Welcome Summer Solstice and wishing all an elevated radiance on International Day of Yoga! Let's honor the illuminating power of surya shakti (sun's energy) and the practice of yoga that fortifies us towards self-healing.
I recall the very first day, over twenty years ago, taking a yoga class with my best friend and the class opened with the teacher leading us in a call and response chanting with a traditional mantra that I am very familiar with as it was a constant in my home, the Gayatri mantra - an offering of gratitude and acknowledgment of the luminous light of the divine sun, known as Savitur, for its transformative power towards growth and prosperity; integration of shadow into light.
Om bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ
tat savitur vareṇyaṃ
bhargo devasya dhīmahi
dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt
There are over 1,000 mantras in the scriptures of knowledge - the Vedas; the mantras are tools for the mind to elevate physical, cognitive, emotional, and spiritual levels, within the technique of meditation and mindfulness practices.
Yoga means direct connection and union with the source of living, in a state of consciousness that is free from constraints and conditioning. Practice implies to put effort into something repeatedly, to become more aware and proficient. Well-being is the mind state of being happy, healthy, prosperous, evenness in inner and outer outlook, and a good quality of life.
The social neuroscience of yoga and its effects on regulating the nervous system through increase in parasympathetic response - rest and digest - can be experienced through continuous practice. Yoga is inclusive, diverse, for different genders, ages, race/ethnicity, benefits all levels, and has great outcome on overall health.
I like to share in my teaching with students that yoga first informs us of where the limitations in our body, mind, and breath may arise; then with a dedicated and properly aligned practice, yoga reforms us through releasing the parts that hold trauma, grasping, emotions, and stagnation; and ultimately transforms us towards the divine qualities of creativity, equanimity, compassion/love, and joy/happiness. Traditional yoga has four paths that are all interconnected:
Gyan - yoga of intellect, known as buddhi, and science.
Karma - yoga of action and service.
Bhakti - yoga of devotion and love.
Raja - yoga of royal path towards total integration of wellbeing through asanas (physical postures), pranayama (breath regulation), and dhyana (meditation).
"The purpose of Yoga is to reclaim the mind into steady solace, so the essential nature which is unbound and free can be made clear and united with supreme potential towards stability, ability, and living with true aspiration "
- Kanan Kapila
This is made possible by maintaining the authenticity of the yogic teachings that thread the paths together through sanskrit chanting, contemplative studies, precision in sequencing to create spaciousness in the body, focused mind, breath awareness of pranayama, and meditation. Lastly, offering the practice to the higher Self in service so any major life transitions that arise, can be met with grace and ease.
If you’d like to learn more on chanting or getting started on a personal yoga practice, connect here for a free 20 mins session designed to help you with a presenting concern right now.