The word yoga derives from a Sanskrit word that means, “union” or “connection”.
I can tell you from experience that yoga is one of the most important things you can learn as an educator, as an individual, and as a culture.
It helps each one of us finds a deeper connection to our own consciousness, to our own reality, to our own hearts and souls, and ultimately, it helps all of us to connect with all of life in a way that few of us could ever imagine.
We are all here on this planet to help each other and to help the earth. You already know this, and probably accept it on a deeper level than most people I know.
You know it is true, and in some way or another, you have felt it in yourself.
Our teacher, Patanjali, is the father of yoga
To keep this article short, I will only quote him.
You can also read the three books he wrote himself, or one of the other numerous texts which are out there on the subject, but which I feel are incomplete and largely uninterpreted.
You can learn more about them on the Amazon.com Website and get access to all of his other books and other teachings.
“A drop of water is the reason for the sky, and the source of all objects of perception is the cow.
All knowledge is but a slight reflection of this.
Since the cow alone is pure and unaffected, it is most suitable for the perceiving of the state of the mind. This is called knowledge of the Atman.”
In the verses just quoted, Patanjali is talking about a basic philosophical understanding of what is to be known in a yogic view.
Another important fact about yoga is that it has always been a mystery
No one can teach it. No one has been there and seen it with their own eyes.
To practice yoga, we must be in a state of purity, a state of mental calm and harmony.
We must be serene, as in still, quiet and stable. We must be able to let go of the past and let go of what we have learned, and be aware of our feelings.
It is not something you can learn from the books of any teacher, so much as it is a way of discovering what your own inner nature is.
You have to have faith in what you’re doing because if you don’t have faith, you won’t know if you are being successful.
All yogis have to have faith, or they won’t do it. And we can all learn from the process of others.
When you begin practicing, you must first clear your mind
You must choose to be in a state of heightened consciousness. You must have faith, and I mean a certain kind of faith.
You must believe that if you do this and let go, that something wonderful will happen.
Some people call this the state of the Atman, or the soul. When you begin, the energy of the atman will quickly attract to itself what you need to experience that state of mind.
For a teacher, what happens is that you start a session with as much life force as you can muster, and if you can hold onto it, the students in the room will have an experience of being one with each other and the universe.
They will experience joyful energy, a positive vibration, and direct awareness.
They will leave the session feeling as if they have left a piece of themselves there with you.
Often, a yogi will say:
“Now, you can tell your teachers that this experience is just not something that can be taught. You are in this, and if you can be in it, so can everyone else. That’s the only way.”
This knowledge is what sets you apart.
This is the real way to know your true self, to know who you really are, and to know how to live your life.
Learning to do yoga is a solitary process, but it can also be done in the company of others
If you are attending a class, for example, you must relax and concentrate on your own breathing and the breathing of the others in the class.
In many cases, there is an emphasis on complete silence during this time.
We can also do yoga while reading books. It is just as important to go to a quiet place and concentrate on yourself and the breath.
When you are fully focused, with full attention on your own breath, and turning your attention to the feel of the breath moving in and out of your body, you can follow the energy that is being given to you.
Sometimes this light and peaceful feeling can be likened to sitting in an empty chair and feeling someone moving around you. It is as if the person is your teacher, and you are receiving the lesson.
The Heart Sutra, the holy Buddhist text, describes this as one of the basic precepts.
“What does good and bad look like in the world?” asked Buddha.
It depends on whether or not you’re alive or dead.
“You’re living,” said Buddha.