This is your body, your greatest gift, pregnant with wisdom you did not hear, grief you thought was forgotten, and joy you have never known.
-Marian Woodman, Coming Home to Myself
Yoga is an East Indian philosophy that teaches individuals the art of harmonizing mind, body, and soul. Scholars point to Pantijali’s Yoga Sutras, written between 100 and 500 BCE, as one of the foundational texts of yogic philosophy. While certainly connected with India and Hinduism, it is arguable as to whether yoga is explicitly Hindu. There is evidence that yoga existed before Hinduism was an organized religion; therefore, westernized yoga may be very far removed from the most ancient of yoga practice dating back 2,000-5,000 years. Over the centuries, this Indian approach to nurturing the body, mind, and soul has blended with Tibetan and Chinese practices as well as Western physical fitness philosophy.
The word yoga in Sanskrit means “yoke”, union, or to bring together in dynamic relationship. The practices within the philosophy and wisdom of yoga are offered to nourish, discipline and exercise the mind, body, and soul in hope to experience harmony. This harmony is meant to foster union, not with our physical bodies alone, but with the whole of our being. In its essence yoga is a set of philosophies, wisdom, and practices that support living in harmony with self, God, others, and all of creation.
This process of harmonizing our whole selves invites us into the journey of deepening our self-awareness. Like all contemplative practices, deepening our self-awareness involves deep listening, trust, and letting go. The practice of yoga offers a series of postures (asanas), conscious breath work (pranayama), and mediation that train our mind to listen to our heart’s connection to the body and the wisdom that lies within. When we consciously connect with our breath and quiet the mind we open ourselves to listen more deeply. This quieted state of the mind allows us to attune ourselves to the body as it moves and speaks. Several times throughout the New Testament Jesus says, “For those who have eyes to see let them see, and those who have ears to hear let them hear.” God is speaking all the time and the practice of yoga gives us tools to rediscover our bodies and listen to the wisdom that lies deep within. Ultimately, this wisdom transforms and then propels us off the mat to make a difference in the world for the good of all.
Connect with me if you are interested in a private or group yoga session and/or would like to enroll in a series of private sessions to build an at-home yoga practice that aligns with your unique personality and physical condition – mind, body, and soul.