Many yoga manuals define philosophy as something that should not be ‘learnt’ but rather ‘done’ or ‘practiced.’ With the suggestion that philosophy should encourage debate and logic to reach conclusions. Yoga is certainly layered and textured with thoughts, actions, history, questions and for these reasons is open to all kinds of interpretations.
The definition of the word Yoga, from the Sanskrit root ‘yuj,’ means to join. The meeting of mind, body and spirit. A practice that includes breath control, meditation and the adoption of specific body postures referred to in Sanskrit as asanas.
A great path to enlightenment (samadhi) and the restoration of inner peace by controlling the mind and the body. Spanning back thousands of years, and rooted to the ancient Vedic Age and Vedic texts that were recorded as poems and ritualistic mantras. The tree of Yoga continues to branch out and blossom with new fruits.
For me previously, yoga was something I avoided, I experienced ‘yogi’s’ as arrogant and exclusive. I didn’t want to sit and burn incense while quietly pondering my path to self actualisation. I wanted to kick, punch, run and as a friend of mine so aptly described: ‘feel the back sweat!’ I steered away from Indian philosophies and had such a natural gravitation towards traditional Chinese concepts. I wanted to be and to feel the part of a warrior. Always fighting, always pushing, plenty of ‘yang.’ I found a unique comfort in the release of aggressive movement patterns. A physical manifestation that I could use to overcome my obstacles and hardships. A space where I was in control of my mind and my body.
With time I found stability, this sense of rooting, a grounding that was unfamiliar to me. Suddenly some of the anger had dissipated, the ‘yang’ wanted to soften, but still stay strong. Where could I find something to soften me as I felt myself begin to mature both mentally and physically. A space that allowed reflection, some aggression but most importantly: kindness. A space that offered longevity with challenge.
Then I discovered Vinyasa Flow and a very pose called Warrior!
I have a mind that struggles to switch off, I can think and over analyse to the point of wasted restlessness. All too often in the grips of negativity. Any form of exercise that can flip a switch and quiet my mind is most welcome. My husband always tells me I come back from a yoga class happier and more myself! Control and discipline, comfort in the repetition of movements is the only way I can attempt to experience ‘inner peace’. Anything that starts with a physical and energetic connection, versus directly controlling the mind, I find far more obtainable. This modernised, somewhat bastardised adaptation of Yoga called Vinaysa Flow, is the perfect fit.
My life philosophy, let alone Yoga philosophy, that a healthy mind is a healthy body, had manifested itself in this unique, challenging sequence of movements. I believe that it is easier to work from the outside inwards. Sometimes emotions and experiences can be too difficult to confront with words. Since I believe our muscles store emotional memories and triggers, movement really can become a powerful form of therapy. Suddenly combine that with breathing techniques, an abundance of healing and self management becomes accessible to anyone and everyone.
My Yoga philosophy is in the power of a tangible focus. Be it breath, balance, stamina, nourishment, each asana requires ownership that requires presence of mind which is visually reflected in a physical appearance and the well being of positive thought patterns.
Yoga is my sanctuary. The place I can go to reconnect, forgive, regroup and be selfish. It is about me, that moment and my mat.
For part of my YogaLondon Course (www.yogalondon.net).