Yoga in Action – Off the Mat into the World
Purpose – The yoga we practice on our mat can be
limiting. We may perfect our asanas, strive to do more
advanced postures, deepen our ability to steady and quiet our minds in meditation, and heal our bodies significantly. Personal healing is the first vital part of our yoga practice. The other piece is interpersonal, which has to do with the yoga of our relationships to other people, as well as to our environment and all living beings.
The purpose of this 7-week program is the journey from the personal to the interpersonal. It is to deeply know our connection to all things and to allow this to be a source of inspiration and support in our lives.
The personal and the interpersonal feed each other. If we get stuck in personal development, we risk neuroticism, narcissism, alienation, lack of meaning, and loss of motivation. If we get stuck in interpersonal development, we risk burn out, martyrdom, dogma, loss of self, and disillusionment.
Philosophy – Tapas: Go through, not around. The process of yoga invites us to move towards unity and wholeness, to go to our dark places, breathe into them and shine our light there. It asks us to feel our discomfort and stretch beyond our perceived limitations. True yoga does not dance around pain and deny the existence of suffering. It asks us to look at it so that we may release its grasp on us.
Only by going through, rather than around, our fears and contraction can we find freedom and happiness (and even transcendence.) Many people think yoga is purely about transcending reality and rising above it. We suggest that “enlightenment” is quite the opposite- it’s about full involvement and presence in the here and now.
Tapas, one of the yogic precepts, is about austerity, sacrifice, and discipline. Tapas means “heat” or “fire.” Go through the heat and accept it – invite it in. Transformation happens through the fire – burn off the layers and emerge as something new. Give yourself fully to your dharma (your life’smission.) Develop courage, strength, and simplicity.
Our modern challenge is not figuring out how to transcend our reality, but rather being present with and connecting to that reality. This implies a personal process of knowing oneself as well as an interpersonal process of acknowledging what is going on in the world and how we as individuals factor into that. Our modern challenge is more about feeling like we can make a difference and that our life is purposeful and rich with meaning.
Goals – YIA is about embarking on a journey of self-inquiry, with the support of a small group,which leads to action within our community and outside world. “Action” can be many things, ranging from healing relationships, to family and friends, to extending oneself to the larger community, and to doing national or international work. The main intention is to understand the nature of our interdependence and our unique role in the web of life… to feel significant and a part of this greater whole.
You cannot transcend what you do not know. To go beyond yourself, you must know yourself.
– Nisargadatta Maharaj
Soon offered online as well: