In the yoga philosophy all practices start with learning how to breathe, stretch, move, and be still – ways to stimulate the bodymind to experience uplifting well-being. Such well-being is exactly what it says: wellness of the whole being.
In ordinary daily-grind reality there is seldom harmonious synergy of body, mind and spirit. Business, physical, mental and emotional discomfort or pain, imposed or self-imposed, is the order of the day. As a coping mechanism bracing, numbing down and escapism is the common go-to defence.
Yoga suggests practices that builds well-being rather than destructive coping strategies. Sustainable in the long run, simple or challenging as the practitioner is capable of.
● Yoga provide an experience of true well-being
● Yoga provide tools to overcome conditions that prevents an experience of well-being
● Yoga provide management and acceptance of conditions where it is not possible to to experience well-being
Get to know joy
A useful place to start is to cut right to the chase. Popular yoga as commonly practiced is based in asana or the exercises, but these are only an aspect of the real or greater yoga that leads one to true joy. When happiness is experienced for no reason other than feeling alive, in the moment, in the now, not because of something, or inspite of everything. One could potentially feel it in a supermarket or a prison, but of course joy is more likely to be found in a beautiful place, indoors or in nature. I’m talking about the pure pleasure of physical being alive, without any reward or expectation or getting or giving.
If you’re not feeling an inkling of such joy, ask yourself: What makes me happy, and how does it feel? You must understand that you may be looking for joy in the wrong place, or perhaps just gave up on the idea. In yoga joy is something that the practitioner directly aspires to, with awarenesses of that which prevents an experience of joy as part of the learning and process.
The nature of joy
Yoga takes its practitioner to a straight forward realisation that there is no such thing as real joy in anything except a simple, direct connection to feeling alive. Everything else is indirect and causal, fleeting happiness or happiness as result of something.
In nature, life on earth, there is much light, sky surrounds us. At night the stars gives light, and provides restful respite from bright and busy day. But it is sunrise, so magnificent and glorious on occasion, that may fill the onlooker with awe. Noticing these things, finding joy in nature, wherever and in whatever condition you in, teaches us that we are, in being, body, mind and spirit, a joyous part of the greater nature.
The simple breath and movement practices of yoga nurtures this nature, in our being.
Sunrise Beach Yoga on a calm, bright Muizenberg morning for a small European tour group.
Surfers Corner 28 September 2017