The unchanging self & happiness within

Yesterday, I watched a documentary called “On yoga: The architecture of peace.” It captures the journeys of photographer Michael O’Neill, as he travels to India over the course of 10 years to meet, interview and photograph the great yoga masters. It was an inspiring movie… and it led me to this thought:

Yoga helps us to reconnect with our true Self, that part of ourselves that is eternal and unchanging, ever at peace, ever residing in a state of bliss. Yet often, in class, I ask people to notice any change or difference in their body/mind after a particular posture or breathing exercise. This IS valuable: to learn for ourselves what the effects of yoga practice are on our body and mind. But now… let us also ask ourselves what remains constant throughout our practice. What doesn’t change? What aspect of ourselves lies above and beyond the changes in our body/mind? Here we begin to glimpse the true Self.

One of the yoga masters featured in the film spoke of peace and happiness as always, always residing within us – it’s just that other ‘things’ can sometimes obscure this natural inner state. Our question then becomes: how can I remove these internal obstacles or veils that are covering up my blissful inner Self? This lies in contrast to common belief that happiness is OUT THERE (not within) and that we need to somehow ACQUIRE it. Yoga teaches that no, it is not the acquisition of more, but the letting go of the unnecessary or false, that reveals the inner light.

Want to explore these ideas through yoga postures and discussion? Join me in class! And/or feel free to e-mail me or post comments below.

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