Transforming your life
'See the person, not the posture'
In reality there are no brands or styles of yoga. There is only yoga adapted to the needs of each unique person.
This knowledge has been passed down through many people. Most recently this spirit has been communicated by Gregor Maehle and Monica Gauci - the three of us are pictured here at a yoga retreat in Tuscany, Italy in 2014.
Embracing change, improving quality of life and self-healing
'There was a Door to which I found no Key; There was a Veil through which I could not see' - Omar Khayyam
This quotation from Omar Khayyam expresses the human situation - our lives governed by unconscious programming and conditioning that prevent one from experiencing the true nature of reality. Yoga often attracts people who have an innate sense of this psychological trap and are looking for a way to deal with it. Gradually we need to see the unconscious in our conscious experience or simply to make the unconscious, conscious. Although the formulation is simple it takes enquiry and commitment to realise it - for most people a lifetime of application. And this is good news, as we can begin patiently and consistently and not stop.
The ancient practice of yoga is a way of healing, alleviating suffering and bringing more joy and meaning into our lives. To receive the full effect of yoga we need to apply all of the tools - kriyas, mantras, meditation, pranayama not only asana (postures). And we also need to use other tools off the mat to help deal with whatever life brings to us. We can't choose the events of our life, but we can choose our response to them.
Change is constant companion at every stage of life. Sometimes we are the active force - wanting to find new ways of living and relating. And change can also arrive uninvited, and we must adapt to its reality.
Yoga can be viewed as a meditation on change; it provides a set of profound tools to manage, embrace and accept everything that constitutes our life - from the physical to the psychological, as well as the emotional and spiritual. The good news is that we can pick where to start and what to work on i.e. what is important to each person.
Yoga can also help with many other aspects of life from stress relief, overcoming trauma and psychological healing, to mental and emotional balance, wanting to feel good about oneself, wanting to effect change (but not knowing how), learning how to cope with a restless mind, spiritual insight and spiritual liberation.
While all these aspects of our life are important, yoga adds a profound philosophical context. Ideally, we would want to practice yoga without ambition i.e. combine practice and non-identification. And no sooner have we healed the body/mind, yoga teaches us not to identify with anything that is subject to change i.e. the body/mind. We need to discover that our true nature is not subject to change. That said, the philosophical and spiritual dimension of yoga is something that each person needs to come to in their own time.
The ancient 8-limb path of Patanjali Yoga encompasses all of this and much more.