What Is Yoga Really?

Yoga is an art, science, and psychology. It is a system to guide you into a state of connectedness. I hope by now, we are realizing collectively, that yoga goes beyond throwing ourselves into contorted shapes and showing off our flexibility. Yoga is a philosophy which is ancient and yet intuitive. Yoga is the shamanism of the Hindu tradition, it is healing in nature. Yoga is defined many ways, by many individuals. However, when beginning the examination of Yoga, any sincere student begins with the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. This 1700 year old book, would be known in the modern world as the “Ultimate Guide to Yoga.”

Yoga is as ancient as humans on earth, and humans have always been curious. Questions like, what is our purpose here, where did this all come from, and how to live this thing called life to the best of our ability, have been pondered about since pondering began. Before books & written word, humans passed down knowledge verbally from teacher to student through stories, songs, mantras & symbols, deep knowledge transpired verbally, tucked away in caves, in tribal communities and in jungles world wide. So the knowledge we receive from ancient wisdom books is actually older than the books themselves.

The Vedas are some of the worlds oldest written knowledge and is regarded as the first collection of sacred, and spiritual texts. These books hold wisdoms, stories & song preserved and passed down to guide the seeker towards self illumination. Yoga is derived from these ancient texts. Luckily for our modern world, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, was written around 400 BC as a collection of the most pertinent information about yoga specifically, and its 8 limbs. There are 196 sutras, and they are sung or chanted in many traditions including by my revered teachers in India & Thailand.

As ancient as these sutras are, it’s as if they were written for our times now. Simply studying the sutras allows us to think deeply on matters that affect our humanity in this day and age. Self discovery is the pathway to understanding the nature of reality. There is no reality without the self to perceive it. And our perception of reality precedes our actions in the world which ripple out into infinite forms.

We lead from what we perceive. If we perceive the world to be a scary, hopeless place, we will react from that perception and vibrate out thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that match a scared and hopeless individual. On the contrary, If we perceive the world to be a land where we are connected, and a part of its wholesome design, then we will naturally vibrate out thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that enhance connection.

Over the next weeks, we will examine together Patanjalis yoga sutras, how they relate to living in this modern world, and how they have related to my life. Through story, song, and creative expression, I hope to bring you a modern take on these ancient inscriptions in a playful and light hearted manner. Follow this journey by joining my mailing list here:

<<The Leela Project’s Mailing List>>

Receive weekly updates on the sutras, and deeper ways to find your own connection to this ancient pathway, and to yourself.

This is a great opportunity for those of you already on my mailing list, to forward this message along. Is there someone in your life who has expressed interest in Yoga, or an interest in understanding themselves deeper? Have you or someone you care about been practicing yoga and want to take the lessons you learn on the mat, into your living reality? The next weeks will be dedicated to bringing this ancient knowledge out through my eyes and wild sense of humor. It could be interesting.

Join my Facebook group << The Leela Project’s sound tribe >> where we act as a sounding board for each other as we chant sutras and talk story about what they mean in our lives.

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