Finding Stillness

by | Aug 5, 2014 | Ashtanga Yoga, Community, Wisdom

I love my NSY work station

For weeks you have borne patient witness to my daily descriptions about the updating and creating of our new website. The process of this creation has certainly pushed some buttons in me.

The aesthetics were of great importance, as was/is the emphasis on immediacy, with the paring back of text to provide optimum but succinct and descriptive info, for the yoga student in a hurry… In my darkest moments, I pondered that this all seems to be the exact opposite of what Yoga is about! Such is the pressure to enable the interested viewer make a spontaneous decision about joining our classes, using any of the myriad different devices in all shapes and forms, available to us today.

Back when I first opened the school, all I ever wanted to do was practice, – which often takes up nearly three hours daily – train students to deepen their experience of the practice, and to teach Yoga to everyone. Why then the necessity of a strong online presence, social media, and the like?

Such was my train of thought until of course it dawned on me that the purpose of everyone who is teaching Yoga, is to reach a broad spectrum of our population. We wish to share the increasingly relevant teachings of this wonderful art on how to lead a more fulfilling life on all levels.

Yoga is often referred to as ‘ancient teachings for modern living’. It would be easy to doubt that something so old – about 6000 years – could still be relevant today. But you might like to consider that the human body is a very similar model to what is was 6000 years ago and much more importantly, the workings of our mind haven’t changed much either. We still approach the problems we encounter, now often of a very different nature than in ancient times, in the same manner as back then; still with all the powerful mind-skills, and equally powerful mind-afflictions.

There is a basic understanding in Yoga, which over the millennia has given us humans the opportunity to gain what we all desire; love and happiness. Yoga shares that gaining a level of balance – flexibility & strength in the physical body equaling those qualities in the mental body – assists us in staying detached from the perceived turmoil around us. This enables us to rest within ourselves peacefully, undisturbed and maintaining equilibrium and calm. It teaches us to connect with the un-changing and un-wavering core of our being, that which is endlessly wise. Drawing on this profound strength from within, we will be able to conjure enough mental flexibility and the skill of wise adaptation to the ever- changing circumstances around us, to assist us in moving toward the desired balance in our being. The truth or inherent wisdom within the human being has, and always will, reside in all of us. Yoga provides us with tools to assist in finding this inherent truth & ecstasy. It is a timeless philosophy, and a guide on how to better the quality of our lives, no matter what century we live in.

The approach to the practice of Yoga on all levels is consistently changing and adapting, with its core teachings remaining unchanged. Asanas – postures – have taken a front seat to compensate for our sedentary life style of driving cars, and sitting on chairs most days. After all it is a happy, balanced body, which serves our striving for mental clarity and discernment, over that of physical sloth or overdrive. Practicing asanas is mandatory as long as one is clear about their purpose; which is creating a vehicle for us humans to gain greater insight, and ultimately enlightenment.

When reading up on Yoga on the Internet, one may come across photos of yoga students practicing complex postures like a headstand in the middle of an Indian market or the like. This may display a lack of purpose on first sight – it certainly would look curious to the surrounding stall owners, who struggle to make a living – but setting our cynicism aside, it may just be an expression of the joy of moving this wondrous and ingenious body of ours, and meant to inspire the onlooker.

Asanas are great fun, and a very useful starting point to the practice of yoga. They open up our inside world, which is reassuring, perfect, and blissful.

I am committed to introducing and furthering the understanding of this always fitting, ancient art to everyone who is interested. There is an endless treasure-trove of tools available to help us to improve the quality of our lives, and become better human beings, learning to love ourselves, and being loved by those around us. If it takes good online presence etc to reach those looking for something to enrich their lives to such a level as they could never have imagined, then so be it.

OM Shanti, Angelika

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