Yoga Musings - Evolved and Evolving
Updated: Apr 10
from THE Little YOGA Place
A living Word
The practice of YOGA, in its entirety, expands its practitioner in ways which are beyond perception, at the outset. It's like opening a door that leads into a room. That room is all walls until its practitioner discovers that there is another door to another room and so on and so forth. Each room is a micro journey leading to the discovery of the next door; the next room. Without the work within one room, the next door doesn't appear. As the journey progresses, multiple doors appear. Which one? YOGA philosophy is a reference point. All lead to knowledge; all nurture wisdom. The trick is to recognise that there is a journey, appreciate the lessons, and allow the unlocked wisdom to lead.
YOGA can sound all new age hippy dippy to those who encounter it for the first time or who've only just begun their YOGA journey; indeed, the doors and rooms analogy might sound just that! To this, all I can say is turn up on a yoga mat and keep turning up. I can sprout YOGA all day, every which way, but you need to find and open your own doors!
On a visit to Myanmar during last summer, I was privileged to spend time with the Rev. Daw Ma Lay. As well as running an orphanage, this remarkable lady is a Batchelor of Theology, a Batchelor of Divinity and she has a Diploma in Inter-Culture Ministry, in-fact her achievements would fill a blog in her own right. I'd often wondered, and so asked her, what was meant by 'the living word'. She explained, simply, that it meant our experiences constantly changed our perceptions. We can read something one day, her example was reading something in The Bible of course, and it might resonate in one way but it might resonate with us in a very different way on another day. It's living because its meaning to us changes as we change; our unique perception of it brings it to life, if you like.
As we travel along that YOGA journey, what might have sounded new age hippy dippy at one point, may well become an absolute reference point for living, a little further along the road. Our perceptions change. Yoga is a 'living word'.
And YOGA itself is on a journey. We can track its origins and its development from the Vedic Period through the influence of Brahmanism and then the Upanishads, to the Classical Period with its collation of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras through to the western asana driven practice we experience today. When we track this journey we follow an evolved discipline. For thousands of years this 'living word' is one that describes our role, our purpose and the gift of life. A philosophy that steers us through our own personal journey.
This age, for YOGA, is evidential. Breath and mediation are explored by scientific and medical minds. The discovery of fascia with its thousands of nerve endings and fuzz, explains and validates the 'stretch sensation'. Electrodes and MRI scans show changes within brain activity during meditation and, generally, those who need proof of YOGA's effectiveness before they venture on to a mat, have it. Once they practice YOGA they realise, of course, that the proof they sought was unnecessary.
YOGA is a huge subject, many rooms and doors, and I, for one, can become incredibly overexcited about the whole thing. I'm a YOGA Nerd for sure. I'm not alone in this, however. Most authentic YOGA teachers, and I believe most are authentic, are bursting to share the discoveries they've made on their own journey. Here's the thing though. Start using Om (AUM) in a British class without explaining its relevance and students may well freak out...
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