Erika Trice is a yoga and qigong teacher based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“And seeing what is true, the heart becomes free.”
–Suzuki Roshi Zen Master
The goal of our yoga practices should be to diminish our suffering and return us to our inherent state of peace and potency. Yoga is both the word describing this original state of peaceful liberation and the tools/practices we use to attain a healthy vibrant body and a stable mind.
Ancient Yogi’s believed that deep within us there is something that is not subject to change. This eternal source called Purusha (according to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras) is who we really are . . . but we lose sight of this true nature through our mistaken perceptions. We forget our true selves as we identify with the transitory and ever changing experiences that surround us.
The practices in Yoga of moving, breathing, focusing, reflecting, chanting, and meditating cultivate an inner environment for the student to experience calmness. It is in this inner stillness that a profound peace arises. This deep peace is Purusha. The ability for the yogi or yogini to steady him or herself in this unchanging state is the work of the practice.
Patanjali also suggests that in addition to just doing the practice (Ahbyasa) we must do the practice with 3 important qualities:
We should be dedicated to a regular practice even as the seasons of our lives change (what that practice is may change but the focus on practice remains the same)
Our attitude towards our practice is that we are in it for the long haul – this is where our yoga becomes a practice for life or life practice
It is not enough to do our practice each day but our heart must be in it . . . we should love it and be fed by it.
The last thing Patanjali mentions about our practice is that as we practice our inner attitude is best if it is not attached (Vairagya) to the outcome. Basically it is better if we let go of our expectations and focus on the actions themselves.
Just doing the practice each day with discipline, thoughtfulness and love reveals to us what has always been there . . . that the Source of all that we need is within us.