Staying focused in the present moment is a useful skill to have in this busy world. Many tools in yoga help us to “calm the fluctuations of the mind,” as Patanjali points out in the Yoga Sutras. However that might not be yoga's most important lesson. What is in front of us is constantly changing, and we are constantly changing. This is the concept of impermanence, the temporary nature of all things.
The teachings of Samkhya, an ancient Indian philosophy, is foundational to the spiritual aspect of contemporary yoga practice and teaches that the reality of life is divided into:
1. prakriti, or matter, which is impermanent, solid, and continually changing form, and
2. purusha, which is eternal, unchanging, unknowable, yet present in all things.
Our deepening yoga practice allows us to tune inward as we quiet the chatter of the mind, allow the purusha to become evident and understood, thus to observe changing reality in its true nature. Sometimes we are discouraged by change since we want to drive and control it. Yet this can also be very freeing as our practice can lead us to view change with acceptance, recognizing that what we are also changing is ourself, our reaction to change. Being attached to things staying the same is what causes our suffering – change is inevitable. Adjusting how we accept and react is how we get to evolve and appreciate all of life’s lessons. The physical world, including our own bodies, is filled with impermanence. The lessons lie in the willingness to accept change, and furthermore to embrace the opportunities that change brings, so that we can enjoy what unfolds before us. The requirement is learning to be present. It all comes full circle. Yogic tools that can help us to adapt and to embrace change:
1. Meditation is not about tuning out, but about becoming present. The fruit of the efforts: being able to face reality with acceptance and constructive intention and proactive energy.
2. Using mantra to come present using a repeated word, sound, affirmation, prayer, intention,.. is another way to use a one-pointed focus to help the mind become free of distractions, and thus invite clarity.
3. Sound healing using chanting, music, singing bowls, …all have a vibrational aspect which helps to create space, and invite healing
4. Asana practice – Many new yogis use asana practice to gain strength, flexibility and balance, hence, to change/improve their bodies.
5. Aromatherapy using essential oils and herbs that wake up the mind and help with focus. Great choices are peppermint, tree oils like white fir, cedarwood, spruce, vetiver, and frankincense.
Ready to learn more? Our Book, Essential Yoga Practice: Your Guide to the New Yoga Experience with Essential Oils, and DVD, offer great education and a chance to practice 6 sequences, to include a Strengthening sequence! Ready to delve a bit deeper? Our 2 week online course, Essential Yoga Sangha, begins April 1. This fun and interactive and comes with essential oils delivered to you! Yoga teachers will add a study segment to receive 10 CECs with Yoga Alliance! Sign up by March 28 to receive your oils for free!