First up. If you are only interested in yoga for its physical benefits and to become more flexible then that is perfectly ok! Yoga is amazing for the body and is a healing modality that can prevent and even cure all manner of diseases. But it's important to understand that the physical postures are only a teeny tiny part of what yoga really is.
I remember when I first started doing yoga that I was attracted to it as a way to loosen up my joints and to test my muscle memory from years of gymnastics as a youngster. Plus, being ever weight-conscious, anyone I’d laid eyes on that loved yoga and practiced it regularly had a body to die for. I was also vaguely aware of it’s potential to help me feel more calm as I’d recently gone through a period of anxiety and panic attacks.
That was over three years ago and since that time yoga has delivered on those promises, but there was much more to it than I ever imagined. That’s why I’ve started Grace Orchard - so that I can share with you the true meaning of yoga, together with the true meaning of tantra and the true meaning of love.
Too often today, yoga is practiced mechanically without any understanding of the fundamental principles, tantra is regarded only as sex and love is confused for possessiveness and attachment. Through Grace Orchard, it’s my aim to reveal to you what the majority don’t know (or get wrong) about these life-enhancing subjects.
For now, let’s just start by looking at the yoga side of things and at what YOGA IS, traditionally speaking, versus what a lot of people perceive yoga to be (which it IS NOT).
What Yoga IS
An empirical science (YOU are the laboratory)
A spiritual practice for elevating your level of consciousness
Focused on taming the mind and harnessing its power
A system for exploring the nature of the Universe and our connection to the world around us
WHAT YOGA IS NOT
- Just an exercise regime
- About flexibility or contortionism
- A part of the Hindu tradition, or any other religion for that matter (you can be religious and practice yoga or you can be atheistic and practice yoga)
You may be wondering how it is that we have come to have such a misguided view of things. One of the major reasons, is that a lot of the yoga taught today is not based on the ancient traditional texts, but rather modern interpretations of the yogic tradition that focuses primarily on the health, fitness and flexibility of the physical body.
And it’s not that physical health and fitness aren’t significant or important (“Health is wealth” after all) or that yoga doesn’t incorporate this.
YOGA FOR EVOLUTION
The tantric approach to yoga and spirituality that Grace Orchard teaches sees the body as a temple in fact. However, an authentic yoga practice offers much more profound benefits than just a sleek physique. These deeper benefits are the result of knowing that the physical body can be used as a gateway to the more subtle aspects of ourselves (our energy, emotions and mind) and making the focus of our practice the evolution of our consciousness versus the sculpting of our thighs.
If you are someone who has been doing yoga for a while, maybe you've started to feel ready for more from the practice. It’s possible you’ve noticed an improvement in your flexibility, better muscle tone, improved posture. Are you aware though of whether it's also impacted:
- How you respond to everyday stressors and situations where you feel challenged or uncomfortable?
- The ability to attract love in your life or improve your tolerance of people who have different beliefs than you?
- Has it instilled in you the courage to speak up at work or say ‘no’ to something you don’t want to do and instead be true to your own heart?
- Does it bring you a heightened awareness of the present moment and feeling of connection to what life is all about?
Another reason you might have been misled about the true purpose of yoga, is that when you go to a yoga class today, you usually only learn how to “do yoga” but you don’t get any of the theory that allows you to understand the metaphysics of the practice. And this is what I share in my tantra yoga workshops & courses.
That’s right, yoga is a metaphysical science designed to place us in communication with the Universe. If you approach yoga with this knowledge and awareness it’s potential to transform and expand every aspect of your being - physical, energetic, emotional, mental and spiritual - is as infinite as the Universe itself.
The key is to be curious. It’s all about seeking to understand the ‘why’ of yoga not just the how - why was yoga created and how does it actually work? What is happening beyond what we see at the physical level? These are questions most of us don't think to ask but they make all the difference! To ask why is to open yourself to the full potency of what yoga can really offer.
WHY DO YOU PRACTICE YOGA?
Consider what the underlying motivation is for any pursuit in life. For most of us, the reason we do anything can be traced back to one core desire; the desire to be happy and peaceful, to feel we are loved and worthy.
Ultimately to know why you practice yoga is the same as knowing why you are here and what is life all about. And with this knowledge comes the lasting happiness and fulfilment we’ve been seeking.
The moral of this story is:
> Expand your understanding of yoga
> Expand your individual potential
By understanding the fundamentals of yoga, you'll also have the fundamentals for understanding what this mysterious experience called life is all about. Priceless yes?
So ask yourself now - why do I practice yoga? Or if you are looking to start practicing yoga, what are you seeking? And then leave a comment below sharing your thoughts.
Love & Light to you,