As a teacher, it's a real gift when you find a student who is sincere and dedicated in their practice and inquiry into yoga. A student who comes with a balance of openness and curiosity draws out the embodied understanding of yoga through their questions and the challenges they present, which helps me, as a teacher, integrate those teachings and develop my own way of communicating them effectively. My friend Nelson is a student like this, and he has written a beautiful personal account of our work together. I'm honoured and humbled by his testimony.
Dr. Gabor Maté, a renowned expert on trauma and addiction believes that at the root of addiction is a fundamental disconnection from one’s true self.
This split can happen because of any number of factors including childhood trauma, or familial or societal pressure to conform to a way of being that isn’t in alignment with one’s own true nature. This was certainly the case for me.
In it’s 196 short aphorisms, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra offers a complete guide to practicing yoga with the goal of freeing ourselves from the mental obstacles that prevent us from living to our fullest potential. In one of the few statements relating to yoga posture, or asana, Patanjali says clearly, ‘sthira sukham asanam’, which means, ‘the posture must be stable and comfortable’.
“Inhale, and God approaches you. Hold the inhalation, and God remains with you. Exhale, and you approach God. Hold the exhalation, and surrender to God.”
This quote from my teacher’s teacher, Sri T. Krishnamacharya, contains a profound insight into the religious nature of Hatha Yoga. The word religion comes from the Latin religare, which means to bind or join, a meaning shared by the root of the word Yoga, yuj.