There is a divine vastness to our existence that is breathing all around & through us, in all of our being and in all that we do.
Sutra 1.2 within one of the classical foundations of Yoga Philosophy; Patanjali's Yoga Sutras' states that yoga is the uniting of consciousness in the heart.
Yogah Chitta Vritti Nirodahah is the Sanskrit transliteration of this well-known sutra. Through this one sutra we are able to know the true essence of Yoga. (Translation below sourced from The Secret Power of Yoga by, Nishchala Joy Devi)
Deep within out hearts, we abide as pure Divine Consciousness. But with the material world pulling us every which way, our consciousness is drawn outward. As our knowledge of the Divine Self slowly fades, it takes with it the understanding of our true nature.
Chit is pure universal consciousness and chitta is the same consciousness individually expressed. Chit is the ocean of consciousness, vast and unlimited. At birth each of us gathers a small quantity of this vastness and encases it in the temple of our heart,as chitta, individual consciousness.
Our mission, as we were already Divine by nature, was to integrate our divinity with our humanity. Imagine consciousness in all its purity as a clear mountain lake. Gazing in to the lake, we can see the mirror image of the mountains that surround it. This pristine illumination mirrors our Divine nature.
While all is still and calm, the mind and heart rest in their Divine nature, and we experience love and oneness for all. A gentle wind blows across across the lake, and the clear images become slightly wavy. The crystal clear reflection of the light is disturbed, yet the distorted image can still be seen. If the wind continues to strengthen, the reflection of the mountains is soon completely obliterated. The wind represents our thoughts and emotions, at first gentle and then strengthening. No matter how muddied the waters of our consciousness may become, clarity can always emerge from our spirit.
"I looked in Temples, Churches and Mosques. I found the Divine in my heart"
Sutra 1.3 United in the heart, consciousness is steadied, then we abide in our true nature - joy.
There are many ways to connect and stay connected to the wisdom of our hearts and the spirit & presence of joy. May you always continue to provide yourself time and space in amongst all your responsibilities & fullness of life to attend to, the quietening of mind&emotions to listen to your divine loving & wise heart.
Through listening to my heart (over the confused, fearful & judgmental thoughts & accompanying emotions) ten years ago I decided to leave the comfort & familiarity of my family home & life in Brisbane, Australia. I never anticipated the depth of experiences and bountiful connections that were ahead to spur greater growth in me spiritually, personally and professionally, I am and will be forever grateful.
Once again witnessing the calling of my hearts wisdom guiding me to new choices, I see and feel through my present thoughts and emotions that are trying to create confusion and doubt over my hearts wisdom, that it is time for me to return to Brisbane, Australia, so that I can give more of my time, energy & focus to my family and simultaneously continue to share my joy, love & appreciation for the gifts yoga has to offer. Whilst keeping myself open in heart and mind to allow the vast & unlimited ocean of consciousness to move through me (I am so curious about the unknown & what is to come).
So, I am embarking on the next stage of my adventure in November, and wish to share my precious remaining weeks in Vancouver with you in a way that is a fully conscious appreciation of all the gifts that you have bestowed on me during our times together on the mat.
Even through the vast physical distance between Canada and Australia, I will continue to reach out and stay connected with you via this monthly newsletter, videos and live streamings from classes in Australia.
I WILL BE RETURNING to Vancouver in September&October 2016 !! Yoga Holidays and Classes will be offered while I am in town, more details to come. I hope with ALL of my heart you will gather with me again in 2016.
... living in peace & happy is a collective desire, way of being, way of life we each mutually share.
I feel these qualities are one, and the same.
How do we live in peace, through the dualistic nature of life in this time & space bound world?
This question has always been of interest to me. I genuinely feel to bring peace onto the Earth, it is in making our own lives peaceful. In amongst this inquiry, the study of Yoga opened up for me and I will be forever grateful to the teachings of Yoga that have guided my development of genuine inner peace and in living a happy and healthy life, even amongst life's constant of change.
