the yogi delights

wishing you all a peaceful weekend. rest well darling yogis. below is a section from one of my favourite books. it well encapsulates why practice is so profoundly engaging, and why i love teaching, learning and embodying an ethical practice.

–eight limbs as therapeutic redux–

because our primary suffering is alienation, the yogic path of therapy begins with reestablishing relationship with other. ethics (yama) comes first, because other people mirror your condition very plainly. empathetic relationship with others open the door to a brightening of self-perception (niyama). reconnecting with the flesh and breath (asana, pranayama) folds back into its phenomenal matrix. feeling energy flow evenly back and forth between phenomena is aided by understanding the sensory points of contact (pratyahara).

from here, contemplation of your condition has solid footing, because the most obvious content of alienation—lack of empathy, self-doubt or even self-hatred, and sensory overload—has been witnessed and engaged. one might then turn to witness the very structure of alienation (through samyama, the three degrees of meditation): how consciousness blends sense perception, meaning, concept, and memory into a fluid narrative, and then forgets it is doing so. because it forgets it is a storyteller who takes dictation by chapter and verse from the phenomenal world, it suffers the anxiety of groundless creativity. consciousness fears that it must create meaning alone. but this was never true. consciousness attunes to meaning because it is embedded in larger meanings.

samyama consist of focus (dharana), contemplation (dhyana), and integration

drawing by rebecca wilson, yoga will save the world
drawing by rebecca wilson, yoga will save the world
(samadhi). focus allows concentration to narrow from the typically scattered state we have inherited from a more fearful era of constant sympathetic (defensive) nervous engagement (and now perpetuated in disembodied form through much of our news media). contemplation imbues this focus with empathy, so that attunement between subject and object begins to hummmmmmmm. (my emphasis on hum–can you feel it?☺) the peak of attunement is integration, in which the subject/object boundary is softened, and feelings of wholeness and connection saturate the flesh and mental flow. sensing this pervasion of empathy, the yogi delights even more richly in the ethics of relationship (yama): the circle is complete.

-matthew remski: threads of yoga: a remix of patanjali-s sutras with commentary and reverie

drawing by rebecca wilson, yoga will save the world