esther m palmer

the practice of yoga

There's a premise in ISHTA Yoga (and I think all yoga) that the objective of daily practice of yoga is to experience undifferentiated or universal consciousness.

But what does that even mean?

I don't know. I'm investigating.

Yoga is also defined as the "stilling of the fluctuations of the mind."

Quieting the chatter of thoughts.
Focusing attention to one thing.
Being immersed in experience.

This idea I can get behind.

I don't need to live every moment of my life in intense focus, but setting myself up for more of those moments sounds like a reasonable pursuit.

That's what yoga is (for me).

Some of yoga's practices help take you directly to the experience of a single point of focus. Others help you engage with the practice of concentrated focus in pretty much any activity or thought. I think of the practices I use as falling into these two over-arching categories:

1). practices that can induce a focused/immersive experience
2). practices that help one be at ease with oneself

I do think the objective of 1 + 2 are fundamentally the same, but the practices in the second category can often be actively employed to make living more joyful, comfortable, and easeful even when you're not in an immersive experience.

So, basically, meditation is awesome. It feels great and we believe it helps your brain change to be geared towards joy + positive thinking (in a super general nutshell). Meditation might be enough to put you in a frame of mind to "solve" all of your "stuff". But it might not be. When it's not, there are all these other activities and strategies you can try out to more directly tackle your "stuff" --activities like moving your body to release pent up energy, or strategies like taking on philosophical views that embrace the valid and valuable role of all creatures and all your fellow human beings.

In my experience, some of us need a lot of category 1 and not much of category 2, some of us need mostly 2 and don't get much out of dwelling on 1, and most of us are aided by a daily practice of 1 and 2.

But, as probably every parent on earth has said at some point, you'll never know what suits you 'til you try 'em!

More on that next time.

hari om tat sat!

Thoughts or questions? I'd love to hear them.

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