Please enjoy this entry from our guest blogger, Derrick. He is currently taking yoga teacher training with the Maritime Yoga College.
Week 6 - Feb 23rd:
A tree reaches upwards to the sky as it also digs deeper into the Earth, rooting into the ground. Our yoga practice can be framed similarly; as we develop a strong body through movements and postures we also cultivate greater degrees of mindfulness, concentration, and an expanded perception. Thus far through this yoga teacher training my practice has continually been deepened and strengthened.
Yoga is often understood as the union of the mind and body through the breath. As we develop a yoga practice through the asanas (the postures) it is also essential to cultivate a strong mind. This past weekend we focused our studies on the 8-Limbs of yoga described by Patanjali, the ‘limbs’ are a systematic expression of a yogic lifestyle.
Just as a tree’s roots are its foundation, an ethical ‘yogi’ code is fundamental to developing a deeper and more mature yoga practice. The 5 yamas that serve as the ‘yogi’ code are ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (wise use of energy), and aparigraha (freedom from greed). This code is intended to bring peace, harmony, and a sense of completeness to the practitioner - and it aligns with many of the ‘golden truths’ or ‘universal rules’ that many religions and philosophical treatises express.
This code is relevant on and off the mat and is cultivated through committed practice and diligent study, just as the strength and flexibility we develop physically through the asanas. For our purposes as yoga-teachers-in-training we will observe each of these yamas sequentially throughout the next few weeks, but truly they are meant for any practitioner - whether or not they also practice the asanas.
Such education is power. As we foster a myriad of frameworks, or ways of understanding a practice, we are then able to share our knowledge more accessibly. I have come to appreciate the fact that the more I come to know my own body through the asanas, and develop layers of understanding and perceiving, the greater the impact of my practice upon myself and also my potential impact as a teacher. This thought rings true for any knowledge, and I think it is imperative for those who are passionate about their activities to feel inspired to foster an ever expanding perception and vocabulary about their craft. All great teachers not only share knowledge with their students but also nurture passion and inspiration within themselves and their pupils.
May your perception of yourself and the world expand and deepen. May the illusion of duality dissipate and may you begin to experience the oneness of all life.
Director of Teacher Training for the Maritime Yoga College and Registered Holistic Nutritionist.