How I experience the yogic philosophy within my yoga practice
For me, I refer to the destination (yoga) as a dynamic state of interaction between mind, body and spirit. The yogic state is one of pure interest in the present moment, within it the sensitivity towards the up and down, like and dislike, push and pull, the in and the out. The journey into the up, down, like, dislike, in and out reveals all the habits I have picked up as I’ve grown from a young baby into an adult. I begin to see the forces that dictate my behaviour, words and energy that create the personality I interact with the world through, the tinted glass though which I perceive the world. My practice involves residing in the space that is aware of the effects of action, thought and energetic exchange on those I am in relationship to.
“Yoga is the space between 2 opposing forces that reveal the 3rd all encompassing force”
An open palm invites relationship, so too does an open body and mind
For many years I practiced with a teacher whom had a long term devotion to Tai chi. I, in turn became deeply interested in the practical application of Tai Chi. One definition of Tai Chi refers to the interplay of contrasting categories; soft and hard, light and dark, yin and yang. In terms of my yoga practice; I use softness to overcome hardness. In relation to yogic philosophy, the act of letting go (softening my grip;e.g an excessive attachment to a muscle or, or a rigid holding to an ideal) releases me from practicing positionality. Holding any rigid stance, physically or mentally means I cannot join with other, and limits the depth of connection requirred for loving relationship. I feel the level of awareness I develop here directly affects the way in which I relate to myself and others in terms of form means of expression, differing opinions etc. I ve found its only when I begin to let of attachments-be with the discomfort that voices itself as, through the tightness in my spine during morning practice that brings insight into the type of relationship I have with myself and others. Another example would be my recent attempt into cutting out sugar. Its only as I stop eating sugar that I see the the state of mind that leads me to crave sugar in the first place. Sugar is simply my response to a discomfort that arises in me that I would rather supress with a sugar high than sit with and work through to release. The same softness within my practice also allows me to feel the space in-between 2 points. In relation to yogic philosophy I am referring to the 3rd heart. The space between 2 people, the energy arising as these 2 things interact. This space unconsciously contains both parties agendas, hopes and fears. As responses arise I often check in with myself: what are my intentions, what am I asserting/imposing/seeking, what am I holding that position, what does it give me? Or How does it separate me? Instead a relaxed interest in the exchange allows me to see connection and move with love as opposed towards separation. I have many attachments I attempt to lessen and dissolve over time and therefore my practice is a consistent re affirmation of this intention. It is my awareness that reveals the attachments I have, and the familiarity in recognising the physical and mental muscles that contract and grip and therefore also have the potential to release.
My level of interest in simply experiencing the present moment rather than forcefully dictating a result means I can lessen my investments in duality, division, tension, conflict and instead join lovingly with what life is presenting at that moment. I am no longer pinned down by the mental construct of time, the ego’s desire to impress another, to be this and never that. No aversion or preference of one thing over the other. Just simple observation of my personality’s response to them both. In this witnessing space, I don’t get pulled off centre by attaching to positions such as liking or disliking, indulging in comfort or avoiding discomfort, I practice feeling what arises but am not being overwhelmed by it. Sometimes I can be overwhelmed if attachments are strong and old but as time goes on, these reactions last hours instead of days, seconds instead of minutes. Through this aspect my practice offers me the chance to reside within my own centre. Through being able to empathise and relate to 2 polar opposite ways of perceiving events I find I develop a wider perspective increasing my ability to relate to opinions, or responses to an object, event or stimulus that differ from my own. I also often find an emotional commonality regardless of the different ways emotions are expressed. For me this connects me to others, I feel compassionate towards the others as I know we are all expressions of each other, shaped by up bringing, and form.
In the space inbetween I connect to something far greater than I. It is in this space the potential to feel and connect to everything and everyone is found.
I come back to my practice because the space interests and nourishes me with insight, the chance to connect with everything around me and within me. Its all encompassing, edgeless-ness and embracing potential invite me to live with a sense of relaxed interest rather than exhausting attempts by my limited mind (only knowing what my life has presented me with) at controlling this unrestricted unlimited incredible thing called life. This relaxed interest presents the opportunity to truthfully enter a conscious relationship with life.