Monday, January 11, 2010

Yoga Workshop, Espern, Hamar, December 2009 - Part One

A student said ‘yoga’s all well and good, but I want to stop thinking.’

‘I want to be slimmer.’ ‘I want a job.’ ‘I want to quit smoking.’ ‘I want to feel more emotion.’ ‘I want to connect to God.’ ‘I want a flatter stomach.’ ‘I want to be relaxed.’ ‘I want less stress.’ ‘I want to be liked.’

When I heard M’s comment, I thought, ‘Exactly. How can yoga help us, in a practical day to day way? Why would a person off the street begin yoga?’

What’s in it for me? Will it give me what I want?

Better, I say. Yoga will teach you the misery of wanting, and release you from your traditional role of victim, of waiting for someone else to give you what you need to be happy.  Yoga offers freedom, instead of being a dupe for every advertiser who wants to earn a buck, and to every urge you feel, and to every emotion that stunts your life.

We are what we are. But we think we are much more or  much less. There is a difference. To help us understand this, because we want so much to understand, we have created a system to help us come closer to the truth of the matter.

The Self

We can break the self up into identifiable parts – the mental, the emotional, the physical. We are a mixture of these parts, but often we find we are dominated by one area more than another.


We know people who live primarily through their mental self. They need to rationalise everything. They need to understand the whys and wherefores before they commit themselves to a project. They need to understand.


These people are attached mostly to their bodies. They can be athletes, dancers and people who can feel their body’s responses to food, to alcohol, to lack of sleep. They suffer if they over eat and can not wear high heeled painful shoes. The opposite of this are people who don’t seem to notice their physical body at all.


These people are swayed by their emotions of the moment, and can seem unstable. They can feel other people’s pain, have strong empathy, and are often moved from laughter to tears and back again.

We are a mixture of these things and more.

The Spiritual

Then we have the spiritual nature. And this is the yearning for ‘more’ than the other three can give us. Its awakening can cause problems for many of us, because we are not prepared to accept the changes in thought and deed that accompany the yearning for ‘god’ or our concept of what ‘god’ is.

Our difficulty lies in accepting these differences. 

Because we are thinking from different areas – the mind, the body, the emotions, the spirit, and these are complicated by our own experiences, our internal laws, what things mean if someone does this to me and so forth and so on.   But these things are not the same for everyone.

We can talk all day about our differences, and we usually do. All of the things we do to separate ourselves, and we can talk about those also, are things that separate, and this is not ‘unity’, it is not conducive to yoga. 

Part Two of the Workshop 

No comments: