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.
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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.