The Art of Being a Yogi

in yoga •  9 months ago

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"As long as we require someone else to make us happy, we are slaves." - Swami Vivekananda

The first step to actualizing liberation is to find contentment within yourself so that you need not be prey to outer manipulations and promises of happiness in exchange for your liberties. There is nothing quite as sweet as your own freedom and it may not look like anyone else's but that is the goal.
For what do YOU look like with less fear?
What does your freedom look like?
I will show you my freedom if you show me yours and in that Show & Tell a new society can be born.

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This is the true purpose of yoga, which may be surprising when looking at what yoga has become in the West. When one searches yoga on Instagram, it would appear that yoga is a body fitness contest. Who can be the sexiest while striking a pose? Yes physical prowess is something to be acknowledged but do you sincerely feel more inspired to connect with ultimate reality when viewing a pretty girl in a bikini on a beach doing a handstand splits or does that image awaken something else?

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It can inspire a feeling for some to push themselves with the physical postures to achieve something similar, but it can also awaken a feeling of inadequacy or insecurity, which is disappointing to have associated in any way with yoga.
For yoga originally was a path designed to bring people closer to their true essence, internally, using the flesh, but not becoming too attached to how one looks externally. Because eventually that will fade, no matter how beautiful you are now. That is why some yogis donned only ash, to remind themselves constantly of their impermanence and fleeting time here on earth.

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A little history for folks who may not know...
Yoga wasn't mainstream; it was for the misfits of society. That is the current irony of its popularity in the west and watering down for mainstream culture. It was truly for people who weren't fitting in to the contemporary paradigm or traditional householder responsibilities.
(Anyone relate to feeling this way?)

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To initiate one's education in this ancient and transformative process, one needed to demonstrate their commitment to a Guru, or spiritual teacher. Usually, one left the home life and lived as a wandering sadhu (holy mendicant, almost like a monk, but without a robe or the support of a clergy, although some joined specific Hindu orders and wore orange to show their level of renunciation).

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It was then that one could dive into the teachings and practice of yoga with complete abandon and sincerity as that the societal obligations to provide for a family or fulfill a role in the caste hierarchy of occupations was relieved through taking the vow of sanyasin, which is the vow to follow a life dedicated to realizing ultimate reality. The cost was much heavier than it is nowadays in the west where folks can sample yoga poses in a fancy studio, still interacting within their chosen socio-economic demographic and not fully challenging their egos.
Ponder that.
Yoga has been culturally appropriated to simply be a nice experience of calisthenics done for a light weight feel good spiritual experience.

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Yet, the purpose of yoga is ego deflation, so that one can be unified with infinite wisdom.
...a little more challenging to sell, right?

It's beyond radical; it's a total awakening.

We are but babies in this, but damn, if you are on the path at all, i salute you.
i know from deep experience how hard it is to earn your own freedom,
but for the one who earnestly desires to awaken:
integrity is key
and Self-Ownership is the beginning of its development.
A yogi is a master of Self-Possession because she/he knows that it is only in clearly defining what is distinguishing one from ultimate nature that it can be understand and eventually fully integrated. By eliminating behaviors that block one from inner harmony, one will experience greater harmony externally as well.
Yoga is integration
founded on integrity.
Decide who you are
and obey your inner conscience and we can co create a way of living that values all beings without ever needing to use cohercion or force to sustain harmony.
This is the Art of being a Yogi ~
learning the science of Self-Mastery and abiding in joyous fields of freedom.

If we practice the Art of being Awakened ~ the Art of Yoga ~
Then life will imitate it, for just as art imitates life, life imitates art.
May we sculpt our way out of samsara, using the precious temples of our bodies and sacred spaces of our minds
into unlimited liberation ~

If you care to learn more:
Please follow me here, comment and upvote this post.

Also check out my yoga portal website at www.modernmysticyoga.com where I activate yoga empowering events in many locations. Invitations always welcome and considered ~

And read my intro piece here on steemit to get to know me better:

https://steemit.com/introduceyourself/@tamaralee/introduce-yourself-enter-the-mandala-of-tamara-lee-yogini-anarchist

*i also work with individuals on developing personalized yoga practices/meditations and yogic lifestyle support coaching, (can be done via Skype) as well as facilitating specialized retreats and pilgrimages for your group, family, or personal needs.

picture credits:
1st one is from a back alley in Tucson, AZ 2016
2nd is from Glocal Khabar: The Sadhus of Nepal, The wandering Holy men.
3rd is from my Modern Mystic Yoga pilgrimage to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Ashram in Rishikesh, India 2017
4th is an image of an ash wearing aghori sadhu from http://taapli.com/aghori-sadhus-knowledge-of-magic-arts/
5th is of Vivek Giri, a devoted sadhu, making offerings to a Shiva Lingam spring 2017
6th is sadhus "chilling" in a Naga Sadhu Ashram in Haridwar, India 2017
7th is in Haridwar, India along the Ganges River with Yogi friends, including Kuldeep Girl, Sumer Giri and Saij Sidhnath Mahadev Pujari and Western yogini Julie Upton 2017.

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I LOVE this. Had a conversation about something similar with some folks. Everytime i see an add for goat yoga or beer yoga ... ugh.

Thank you for writing this. Very neccesary.

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Thanks for your feedback lady!

I'm impressed with the content, the flow, the beauty of this piece. Please give us more.

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Thanks Flynn ~ i am excited to write more and share here. It's a honor to be read and witnessed by my peers.

Super awesome read! I have been dabbling for years but not super serious until this last harvest season and my body was just wrecked. I decided to up my game and start reading more and digging deeper into exactly these aspects you posted. Super awesome and thanks for the great words and writing. Very nice flow. Upvoted and following ya now and looking forward to more insights. Aloha.

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Thank you very much. I am excited to share more of my yogic evolution experience with anyone who is interested. :)

Wow, you write as well as you teach yoga! Thanks for your wonderful service to humanity! Love the freedom aspect!

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Well, i am so glad i was able to share yoga with you and Flynn! It's my service indeed, my freedom, my passion!

Thank you for sharing this beautiful piece @tamaralee ! Your wise words resonate deeply and remind me to stay on the path of integrity with integration... I would be honored to take one of your offerings sometime in the near future, and look forward to your steemy posts until then ;)

Beautiful work here sister! Steemit needs you :)

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Thank you very much. i feel honored and grateful to be heard.

Indeed this is sadly so true. It took me ages to find a proper Yoga class where it was about yoga and not a contest as you say! Great post. The west had completely lost the essence of yoga when we brought it over to our posh studios and million doller clothes labels! 💯🐒

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i am glad to not feel alone in my observations here. Thanks for your feedback.

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Thanks for you enlightened observation 💯🐒

Thanks for reminding us. Our strength and flexibility should humble us, but theres often someone looking round the room checking they're doing it better than anyone else. Obviously in the west we are so obsessed with outward appearances and our sense of sight that we cant really blame ourselves for physical competitiveness. Breathing really helps. Emphasis on the breath brings us inside ourselves.

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i like how you said, "Our strength and flexibility should humble us..." So true, and so sadly lost in much of what is mainstream these days. What does humility look like in a pose?

I am awakening to the ideas of yoga and the philosophy behind it. I just recently made the connection of it being a tool towards self-liberation. I am excited to see that there are many others in the anarchist community who have made this connection and I am excited to learn and spread the good word of yoga :)

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i discovered i was an anarchist through the liberation i found in yoga! i too am super excited that others who love freedom have made a similar connection. :)