Pouring the Foundation – Tapas, Svadhyaya, Ishvara-Pranidhana
In the world of Yoga today, in addition to chanting, there are self-help books, workshops, and a wide variety of Yoga therapies – literally hundreds of ways to know the self. The way I know best is right on my Yoga mat – through self-observation. As your practice begins to burn away the impurities, the obstacles to your freedom, you begin to cultivate a listening – to your body, to your mind, to your emotions. You can cultivate this listening by observing your breath and the sensations in your body as you practice. This takes intention and attention. It is easy to practice Yoga as though it were exercise, moving from posture to posture, with little awareness of the sensations in your body or your feeling state. This is unconscious Yoga, and though you will feel good afterward and will receive many physiological and psychological benefits from your practice, you run the risk of energetically reinforcing old patterns and habits of mind.
When you practice Yoga with awareness of the sensations in your body, your thoughts, and your feelings, you will grow in self-awareness. And as you grow in self-awareness, you begin to have glimpses of what it means to feel utterly and wholly connected, how your small self is not separate from the Absolute, the Self of the universe. When you become awake, there will still be pain in your life. Pain is inevitable, but you will no longer suffer more as a result of your pain. You will remember that beneath the temporary separation you may be feeling, you are whole.
BOOK – “Yoga for Depression” by Amy Weintrab