The Evolution of Ashtanga Yoga Part II

RYT-200 Hour Certified Yoga Teacher. Erica started practicing yoga daily to bring herself flexibility, strength and balance. She enjoys doing yoga on the mat in the room, in nature and at the sea side. Erica brings yoga from the mat to everyday life and it helps her to be balanced, non judgmental and to learn new things. She likes learning and challenges, and encourages students to challenge themselves, learn new asanas, practice and enjoy every minute of yoga.

By Guest Author

Krishnamacharya, chief designer of Ashtanga Yoga, teacher of Pattabhi Jois

Krishnamacharya, chief designer of Ashtanga Yoga, teacher of Pattabhi Jois

by Matthew Sweeney, The Yoga Temple

Although Yoga, meditation and self inquiry are gaining popularity worldwide, these are still relatively new concepts for many people.

How we define these concepts and the clarity with which we pursue them is of great interest to me.

I am using the following definitions to shine a light on how adherence to a tradition can either help or hinder your practice of Yoga.

It might be useful to note how you personally respond to these definitions and to recognise any conditioning you may have about them.

1. Universal consciousness, “not-two”, not separate.
2. To yoke, to unite, to bring together seeming opposites.

I like to define Yoga as being universal and only applicable in the present moment: anything that takes you out of the present moment is not Yoga.

As there is no past and no future (they don’t exist) the present moment is all there is, which is universal. The majority of the activities of the mind are not Yoga – the mind tends to look to the future and debates endlessly on that, or looks to the past and indulges in that.

The fluctuations of the mind cease when one is in complete surrender to the present moment.

Thus any tradition or technique, which by definition and application are typically “located” in past and future – do this practice and you will become enlightened, more spiritual, healthier, loose weight, better looking etc – can ultimately lead to a non-Yogic state.

If Yoga is the present moment, and in the moment there is nothing but awareness, then that is all you need. Awareness is all you are.

This is one of the basic contradictions of Yoga practice – are you being present versus trying …read more


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