What does it mean to live your yoga? To be a Yogi or Yogini? Is it even possible in the modern Western world? Yogis of old in India often segregated themselves from society, spending much time in isolation living in the mountains and caves in India, meditating for very many hours on a quest to calm the mind and achieve enlightenment.
In the West, Yoga is often something that we do; an interest, or hobby, a class that we attend once a week but soon the benefits of yoga seep into the rest of one’s life. Then with continued dedication and commitment the practice of yoga can become a way of life. Everyone’s path is different, and although it is common to come across preconceived notions of what a Yogi must and must not do, it is essential that you walk your own path based on intuition, guidance, reflection and self-study. It is a path towards growth, unity and harmony with oneself and the world we live in; for me this is enlightenment.
What is Enlightenment?
The meaning of enlightenment and what happens once one achieves it is open to much debate. For me, it is something we can all experience through the path of yoga. It is the experience of being completely present in the moment, in touch with your true self and free from the suffering imposed by the fluctuations of the mind. Maybe our first such experience lasts for just the tiniest moment, but through continued growth there are more of these moments and they last longer until this becomes your permanent state of awareness.
Suggestions for Living Your Yoga
Here are a few ideas you may wish to consider in exploring how to live your yoga. Don’t worry if you don’t know what all of these practices are just yet, we will study these in detail together. Please note that this is the road less travelled, it is winding and bumpy with many obstacles but a life lived with intention, clarity and an open heart is a life worth living.
- A regular home yoga practice in addition to continued guidance from teachers.
- A committed meditation practice.
- The practice of pranayama to calm the mind and ease through daily challenges.
- Journaling as a form of self-study and reflection.
- Volunteering and being of service to others – karma yoga.
- Intentionally focussing on the qualities of loving kindness; mantra and meditation can support this.
- Reading texts such as Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita and interpreting their being for you.
- Exploring bringing the Yamas and Niyamas into everyday life.
- Creating your own sadhana, a daily spiritual practice.
- Upgrading your diet for optimum health and well-being.
- Being part of a satsang, a community of likeminded individuals joining for discussions.
- Performing a daily gratitude practice.
- Setting intentions, using affirmations and sankalpas to bring clarity to your days.
- Working through mental and emotional afflictions and challenges such as samskaras that stand the way of your spiritual growth.
Yoga Immersion Course
If this is the path you wish to travel support and guidance of a teacher and a community is really beneficial. I’d love to walk this path with you and invite you to consider joining the Yoga Immersion Course. A 6-month course for committed yoga students designed to deepen your awareness, knowledge & understanding of yoga in all its dimensions.