Yoga as a Living Practice: Beyond Postures
Have you always wanted to learn deeper practices of yoga or had the hunch that there is application beyond the sticky mat? Have you left a yoga asana practice with difficultly bringing the experience of peace into your home, workplace, or interactions with others? Always known that yoga is a way of life, but wondered what exactly that really means?
In this course we will bring yoga out of a studio or retreat context, and into your home and the world. You will bring the insights of yoga and meditation to your day to day life in your home, personal relationships, and social context.
Why do YOU practice?
Yoga comes from the sanskrit word yuj, which means to yoke or join together. It was never intended to be practiced solely as a physical practice or in a vacuum. Union itself indicates a state of non-separation where the practitioner aims towards a state of being, which is non-fragmented. This is a far cry from the way we practice today in the modern world.
In studios within particular zip-codes or retreat centers, separated from cultural context, philosophical underpinnings, and whole segments of society, we often practice a kind of yoga that further divides us. We may experience endorphins from physical practice, experience personal benefits, and perhaps gain insights into our lives which can be vaguely translated to our other environments; but this can feel short-lived and can become dependent upon our physical ability and the teacher’s daily inspiration.
What then happens off the mat when we are confronted by our own deep seated fears and neurosis, ideas about ourselves in relationship to others, and less than ideal circumstances? How do we bring the insight and bliss off the mat and into our lives?
Go Deep Into the Simple
Learning yoga is a constant process, in many ways an UN-doing. Not only while on a cushion or upon a mountaintop, but in every moment, every context, and each relationship, it is possible to live a soulful, connected life. But let’s make no mistake; Authentic yoga practice is not for the faint of heart.
It is challenging, not because we are squeezing our bodies into pretzel-like shapes, but because we are tasked to remember what are minds are conditioned to forget, that we are not separate but unified beings. To engage with the world this way is revolutionary and counterculture. We are asked to confront the divisive conditionings and our own implicit biases that lead to racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobia even in action or in the most subtle sense of thought. We are asked to pay attention to how we really feel which is not always pleasant. We are asked to witness the experience of others which is sometimes painful and honor that our own small experiences are not the totality of experience for all; we are asked to open our minds.
Aside from yoga posture, there are seven other limbs of yoga as defined in the Yoga Sutras. The first two limbs, Yamas and Niyamas, are based on ethical principles for how we can live yoga in the world. In this course, we will center our learning in these principles and examine not only how to apply them to truly transform ourselves but also the world in which we live.
Through selected texts, particularly the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, discussions, accessible breathwork practices, and ayurveda, learn how to bring awareness to each moment, to re-envision the meaning of meditation as “moment to moment awareness of what is”. Yoga is a path of humility. We learn how to become the Seer, the witness of experience, rather than blindfolded and exclusive; we are able to see, learn form, and include especially those who typically have been de-centered in the modern yoga studios. We learn to see our thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations and take responsibility for our communication; and we learn how to speak truth, to use the practices to create equity and beauty.
With Anjali and her team of guest instructors and collaborators, we learn how to live our practice beyond the mat and see yoga through a lens of social justice and truthful awakening. We can begin to interact with each other with personal and community accountability. We can create a world more inclusive and welcoming to those we may see as different from ourselves.
Questions? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Anjali Sunita is the Founder and Director of Baltimore Yoga Village, a community wellness center which offers space to life changing and affirming programs and Village Life Wellness, her private Ayurvedic practice. She has been trained through the Sivananda Ashrams in India and Canada, anusara yoga immersion, acroyoga international, in prenatal and children’s yoga classes, as well as North Indian classical singing.
As a biracial woman of Indian ancestry, she carries particular interest in restoring what is most sacred, the practices and medicines, which have been colonized out of her family. She believes in “earth medicine” and that it is these traditions that will sustain us through these times of revolution and transformation.
In Ayurveda, she studied at the Ayurvedic Institute under Dr. Vasant Lad in New Mexico and Pune, as well as with Charak Ayurveda in Jaipcur, India. She has integrated knowledge from her beloved teachers and shares it with a great love for making the teachings accessible, easily understood, and applicable to each person she encounters.
She has shared knowledge in schools, jails, private homes, studios, retreat centers, and ashrams throughout the world, everywhere she has been called to teach.