The Spiritual Dimensions of Yoga

David’s approach to teaching is grounded in the ancient teachings of Yoga. David’s gentle reminders throughout class to refocus and reconnect combined with clear and concise instruction as to how to create a stable, grounded posture, help the student back to Yoga’s central task: experiencing of peaceful, centered well-being.

Bringing one’s focused attention into the body during the experience of a yoga posture (asana) is one kind of Yoga, or Union that can give the practitioner a taste of this inner quiet. Past and Future can feel like they are dropping away as the practitioner combines his or her intention to stay focused on the immediate task of creating a stable posture while maintaining deep and rhythmic breath awareness.

“Now begins the teaching of Yoga,” is one interpretation of the first of Patanjali’s teachings. The next sutra, “Yoga is the cessation of the thought waves of the mind,” sounds to some something like death, yet if one reads on, something awesome is put forth for the reader to contemplate: “Then, the yogi becomes present to his True Identity.” Later, it is revealed that our “True Identity” is in fact pure truth (sometimes translated as Existence or “Sat”), Consciousness, (Chid), and Bliss (Ananda).. Other traditions translate the second Sutra differently. In the Anusara tradition, instead of “cessation of thought waves,” a more “user friendly” phrase is substituted: “the freedom to align with one’s true nature.” I like to think of a quieting, a kind of involution that brings to a Source of Peace, a refuge from where we can replenish and renew ourselves.

We are humans with brilliant but usually highly habituated minds, and our bodies seem to house this mind and all its conditioning, desire, joy, and suffering. But how do body and mind relate? One of the great and simple teachings of Yoga is that breath and the mind are, like two fish swimming in the water, intimately linked.