-perspective on human existence and our journey toward self-knowledge as essentially a dance, like the swing of a pendulum, between the two polarities of body and spirit, fleeting and eternal, mundane and sacred.
As long as we are alive, the essential paradox of being an “embodied spirit” might never fully be resolved. And that’s okay. In yoga we are asked to get comfortable with it, and even celebrate it. We recognize the absolute, transcendent, unchanging nature of our being, while simultaneously embracing the reality of our relative, everyday existence. This includes, of course, the physical body. Yoga is a journey where we use the mundane to know the spiritual. In practice, we employ the mind and body to nurture an experience that is beyond both mind and body. For this simple reason, practice at its essence is a dance between opposites. Skillfully navigating the play between the polarities of our existence is at the heart of yoga practice.
Indeed, the original promise of yoga was the possibility of Jivanmukti, becoming a liberated soul. From the start, the idea that the transcendent essence within the human being could be known in this lifetime, in this very body was the goal of yoga. Out of this vision arose a set of practices and teachings, all based on this basic idea that one could experience freedom from the confines of the body and the temporal world while still inhabiting both.
Even if this is not our particular goal for practice, I think all of us, on some level, do yoga as a way to restore a more expanded awareness of ourselves. We may or may not recognize that as a mystical, sacred essence. Nevertheless, I think one of the more intangible, yet precious, benefits of practice is that it helps us remember that we are somehow part of something bigger than our ordinary sense of ourselves, and that we are more that just what our minds tell us.
One of the most unique skills we develop as yogis is the ability to traverse the polarities of our existence as embodied spirits, as both individual beings and universal awareness. This dichotomy is especially apparent for those of us who use asana as a major part of our sadhana or part of our path of self-development. The idea of using the body to explore the spirit, of fully inhabiting our physicality for the sake of going beyond it is fascinating, isn't it? It's one of the reasons why posture practice is especially potent. Through it, we have the opportunity to actually embody spirit, to cultivate the transcendent within our very flesh and bones.
FREE WEBINAR! April 13, 12-1pm EST
Registration is free and you'll receive a download of my 16-page Guide to Home Practice as a free gift as soon as you sign up.
Are you ready to reinvigorate your yoga this spring and really make a consistent, satisfying practice part of your life?
In the 25 years I've been practicing yoga, I've encountered all kinds of challenges to making practice happen! And, I've found many creative ways to continue and even increase my interest and enthusiasm for yoga in my life. In this webinar I will show you how to breakthrough resistance and challenges to finally love your independent practice because you are doing exactly what you need to be doing to feel great in your body and inspired in your life.
In this free, one-hour webinar I'll share:
- The top 10 challenges to practice and how to overcome them
- How to practice in a way that really works for you
- How to recognize the gifts of your practice in your life right now
- What to practice whether you have 15, 30, 60 minutes or more
- Tips that work for getting to the mat and really making practice happen
And, I'll guide you in creating your own PERSONAL PRACTICE PLAN for the weeks and months to come. I'm so excited to share with you. Sign up and you'll immediately receive my 16-page Guide To Home Practice as a free gift! It includes sequences and a pose syllabus as well as lots of practical tips to support your curious, mindful and transformational engagement with your yoga practice!
UPCOMING MONTREAL SERIES: Evolving Your Yoga at Happy Tree, Westmount
Thursdays, 7:45-8:45pm, April 14 - May 18, 2017
I'm very excited to be offering this new series! These weekly sessions will include interactive and stimulating discussion, practical exercises and juicy inquiry into your yoga practice. Each week I'll be presenting new and transformative approaches to your practice and offering you simple, practical and effective ways to infinitely expand the benefits of your yoga - whatever style you practice! Topics include:
- April 13 - Evolving Your Yoga: Principles for deepening, expanding and integrating practice
- April 20 - Mud to Lotus: Transformative Approaches to Practice
- April 27 - Finding Balance: Embracing the pairs of opposites
- May 4 - The 1 before the 0000s: Nurturing the Inner Relationship
- May 11 - Remembering Wholeness
- May 18 - Connecting to your Steady Centre
Cost: $108 for the full 6-week series or $22 for individual sessions (plus taxes)
Interested but out of town? I'll be opening a few spots for a web-based version of this series later in the spring. Contact me if you're interested in participating.