On and Off the Mat

Yoga is a complete system of living, but there are multiple interpretations of the practice. Your students will come to the practice with an array of experience and knowledge about yoga and what the practice means to them. But in spite of the diversity within the practice, every discipline agrees the intention is transcendence by shedding the habits of the personality.

Whether they realize it or not, every yoga student returns to their mat because they are searching for freedom from pain. The trick is to understand how to live the practice on and off the mat.

There will always be pain. Emotional difficulty is an inevitable part of the human condition. Heartbreak, loss, failure and rejection are examples of human difficulty. Pain is a condition of the human experience. But this doesn’t mean that all life is awful. Part of the human condition just happens to be experiencing terrible things.

The personality structure of children is based on seeking love from the environment. Seeking and finding love is a strategy of the ego and children must pursue love and acceptance as a survival technique. In contrast, the pursuit of love, acceptance and pleasure for adults creates a false sense of self. Constantly seeking approval and love from external sources represents the inherent idea that you are “not enough.” Suffering ensues when external circumstances of love change or disappear.

When the thirst for even the memories has been quenched by the realization of the true self, that is non-attachment.

-Yoga Sutra 1.16

The strategy for navigating difficult emotions and indulging in less suffering is to train the mind and heart not to dwell on the illusion of permanence. There are numerous styles of yoga that all address freedom from misunderstanding. In this lesson, you will examine six – Raja, Karma, Kriya, Bhakti, Hatha and Mantra Yoga.

Assignment: Prepare a 15-minute yoga class

Prepare a 15-minute yoga class and/or meditation. Incorporate one of the types of yoga into the sequence.

By taigapaws

Land and Heart Yoga is an online yoga studio. Book retreats, yoga teacher trainings, meditation and asana classes with Kate. Wild yoga. For wherever you are.