Updated: Apr 6, 2022
Today I was sent a link with a video of a person who is an ace in self-development. As I live in my cave in Farnborough, it is not surprising to you when I say that I never heard of him. That said, I'm pleased he is able to do something for us! Everything someone can do to help us with our very, very long life is great!
When watching the video, I realised he was discussing something which is already out there for more than 2000 years! He was saying about people waking up in the morning with their thoughts in the past and in the long run all the depression becoming ingrained in the body.
You guessed it! I'm going to tell you that yoga already tells us about all this! The manifestation of dis-ease which can start in one of our other 5 bodies.
5 bodies? but I can only see one?! Yes, according to yoga we have 5 bodies, the Panch Kosha. I'm speculating that they did this to understand our highly complex persona and to be able to theorise and explain it to us.
I praise the author to say that the tool to change our routine life, predictable future and routine behaviours, is trough the "practice of analytical mind or meditation".
He mentions that we" wake up, we check our phone" [looking for that comfort (message) which didn't come], check the news which is full of horrors, and think how I'm going to make it through today. Mentions that "by 35 years old we are a set of memorised behaviours, thoughts, values and patterns", which is true. Many of us have conformed to life but we shouldn't feel bad about it as this is the age where we have to take the responsibility of our previous decisions, especially of having a family.
Who doesn't remember their teens and our existential life! We all have them... "Surely life is more than this"!... and the middle life crisis... and the later in life crisis!
In yoga, past information provided by previous lives, sensory input, and emotional baggage are called Samskaras, and for sake of simplicity, we describe them as seeds that might fruit immediately or stay for years or even future lives, as we say in yoga.
*on reincarnation- not wanting to get into the discussion of reincarnation, purely because I'm not informed about its historical routes and the yoga scriptures which deal with the subject, we can think and understand as actions taken today, like president Trump killing a general from Iran, and the hatred that that is likely to cause for generations and generations to come; as well as our genetic material, transmitted from parent to child and out culture or set of shared values; let's call that our reincarnations.
Yoga acknowledges that the default is suffering (dukha) and that we have to work daily - I repeat, daily - to overcome these through our yoga practices, starting with our physical practice - I repeat, starting with our physical practice - and then in time moving naturally to higher practices of meditation and swadyaya (self-introspection) which he mentions has the tools for liberation from conditionalism.
What he didn't mention is that there is more to it than just to sit and think about what you cannot change. You cannot change your job like that cause you might have a house to pay, kids to feed. You cannot reach samadhi and leave your body by the practices of meditation (induced starvation) cause you will affect your partners, etc. The question is complex and requires a broad approach. And is all about managing yourself, your mind, your fears, so we find Moksha (liberation) from all these thoughts.
This starts with the practices of the Yamas (social management) and Niyamas (personal management), the practice of asana (physical practice), pratyahara (management of sensory input), Dharana (practices to focus our mind activities) which lead us to Dyana (states of meditation). This was all codified by sage Patanjali, worked through the millenia by the different schools of yoga, the hatha school, the raja school, the Bhakti yoga movement, etc. All important to our development.
Lots have been discovered in modern psychology and other therapies just for the one who truly studies yoga - breath out - to realise that the therapies and books that pop-up around and which people rave about have already been in use for millennia.
Yoga is practice for your five bodies. your flesh body, your chemical and emotional body, your mental body, your higher knowledge and cultural body and ultimately the blissful body - yoga always work on a subject, ourselves, towards bliss; this body is indescribable so one doesn't think the work is done and is very difficult to achieve, so one realises that fighting his own dukha (suffering) is a daily task.
I do hope people read about self-development. I do hope people find the strength to practice, the patience to do it throughout their lives, the time to grow and the time to give to others, the best teaching of Karma - give without expectations.
If you want to know more about yoga, it's techniques and philosophy, talk to us or join our yoga teacher training.
Portuguese translation coming soon