written by Zeena Kalisperides
Self reflection requires us to tap into the practice of svadhyaya, self study, which is listed by Patanjali in the yoga sutras as one the five Niyamas. What is recognised by Patanjali, is that this path of yoga is one that is deeply spiritual in nature. It requires of us to be present to the fluctuating nature of the mind, so that we can become aware when we are being pulled away from our true Self, the highest expression of ourself. Patanjali recognises that the human mind is fickle, fragile but also a means through which we can discover deep caverns of wisdom and universal truths.
So perhaps when we find ourselves struggling with a certain asana, we could consider the struggles present as a the fluctuations of the mind. And can serve as a reminder to come back to the breath so that in times of struggle we are able to use these tools to come back to our true Self.
Devotion is a word that can bring up both positive and negative feelings. But in this context of yoga, the devotion that is being asked if us, potentially, is devotion to the journey of Self discovery, in the context of our relationship to the world around us. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna (who represents our highest self) says to Arjuna to devote himself and all of his work only unto Him.
In a world that is increasingly highlighting a sense of self through the practices of consumerism and corporate capitalism, seeing the point in devoting ourselves to deepening a connection to our higher Self is no easy task. But if we don’t start somewhere, then how can we ever even begin to know our true potential? And this leads us to faith, Shraddha. But more on this in the next newsletter.
The practice of yoga is the journey to the Self, through the self as BKS Iyengar once said. And to know the Self requires much effort and reflection. I truly believe that through our personal journey each day on our yoga mats that we can not only see our current nature but we are offered a daily opportunity to catch glimpses of our higher Self, and then make more enlightened daily choices.