Yoga: The Ultimate Way To Teach SOM
Every day, I am eternally grateful for my training and practice of SOM (Science of Mind/New Thought). It gives me language in a Western World to explain the timeless Universal principles and practices of yoga in a way that students can understand. It is truly all One.
When students have difficulty balancing, I often ask: What is in your mind right now? Anyone thinking “I’m terrible at balancing”? Well, you will be right. As students explore their thoughts in yoga asanas (postures), their balance immediately improves.
Likewise, when I feel like a victim, when self-esteem is flailing, or when students feel overwhelmed by life, we go into Warrior poses. Being in the pose physically actually results in feeling empowered and confident.
Over the years, I realized that I would never be completely empowered without integrating body and breath.
The most important of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (the Classical yogic scripture) is in Book 1, Sutra 2: Yogash chitta vritti nirodaha. WHAT??? Basically, it means: The state of yoga is attained when the thought-forms in the mind cease. SOM practitioners know that this is the time when there is a space for intuition to flow.
But how do you stop those pesky thought-forms from our sense information and memory?
How do you slow breathing?
Still the body.
How do you still the body?
Learn to deeply relax muscles while staying awake. The body may LOOK like it is sitting without moving, but inside it may scream “Pain, pain, pain” or be very tense or sad or angry. All the yogic postures help to release tension, strengthen the body, balance and then…one fine day there is no pain. Just stillness.
Traditional Western yoga classes just offer postures and call it “exercise”. Yoga is so much more. I integrate intention and affirmative treatment (subtly) into the class. Dr. Michael Beckwith used to say that the Buddhist/Yoga practices were fine, but you always have to remember why you are practicing in the first place. Are you more kind? peaceful? giving?
All is integrated. It is all One. So magnificent. Namaste.