In addition to teaching the postural practice of hatha yoga as well as pranayama and meditation, I have chosen as my focus on sharing insights into what yoga has to offer as wisdom in the face of chronic pain and health issues, which is an evolving field that promises to be a vital part of the future of yoga.
The expansion of yoga beyond the practices taught in more ancient times is, to me, an expression of the freedom at the heart of yoga and of consciousness itself.
This freedom was described in tantric philosophy as not simply 'liberation' or 'moksha,' but 'Swatantrya' — the freedom of Consciousness to expand and create through its own inspiration.
Essential to this was an appreciation of our individual self as 'ahamkara' — literally the 'I-maker.' It is a term that recognizes that the 'self' is a process of 'making,' and this opened avenues for practices that sought a more healthy, integrated emphasis upon living a spiritual life within and accepting of the body.
This concept itself is something that has slowly evolved, and has arguably come to include Modern Yoga's emphasis upon health and well-being as part of the aim of yoga — which includes emotional well-being, and a well-adjusted attitude toward the world that includes social concern.
I found the essence of this inspiration to be expressed by Swami Muktananda, who first initiated my journey into yoga: 'God dwells within you, as you, for you. See God in yourself and in each other.'
Yoga concerns our own relationship to the Self from whom we came as well as our relationship to the self we are coming to be. It is deeply personal, experiential, and ultimately unmediated by any system of conceptual thought. The teachings of yoga simply provide us with the introduction to our own Self — in both senses. To experientially realize that these 'two' are not really separate is the essence of spiritual breakthrough.
That 'breakthrough' is what the Christian mystic Meister Eckhart (14th century) described as the breakthrough into our own heart, where the Divine most fully dwells. This is the teaching I want to share, along with the practices and means offered by yoga to support that journey.