As the season unfolds and I return from such a beautiful surrounding in Portugal retreat, I am grateful to come home to our YAF community. I love bringing groups together in shared experiences to go deeper into the philosophies and methodologies of the more subtle tools of breath and meditation. It’s such a gift to witness the transformation of students as the practices reveal so many miracles of experiencing the joy of living.
Over the years, my deepest love is teaching the sutras, which offer the yogic philosophy and practices that have been evolving since at least 3000 BCE, which accounts for their rich complexity and diversity.
In simplistic terms, the two main goals of yoga are to know oneself and to know the possibility of something greater or the Cit, a Sanskrit word for truth. From this understanding, the seeker aspires to know oneself not as just an identity of form or role but to align with a deeper source of consciousness awareness. In other words, one aspires to embrace the soul and to honor the presence of a source or God or Higher Power, whatever the truth reveals in the experience of living one’s yoga. The tools are many, and Patanjali’s yoga sutra outlines practical steps toward this optimal alignment.
These sutras offer us a practice of yoga that have the ability to help ease our suffering of a roaming mind and to calm our nervous systems. Science is catching up, and my life’s work, after leaving the mental health system in the early 90s as a therapist, was to offer the teachings of yoga as a path to heal the physical, mental and emotional layers of the mind and embrace the soul.
For the past two years, I have been blessed to go deeper with my yoga therapy tools and into my own practice. I completed a teacher training in the very practical and yet profound study of Vishoka meditation. The methodology for learning these practices offers beginners as well as long-time practitioners an opportunity to experience the subtle grace of presence.
Sutra 1-36: visoka va jyotismati (by focusing on the light in the heart that never suffers) is a sutra in the section where Patanjali gives us different options for calming the mind, bringing it to a state of steadiness closer to citta-vritta nirodha. This principle of philosophy offers the glimmer of possibility that there is a light deeply hidden in our hearts that never suffers, which is opposite of our learned mind that holds the memory of despair, sorrow, anger, or heaviness. This is the light of consciousness.
We are born into this light, and it is neutral, unaffected by the outer world. However, the effort is in actually bringing the focus of the mind inward instead of turning the light towards external objects and outer experiences. We might not be able to change the outer world at times, but we do have the choice of discernment to shift our own focus and bring our minds home. We can use these tools now as the uncertainty of living is moving so quickly, and our sense of stability is shifting.
Now, I am offering these teachings to our YAF community and create soul groups that come together and feel safe enough to let the resistance of fear move us into the open space of self-love and compassion and celebrate our aliveness. This course is designed to be 6 weeks in 2 hours sessions covering the practices of different skills in yogic breathing techniques, asanas, discussions, and learning the sutras, meeting each student where they are.
We will gradually move into the full body of the Viskoska meditation. Pantanjali asks us to turn this light inward toward the divine resting our attention in our heart. This takes a refined mind of practice as we are so much affected by sukham and durham, or the joys and the sorrows of what we are witnessing. Life is much greater than our attachments to the ups and downs of living through the lens of learned habits or patterns. The light we have is not ours, it belongs to the divine, and all of us are miracles of the profound grace which offers a gateway to thriving.
Our nature is to fear as we cling to maintain our self-preservation. When we collectively connect with that which is our true nature or cit, we rise above the experiences that constantly bombard our moods of anger, frustration, anxiety, overwhelm, exhaustion, and irritability. My teacher always reminds me that when someone is bitten inside with pain, they will bite out. That reactive mind is an unstable mind, and it is holding on to hurt. To heal ourselves is to heal the world. To move into that which is healing takes courage to let go of old patterns. We need each other to support and encourage this journey.
Vishoka Meditation with Sutra Study meets on Saturday from 12-2pm starting October 29. I hope you can join me on this journey and reclaim your inner joy! Learn more and register here.
With love and light,