Most of us were raised with the social belief that there is something between us and God (a church or the pope for example) and we need to be on a quest.
This philosophy of “there is a higher power” is dualistic and assumes you are a lower power. We’ve all been affected by this thinking of trying to get somewhere, as if we’re not already somewhere.
The idea of human imperfection is deeply ingrained in our minds. This type of thinking blinds us to the perfection that is already us, as life itself.
Traditional yoga is a non-dual practice of your direct participation in the extreme intelligence that beats in the heart and moves the breath. There is a great power moving in you, as you. When you cut yourself, you don’t have to ask your body to heal itself, it just does.
And thankfully, you don’t have to remind yourself to breath.
We would rather go on a 10-day retreat to a mountain top than participate in our own breath. Just inhale! It is unfortunate that we think of pranayama as a “practice.” Pranayama is nothing more or less than conscious breathing.
It isn’t something we do, it’s something we are.
You are not here to become “enlightened” or “self-actualized.” You already are. Seeking enlightenment assumes you don’t already have it. You are already an extreme intelligence.
Now, if there is a source to this extreme intelligence (call it what you will – God/Goddess, Divine, Great Spirit, Allah, Yahweh, Jehovah), can that source be absent from this physical expression that is you? There is no separation. If they are one and the same, then there are no steps to be taken.
You are the divine expression of this extreme intelligence. The looking, the seeking is the problem.
People all over the world try to meditate so they can find “enlightenment.” What happens when you try to make yourself go to sleep? Trying to sleep prevents sleep. Just like you can’t make yourself go to sleep, you can’t make yourself meditate. It just happens.
Don’t try to meditate; it sets up struggle in the mind. Meditation may or may not happen. If it does, it happens spontaneously and it is a gift.
We are all extreme intelligence and self-existing perfection. You are formed from this wonder—the body, the breath, the heartbeat and all of nature. Yoga begins when you let go of ideology and accept the self in its natural state. Yoga is a reminder of what you already are and have.
The divine is not within you, it is you. You are divine and perfect.
A life-long student of yoga, Karen’s heart belongs to the teachings of Krishnamacharya and her dedication to her mentor, Mark Whitwell. Karen works with movement sequencing (asana and somatics), breath work (pranayama), mudras, energy work and the wisdom of Ayurveda (Indian Medicine) so that yoga can be adapted to all levels of ability. She is dedicated to bringing the practice of therapeutic yoga to all populations in a safe format that is rooted in exercise science. Karen has a degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. She holds many certifications including her E-RYT 500 through Yoga Alliance, is a certified Yoga Ed instructor and a Professional Yoga Therapist through Integrative Yoga Therapy. She is also the author of Yoga Bear: Yoga for Youngsters, a children’s book published by Northword Press (2004).Karen can be reached at her website.
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Yoga in America:
In the Words of Some of its Most Ardent Teachers
Editor: Jamie Morgan
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