|Yoga with Ved|
|Yoga with Ved|
There are Many Levels of Yoga.
By now most of us know the meaning of the word "yoga." It is a Sanskrit word derived from the root "yuj," which to means to yoke. Yoga then, is the union, the joining, the uniting that happens in all of creation. From my own practice, and many classes, I have observed that there are very many degrees of yoga. This has led me to the idea of yoga being of two distinct levels which I will share with you.
I want to make clear that this is not a hierarchy with one level being higher than the other. Rather it is simply different life stages of the same journey,
Yoga within the Individual.
This is the first dimension of experience. During our "normal" daily lives it feels as though all the parts of us are compartmentalized. Our mind seems to work in isolation of the body. Our feelings and emotions sometimes seem far away and other times will completely blind us. The relationships that we have with other people, with the environment and within our own selves seem independent of all others.
The first level of yoga then, is the practice of re-integrating all of these different parts into one cohesive whole. Of course the reality is that they are not separate, but our experience is that they are separate somehow. The practice of yoga in the beginning is seeking this union of all the different parts of the individual. We start to embrace our holistic nature, experience our many layers, and reconnect with all of them into our greater whole.
This is how the practice of Hatha Yoga can help us. Because as we move the body, modulate our breathing, and manage the mind we are reconnecting through all of them. This is how meditation can move is forward. Because in meditation we are striving to manage the mind and be more conscious of every level within us. Chanting and mantras also have a place in this process because we are connecting our deep emotions to our voice, to our breathing, to our bodies.
All of these different branches of yoga promote a re-integration of our otherwise unconsciously fragmented state of being.
The Ultimate Realization
In this exploration of Yoga there is always a conversation about "maya," the illusion of separation that we experience. The experience of being separate either within ourselves or with the Universal is said to be only an illusion. The ultimate realization is in experiencing the illusion clearly and realizing the truth that there is no separation.
There can be different degrees of this realization and appreciation of this truth. We have all experienced those moment where we feel totally connected and that there is something more within us. But of course the ideal of yoga is to be able to live in that experience in each moment.
For me this truth has shown itself in many different ways. The most drastic realization was when I understood that what was happening around me was a reflection of what is inside of me. I call this the internal reflects the external. This is not a new idea, but one that I think about in my practice all the time.
I hope that you can appreciate what this means. It means that when we transform ourselves internally, and it will transform what happens externally. This was a magical experience. I realized that I could change my relationship with people around me, not by having to speak with them, but by going inside and transforming my own inner space.
At first I did not believe it was possible. But as I worked on it more and began to test it - I realized that this is really how the Universe works. By working on oneself the outer circumstances can be changed dramatically.
This brings us to the practice of energy awareness and management. Working with ourselves internally requires that we go beyond the physical and work with our subtle energy existence.
Learning to Master the Internal Dimension of Life - Energy Awareness
Yoga has an entire mystical science of subtle energy. Perhaps some of you have heard or read about this. In Yoga it is understood that this one that we are is a being that is much more than physical. We have a physical existence and experience but that is just a small part. We also have a subtle energy body, and an existence that is beyond physical.
When we open up our awareness and become more conscious through the deep practice of yoga we can begin to experience energy awareness. We begin to experience our subtle energy body. As we become more aware of that dimension of life we can learn to manage ourselves from that energy awareness.
This has been an amazing journey for me personally. Working with energy awareness and exploring what is possible from the subtle energy body is a continuous adventure. I strive every day to discover more and to work more from energy awareness.
Take a Step in the Right Direction Each Day
We may feel overwhelmed from all of the possibilities. We may feel that we do not know how to approach this and go in the right direction. We may feel that it leaving with this awareness is far away from us. But every great yoga master teaches us that we only need to make one step in the right direction.
Each day just take on step moving ahead. Just try to be more conscious today than you were yesterday. Work to feel and to explore who you are in this moment. If we stay with this practice, then all is coming to us. That is the path of yoga. Disciplined practice taking us steadily towards our goal.