June: Yoga Philosophy

The great luxury of my job is free mornings.

The thought in the back of my mind as I make these monthly intentions is to build a tool belt of healing creative skills. One day I hope my career is some combination of teaching, yoga, mindfulness, art, counselling and art therapy.

The work of teaching (even teaching English to school children) serves my learning of how to hold space for others.

I can’t imagine having grown up without art. My access to creative outlets helped me navigate the experience of angst, joy, trauma, grief and triumph. As an adult mindfulness has been similarly transformative. The most important mentors of my life have been art, yoga and meditation teachers. I can’t think of anything more worthy than becoming a teacher like that.

Asana opened to the door to a relationship with my body. Had it not been for feeling empowered by my physical yoga practice I don’t think I would have found real love in any physical activity. It all would still be hitched to some goal for looking different.

Yoga helped me transform my relationship with movement from ‘fixing’ myself to honoring myself. Discipline isn’t a tool to meet a number on a scale, it’s a consistent practice of self celebration. “I honor my worthiness by giving myself the gift of this practice.”

In the near-ish future I intend on going to India to practice meditation at Shanti Mayi’s ashram and take my RYT 200.

It’s all well and good to be into yoga. I am one of millions of people on that path. But if it’s something I am going to teach I want to take such time and care making sure I understand the history and philosophy that I am endeavouring to share. This learning is not something I could do in a month long course. This learning will take a lifetime. No time like the present to crack open the Sutras and get familiar.

In June I have the intention of completing Yogamaze’s Yoga Philosophy course. The curriculum is:

Session 1: What is Yoga? Definitions, history, overview, 3 main phases of yoga tradition
Session 2: Vedas and Upanishads; earliest sources of yoga
Session 3: Asceticism and Sramana traditions: Buddhism & Jainism
Session 4: Sankhya and classical yoga and the Yogasutra of Patanjali
Session 5: Bhagavad Gita
Session 6: Mahabharata
Session 7: Ramayana
Session 8: Bhakti
Session 9: Advaita Vedanta
Session 10: Tantra: overview
Session 11: Tantra: Subtle body; Kundalini and chakras
Session 12: Modern Postural Yoga

On my own I also plan to study the most famous yogic texts. The Yoga Sutras, The Bhagavad Gita, Autobiography of a Yogi and Light on Yoga. I will start with those four and add to the list depending on my pace.

The secondary goal of the month is to watch my meditation and asana practice be influenced by my study. To notice a deepening. To put my learning into action.