What Is a Yoga Immersion?
What about all these bios and labels about different styles of yoga? I understand that if you are considering a yoga immersion or retreat of some kind, it would be nice to have an understanding of what, and with whom, you will share this experience. I will try to bridge this understanding with some notes shared here. If you feel drawn to this sharing, I encourage you to honor your feelings and not overthink it. My teacher says, you cannot come to me through your mind, the pathway is through your heart. Yoga philosophy is essential for having an overview of where our practice is leading us, yet it is through the experience that we develop an understanding. It is like trying to find words to describe the taste of a mango. There are so many words that can give an idea of the taste, yet until we have the experience we really cannot understand the amazing sweetness of the mango. It is the experience that grounds us to a deeper understanding. A yoga immersion allows us concentrated time to use these ancient tools of the masters to deepen the goal of yoga and reach self-realization.
“The goal of life is God realization, strive for that.” AMMA
A Yoga Journey?
I realize yoga is not about my story. In fact, the teaching is to let go of our story. It is simply what we chose to do. There are many interesting stories and we all have one. The story is not truly who we are. It becomes another misidentification of the mind. The yogic path compels us to let go of these labels of what we do and move towards states of being that nurture the development of self awareness, so that the calm and peaceful Self will shine forth in anything that we may be doing. It requires a shift from the external to the internal. Often people switch this around by trying to do peaceful things so that one may feel peaceful inside. This can be helpful but only occasionally and temporarily will it prevail. Yoga is very personal and can be suited to meet your particular journey. This is why so many so-called “styles” of yoga have been developed. As each student grows and chooses to share, their personal practice becomes part of their teaching and sometimes it becomes known as a style of yoga. And if one identities with the label, once again one finds limitation of mind. I am simply sharing that which has been shared with me so that we may align with more balance and peace.
It is through the practice that we may feel where we need to go. I often share that “yoga shows up where you are.” It is a present moment experience. It is experiential. The process is one of letting go of those areas where we are bound or fixated so that we are more able to feel connections instead of separation, recognizing similarities instead of differences. We use the tools of asana, pranayama, meditation, chanting and the eight fold path of yoga, to release us from that which keeps us from realizing our inborn potential of peace and happiness. We are going to share together in a way that we can experience the simple ideas of letting go, acceptance, allowance and surrender, so that we can encounter the limiting beliefs (with a neutral mind), that keep us from imbibing these qualities into our daily lives. Yes, so simple, yet not so easy. The great news is that we are not alone. We are in this together. Just look to see how yoga is flourishing. Not because everyone wants to touch their toes. But rather, because people are feeling more, exploring inside and opening the door to the heart. Our resistances are often found routed very deeply into the garden of our minds. Essentially we are carefully planting and tending new seeds so that we may grow together to experience more peace individually and collectively. OM.
Somewhere along the way one may realize that yoga is something that is happening inside, in the quiet stillness of awareness, or in the recesses of your mind beyond the intellect. What becomes increasingly more valuable and meaningful is how one is relating to whatever is unfolding, not the event itself. So whatever posture is presented, it can become an opportunity to look more closely at those areas we resist, so we may consciously release them. It is important to remember what we resist persists.
Sometimes without realizing exactly when or where, the postures begin to reflect a wider vision of life and how one responds to those things. The postures become an analogy of how we are showing up in other areas of our lives, not just on the mat or in a class. It is said that our sadhana (spiritual practice) is anything that releases us from superficialities of life. One begins to understand that the experience is determined by how one perceives the events unfolding. This allows one to take more responsibility for the thoughts and the feelings that are coming and going. As Mickey Singer says, “The quality of your life is determined by the state of your mind.”
How Can I Rest More Completely In Peace?
Often reminded by the masters, peace is unconditional, “The peace that passeth all understanding.” Yoga guides us from the temporary to the everlasting. The Western mind has a hard time grasping such things. The practice can take you on a journey so that you can look at the unfolding of the events with a neutral mind to disengage from the push and pull from the outside world. The question becomes more paramount, how can I rest more completely in peace, regardless of what is happening around me? Essentially the yoga, the union of coming home to Self, can become part and parcel of everything. In short, life can become the greatest teacher. So when we have classes, or play with postures, or practice any breathing, it becomes an opportunity to go deeper into realizing the connection to that which sustains us. That, which is allowing us to even have this conversation… OM to you and to all. Shanti, shanti, shanti. Peace, peace, peace.
What Style Of Yoga Are You Sharing?
Honoring the eight fold path, Raja yoga, a scientific path of self realization, I choose to share the ancient teachings of the masters and Rishis of the far East, in a way that we can deepen our commitment to our practice and hold firm our intention to encounter those areas that no longer serve us. And to do this with an open heart so that we can let go more completely.
The style of yoga is classical in nature in that it focuses on our deeper connection to our Self, the union, or yoga, in uniting the individual with the universal. I’ve tried to give an overview of the practice without adding mere labels. For the practice ultimately is not about a style, it is about the choice to use the tools the ancient masters have passed down to us in a way to quicken and access more clarity towards our journey hOMe.
The practice may mean moving in a flow (Vinyasa) to establish a connection between movement and breath, or holding a posture to become more aware of areas where we may be holding deeper levels of tension. These areas of tension can be accessed by a more focused, yet neutral mind of awareness, not distracted by movement itself. Usually classes will be infused with breathing exercises to energize the body and to clam the mind. Becoming more aware of different aspects of yoga, one can facilitate a personal practice with more ease. The practice reveals that the state of being can be differentiated from the state of doing. It becomes clear that yoga is a state of being that will express itself through what you do.
Peace to you,
In honor of the saints and sages of all traditions.
If you’re feeling drawn to sharing an immersion with us,
please visit yogaimmersion.org