Why I Practice Yoga

My day-to-day life is consumed with doing yoga, thinking about yoga, and reflecting on how to instruct yoga most effectively in order to serve my community through its teachings. Often my practice, my thoughts, and my reflections are different from day to day.  Every day I ask myself,

Why do I practice yoga?   What is important about this?  Why do I teach?

image natarajThere is no simple answers to these questions because the answers are always changing.  I am constantly moving from reason to reason from week to week, month to month.  That is because of what I believe to be the nature of yoga.  I see yoga as creation.  And creation is movement, becoming consciously one with the flow.  I love this flow.  I am this flow.  I believe that nothing is real except for this pulsation, this movement, what is called in sanskrit Spanda.

As I discussed in the blog post “What is Yoga?”,  yoga means union.  As a verb, union is used to describe an action of bringing together.  For me, yoga is more a verb than a noun, yoga is the question, not the answer.  To act, to bring together, to unite, to yoke with all the possibilities of any one question and be aware of it all together as one large fabric of consciousness, this is my yoga.  I do yoga as a way to remember that there is no answer, only questions.  

I practice yoga because I cherish the ability to step into the diverse possibilities that can exist at any one moment and become aware of the larger perspective, stepping out of the birds-eye-view of my individual experience, sensing the richness beyond my individual consciousness.   My yoga practice is about being still, at peace with, and celebrating the diversity and abundance of all.

Today, I practice yoga to align with the abundance of my higher Self.  To me, to “know the Self” means to divest in the goal and invest in the process.  The Self is not a thing that we get to known one day and say, “yup, I am here, I’ve got it.  Game over.”  To know the self is to evolve, it is a journey of personal growth.  This for me is such a relief.  There is no need to strive for greatness.  Being ordinary can lead us to total acceptance and end the search for something extra.  whew!

What is known as ‘realising the mystery’, is nothing but breaking through to grab an ordinary person’s life. 

Self-growth is who I am, and is what I want most from practicing  yoga.  I am a human “self-growing” being.  I am movement, I am change, I am the journey.

My opinion is that we as individuals are never one thing or another.  Titles we put on ourselves, ways we describe ourself in our personal biography, the story we tell ourselves and our loved ones about how we are, all these descriptions are illusions of the mind.  Life is a journey, a metamorphosis, and the words we use to describe ourselves change.  Unnecessary limitations happen and blocks in our lives are created when we acknowledge the Self as the story we tell.  The Self is many things and at the same time is everything and nothing!

I will close this post with a great quote from a Tantric philosophy teacher, as he can say it better than I can!

The only truth is the nature and content of the specific individual experiences themselves.  Everything else is a story being told about these experiences.  So, what type of question does not miss the point?  Perhaps one that addresses how and why we represent our experiences within a given narrative about them, and whether or not that narrative is serving us well.  For each narrative about the past shapes our experience of the present.  While it is true that some narratives better approximate reality than others, the primary value narratives have lies in their usefulness for helping us create the world we want to live in.  When they are not doing that, their value is questionable.

So like everyone, you have sold yourself a set of stories about how things are and how you are.  The Real canont be adequately captured by language, and therefore all attempts to do so are approximations that have a relative utility.  An approximation is useful insofar as it ultimately leads you beyond language to an experience of reality, which is itself a wordless, immediate state of personal revelation.

Christopher Wallis, “Tantra Illuminated.”



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