Patanjali's Yoga Sutra 2.44
स्वाध्यायादिष्टदेवता संप्रयोगः ॥४४॥
svādhyāyād-iṣṭa-devatā saṁprayogaḥ ||44||
Self-study and reflection on yourself (svadhyaya) brings you into contact with the desired ideal.
"Engaging in yoga helps us re-member; we embody our ideals." -trans. Libby Cox
"I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well."
-Henry David Thoreau
According to my Austin philosophy teacher, Dr. Ellen Stansell, the very definition of yoga philosophy is one that has room to adapt for its time. It is a living, breathing organism. With that pulse comes the notion that evolution and change are intrinsic. Yoga philosophy is meant to twist and turn through time and through the human mind, becoming inextricably interwoven with our own thoughts, opinions, needs, and ideals. In my understanding, this is exactly what happened to yoga philosophy in India over the course of thousands of years. Like a roaming wild animal, yoga philosophy wandered through time and across the Indian landscape, grazing on the minds and circumstances of all who saw it. With its tail, this yogic animal pulled behind it threads of deep wisdom, and stories of creation, humanity, deities, life, death, revelation and rebirth, twisting around the feet of everyone and everything in its wake.
In short, yoga philosophy is what we make of it. It lives in us. The destiny of yoga philosophy is to change as we change, to move as we move, to move and change as us, tangled up in the process of our own attempts to unravel it. We are already these embodied ideals. Simply allow these ideas to tug on the heartstrings of consciousness and you're practicing yoga. So, instead of writing a concise, fixed definition of yoga philosophy, and in honor of this living, breathing philosophy, may I present my blog. What I think comprises the body, the gems, of yoga philosophy will change as I change, as I live out my days. Every day I hope I remember that I am the embodiment of these ideas and ideals.
This blog post originally appeared on Libby Cox Yoga and was reprinted with permission.
You have two opportunities to practice with Libby in person at EYS.
Friday only option 6-9p
or Friday + Saturday and Sunday 1-7p.
This workshop is for EveryOne!
Yoga teachers earn 13 hours of CEU's with Yoga Alliance.
Hello yogi/ni's! I had the chance to sit down and talk with the Libby Bailey Cox about yoga philosophy and her upcoming workshop at EYS. You have two opportunities to practice with Libby in person at EYS.
Friday only option 4/26 6-9p or Friday + Saturday and Sunday 1-7p.
This workshop is for EveryOne and yoga teachers you can earn 13 hours of CEU's with Yoga Alliance.
I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did!
Mandy: Hi again Libby! Here we are, doing this again, because I forgot to hit record the first time…
Libby: Case in point—that Tantra is for householders!
M: Yes, what would we do without it! Thank you for coming back online and spending more of your precious time with us.
M: We have to start by pointing out that we’ve known each other since 2005. That’s so long! It was when we were yoga teachers, before you were a mother and before you considered yourself a philosophy teacher. From 2005 till now you’ve made a lot of transitions and I’d love to hear about your journey from going to yoga teacher to yoga philosophy teacher.
L:Alright! Well, long story short, I found yoga through dance. My favorite dance professor in college was a yoga teacher and yogini. The philosophy aspect came right on the heels of the physical practice, partly because I’ve always been a person who feels strange being person! Almost like I’m an alien trying on a human body, and there’s always been a certain amount of awe around the shape of us, and how we move and how we are beings in the world. When I took my first yoga class with my dance professor, one of the things that really stood out for me was how different I felt from practicing yoga asana versus moving for dance or for an art form or as a performance. The mental and emotional shifts that happened with the yoga were among some of the first questions I had for my teacher and they were always kind of in the forefront.
When I was studying to become a yoga teacher, I was also studying to become a Waldorf high school art teacher, and I was particularly interested in Waldorf education because of the philosophical component that Rudolf Steiner, the founder, had. He had a unique way of looking at the world, and of thinking about how we are as beings, as creatures on planet earth.
When I started teaching yoga, I already had a teaching background from dance and art, and with my performance background, it’s always been pretty easy for me to speak in public. And when I did my 500-hour yoga teacher training I studied with Dr. Ellen Stansell, and we did a 50-hour independent study together on the Bhagavad Gita. I spent some wonderful time with her—she had just had a baby and I went to her house and we sat together in this sweet and intimate way learning about philosophy and so I got to give a presentation around the Bhagavad Gita and that kind of got the ball rolling in terms of just having the space to be in conversation about philosophy.
Not long after that, Yoga Yoga in Austin asked me to start teaching the philosophy modules for their teacher training and ever since then it’s really been by request that I continue to teach philosophy. It sort of fell into my lap in that way. And now it’s a beautiful ferocious feedback loop that I keep teaching, and people keep having more questions, and I keep having more questions and keep learning and so here we are, ten or fifteen years later, teaching yoga philosophy.
about our Authors
The Everyone Yoga School blog is written by guest authors who are former students, instructors, and passionate yogis with the sole purpose of sharing the yoga experience in the live and hearts of everyone.