This would seem to be the perfect time for some musings (a rant?) about Yoga and Christmas!...
If you’re anything like me, the lead-up to Christmas isn’t all about Merry. There’s a frenetic buzz in the air. I’ve been keeping an eye out for the true spirit of Christmas, but I fear it may have been trampled beneath the rampage of consumerism!
I have similar concerns about Yoga. It’s as if the meaning of the word has been flipped on its head. In the west, the word ‘Yoga’ is so often associated with an unhealthy obsession with body-image. How did this happen? Is our culture insistent on enslaving itself to superficial ideals? Yoga, in the true sense of the word, is supposed to set us Free from all this!
OK, so this view may be a little pessimistic… If we look a little deeper, we will discover more genuine expressions of both Yoga and Christmas. Christmas, for example, is also about reconnecting with friends and family, it is a festive celebration that nurtures a sense of wellbeing in our community.
Similarly, more and more people are discovering how the practice of Yoga can help us reconnect with our ‘selves’. Yoga fosters a cohesive sense of inner-wellbeing by bringing mind and body into a more harmonious relationship. You could consider Yoga to be an elixir for modern life!
But even these positive expressions are just scratching the surface. After all, both Yoga and Christmas are founded in the Spiritual. Christmas, in essence, is a celebration of the birth of a saint - arguably one of the most influential in history. Even if you’re not one to attend church and join in prayer, Christmas can be a wonderful reminder to take a step outside your ordinary worldly life and ponder the mysteries of existence.
And what better way to support these contemplations than through the practice of Yoga! You see, when we practice Yoga with sincere intent and the support of parampara (authentic spiritual lineage), our body becomes a church and our breath-awareness becomes the prayer. The path of Yoga becomes a celebration of the birth of inner-wisdom. As we awaken our connection to Truth, the mysteries of life begin to spontaneously resolve. We open into a sense of Wholeness – an ever-fresh embrace that both transcends and pervades what we had previously assumed to be ‘self’. What more could you want for Christmas?!
Just in case this all sounds a little ‘out there’, I should conclude by noting that it is perfectly fine to practice Yoga at whatever level resonates. But, as with Christmas, our experience of Yoga will always be enriched through deeper understanding of its meaning. Merry Xmas!