tapaḥ-svādhyāyeśvara-praṇidhānāni kriyā-yogaḥ (PYS 2.1)
“You must be fueled by a burning desire to continuously study the Self, which is only available in the present moment, and to devote your self wholly to this effort – these are the actions to be taken to attain Yoga.” ~ Sharon Gannon, Jivamukti Yoga
For those unaccustomed to what Yoga really is and really refers to beyond Westernized notions of it as a bending, contorting form of gym fitness, this comment by Sharon Gannon on this particular sutra (thread) in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali refers to Yoga as “union,” the attainment of unifying, connecting, coming into oneness with the divine that lies in and unites all beings.
The practice of Yoga then is about experiencing one’s Self, one’s true and free soul. With that understanding, Yoga goes everywhere with us. It is not about bending into “poses” on a mat at a gym and calling it done. In fact, as Sharon also has said, “You cannot ‘do’ Yoga. Yoga is who you really are.”
This blog post is not meant to really be a teaching moment about Yoga, though. It’s about what Sharon’s comments on that sutra ring within me. My creative work, in all its forms, writing, podcasting, visual art, photography and in all the ways, is a practice of Yoga.
My creative work is about studying and exploring my Self. The big-S Self in yogic speak refers to that true and divine Self, as opposed to the egoic self that is disconnected from these inner wisdoms and truths.
Meditation, snowboarding, trail running, standup paddle boarding, parenting … on and on … all the things I do, and the things you do, the ways we be and think and express ourselves, provide opportunities to practice knowing the Self.
It all is Yoga. Or at least it can be, with that intention. If Yoga isn’t your interest, if that language is unfamiliar or even uncomfortable to you, set it aside. That name and specific spiritual context isn’t the point. It can just be a frame of reference for me.
An ongoing practice of deep awareness of ourselves, an increasing self-knowledge, is the point. Of this blog post. And so much more.