Vinyasa Yoga in Limerick

Sara Cory teaches Vinyasa, Budokon and is constantly evolving.

Category: ethics in yoga

Living Yoga

Living Yoga

I used to laugh when I heard the phrase ‘take your yoga off the mat’. It sounded so cheesy! But now I understand the thought behind it, and while I shy away from hackneyed yoga phrases I have started to ‘take my yoga off the mat’, or more accurately realize how everything I do is a practice. A conscious action, alignment and habit that slowly brings out my best or worst aspects. I realized my whole life is a sequence of movements with patterns, intentions, and results woven into them. And the more I practice these movements (physically or mentally) the stronger they become. Sounds a lot like yoga!

I then realized how my attitude affected my practice. When I started yoga I was 25 years old and living in Hawaii. I was super-charged and very fired up physically speaking. I was surfing and running daily, and practicing Bikram and going to circuit class (back to back!) twice weekly. I was totally driven to ‘get’ the pose, to ‘get’ that next wave, to ‘get’ to the next mile marker on my run. When I practiced my violin I would beat myself up repeating the same phrase over and over until I had it right. Essentially they were all the same practice! Not to say being goal oriented is bad. Looking back, it was just a touch out of balance. It was not a way of life that I could sustain and remain healthy. And thus, under the kick-ass veneer, it was unhealthy. I have ventured the other way as well, blown off practicing, or making excuses to come out of the pose early. And I must admit, these were times when I was pretty slack in most other areas of life.

We are always in a state of finding balance and re-balancing. Perfecting equilibrium, and gaining greater foundation in that optimal state, whatever that is for you as an individual.

Having experienced this deeper meaning of yoga for myself, I sometimes bring ¬†this to my classroom. And sometimes *sometimes* this can lead to an insight into life long patterns. And sometimes there’s just a knee issue or tight hip and nothing more! ūüôā

I offer this way of looking at your practice for you… if you see bigger themes in your life reflected in your asana practice, it is a sign that you are more deeply getting to know yourself, and you are developing the ability to self examine with an honest, compassionate eye. But I am not going to project assumptions on you from the outside. Ultimately you are your own greatest teacher!

Namaste, Sara

I, 13: tatra sthitau yatnah abhyasah
“Of these two,
is the continuous struggle
to become firmly established
in the stable state
of the true Self.” ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†-The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Why do you practice?

Why do you practice?

I have written this in response to the repeated scandals that have been happening not just in yoga a lot lately, but seem epidemic in modern culture generally….
I never wish to put down another system of yoga, or say my perspective on the practice is more correct. That is not my intention.
I asked myself this question as a natural response to the most recent scandal to come out of the yoga community regarding abuse of power over one’s students, and the dangers of ‘Guru’ worship. I have been to yoga events that are empowering and inspiring, and others that feel more like a misled cult. I hope we can gain insights into the subtleties of the larger yoga culture we are all a part of….
People practice for many different reasons but I feel there are two major themes in motivation- Personal development via:
1) Cultivating one’s body seeking an external result (perfect poses, looking awesome, being part of a culture/community etc.)
2) Cultivating one’s body seeking an internal result (more sensitive¬†experience, inner inquiry, healing injury, calming the mind etc.)
These are both valid, but there needs to be balance. I believe these unfortunate events are a symptom of the underlying imbalance in a practice. I also believe that in the pursuit of spiritual development we are our own greatest teachers, and handing too much responsibility to someone else in your path to development, both physically and/or spiritually, is  rarely going to yield good results. To an extent we submit to our teachers and must trust them in order to learn, but there needs to be a healthy boundary. A good teacher will seek to remind you of that even as they offer you their knowledge.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely. There is nothing original about these men that abuse their position over their students. Off the top of your head, I bet you could recall 5, maybe 10 similar stores where a leader abused their  power over others.

I also train Jiu Jitsu, and in response to a similar abuse scandal surfacing in that community, Ryan Hall wrote a brilliant letter than has value to all of us as seekers, weather it’s yoga, martial arts, meditation practice, or any student teacher relationship. ( Here is my favorite passage:

“What I came to realize is that we, as students of the martial arts [read yogis] as people, really, become deeply emotionally attached to the idea of a superhuman individual or group of individuals who, in our minds, must possess privileged knowledge that allows them¬†not only to¬†be an¬†incredible fighter (Or politician?¬†Or¬†pastor?¬†Perhaps a¬†high-profile university football coach?), but¬†also a¬†shining example of humanity.”

So as this applies to yoga: What are we practicing? Are we becoming more of ourselves, or are we selling ourselves short? Are we echoing someone else’s perspective, or becoming more authentic in ourselves?

Why do you practice? ¬†I guess there’s no right answer. Just being honest in your inquiry will help you better understand yourself.

Yoga is complex because it works on so many levels, but I think in writing this I’ve revealed what my personal practice is (partly) about… to become more authentically who I am. It’s not ‘correct’ it’s just my answer.

Why do you practice?

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