The word Yoga is derived from the verbal root yug, which means "to bring together" or "to harness." Yoga, in essence, describes both a practise and a way of being, in which we realize the inherent unity behind the multiplicity of life's expression. In Yoga there is a tacit understanding that while we have a body, a personality, and a name, this little self that we have come to believe is the entirety of our being is only a small part of something larger.
The practise of Yoga opens us up to the largest possible life. What is this larger life? It is characterised by fearlessness, awe, enchantment. It is the feeling most of us had as young children, perhaps when we rolled down a grassy slope, leaped off a bridge, or nestled in the arms of a loving grandparent. It is the suspension of time that occurs when we are so immersed in an activity that we become it; we no longer paint, we are painting, dancing, reading, listening or walking. It is a experience of belonging, of homecoming, and of reconciliation.
The sages called this larger life brahman, from the root brih, which means "to expand." What we expand into is common ground of existence, which makes up the essence of everything --- the force behind the wind, the movement of tides, the sap moving through a tree, and the life force moving through all creatures. We expand to become what we already are. The yogis of old discovered that this macrocosmic larger Self, spelled with a capital to distinguish it from the confines of the individual personality, can be found by looking within the microcosmic little self.
Thus I call the practise of Yoga a life practise. By life practise I mean an ongoing inquiry into how to be completely engaged and intimate with the wild force that runs through everything and is running through us, if we would but pause long enough to notice. A life practise, then, is any activity or attitude that helps us have a direct experience of this shimmering life force that stands behind and suffuses all things. While Yoga offers us a vast repertoire of formal practises that accommodate the different predilections of individuals, almost any activity can be used as a life practise if it reconnects us with the source of our aliveness. There is no comprehending the wily ways of the daimon, who lures us to paint, to sing, to dance, compose music, build sanctuaries, plant gardens, raise children, write poetry, climb mountains, and do all of the other things humans do to discover themselves in life. All such activities, if practised mindfully and with passionate devotion, can be called a form of Yoga.
At the same time, a life practise must help us to find a practical relationship with the dynamic and unpredictable aspects of our life. We establish a serene, calm abiding centre, not to fortify ourselves against the chaos of life, but to help us become resilient, tolerant, and accepting of the inevitable, perplexing, and often agonising losses we all go through. A calm abiding centre and fully engaged life, therefore, go hand in hand.
The greater purpose of a formal Yoga practise, however, is to apply the acute attentiveness we learn on the mat to all aspects of our everyday life, so that this unitive awareness filters through our relationships, our work, and our play. The purpose of our formal practise time is also to establish and sustain the awareness of inner tranquillity that is always available to us. In the hubbub of everyday life it is easy to forget that each of us has this innate capacity to be calm and peaceful. In our formal practise time we try to create the ideal hothouse conditions for cultivating a strong connection with our centre. As soon as you sit or make your breath smooth and even or remain quiet within a Yoga posture, you are already realising the goal of Yoga: inner stillness. This inner stillness is as imminent as your focus.
With the deepest of gratitude for the fortunate opportunity in receiving the teachings of Yoga, and to the hundreds of teachers and thousands of practitioners, that have kept this tradition alive.
When I meet people who do not appreciate or realise how fortunate they are to receive teachings, I feel very sad, in how they are unable to recognise the priceless value of the teachings. If we can't appreciate the beauty of something as wonderful as Yoga, how can we appreciate the warm bed, the hot running water, or the people who care for us.?
So before you begin your practise, take a moment to reflect on your exceptional circumstances. Without gratitude, no matter what you practise, you will always be a little sour inside. With it, the very same practise takes on a sweetness and that sweetness lingers throughout your day. There is something very tender about this gratitude: through it we recognise that life itself, without adornment or elaboration, is a gift. Simplifying things in this way, we can foster gratitude regardless of our circumstances. In the spirit of gratefulness, let your practise begin.