Thoughts on Yoga Philosophy

As I continue my education as a teacher and a student of yoga, I find there are things that I’d like to share.  Different discoveries and insights have given me new ways of thinking about yoga and my own life.

In a recent teacher training, my teacher and fellow students were discussing  the Western focus of yoga being of asana (postures) versus philosophy.  It came down to simply this:  While many practitioners may start off with asana practice, over time, things start to change more on the inside.   Our focus turns inward, subtle changes occur, maybe through diet and what we put in our bodies or how we think about the world and how we treat others.  Even if we come to this as a way of bettering our physical appearance, over time, our lives start to change in ways we couldn’t have expected. 

A lot of experiences are like those from students as documented in the book Meditations from the Mat by Rolf Gates & Katrina Kenison:

“Yoga was physical for me at first, but it is not that physical now.  I t taught me that I need to continue to work on myself.  I thought it would be too selfish….but with yoga practice new things come up all the time.  I have a new awareness.”

“I have been physical, but also very competitive, all my life.  Yoga was the one area in my life where I didn’t compete.  I’ve settled into being a student. I am willing to learn, but it’s not about getting better, or better than the person next to me.  Now I admire the other students for their dedication.  Yoga has cleared my mind, and my decision making is better.”

“Yoga makes me feel more like taking care of myself, so I am more conscious of what I put into my body, and I am more present, more aware of how things are affecting me.  I feel more committed to taking care of myself.”

As we move into the Holiday Season, I invite you to turn within.  Take time out to do a short practice if you can, or two minutes to just shut the eyes and focus on your breath.  Take some time to look over the past year and see what positive things occurred, what you would like to change, what small things can you do for yourself in the coming year.  Take time to breath and enjoy yourself, even if for one small moment. 

Toe Eyes

I stand on my head
To see you through my toes
I breathe in through my nose
Gravity is my best friend
Keeps me grounded when
I feel like my legs
Are falling from me
I stand on my head
To see you through my toes
This is how we flow
Between asana sequences and glasses of red wine
I write poetry by candlelight
Because it feeds my insides
I stand on my head
To see you through my toes
Twist and unravel
Warrior stances
And moon dances
Laughing
At being sore the next day
From a class I wasn’t ready to take
I stand on my head
Stare at you with my toes
The feet are a gateway to the soul.

by Hawah © 2010 The Poetry of Yoga and The Everlutionary Trust

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s