This year I spent my New Year's Eve weekend at the Himalayan Institute in Pennsylvania partaking in a course called Inner Healing and Empowerment: A weekend of self transformation. Aside from being a brilliant way to start the New Year, it was a treat to share this time with four Ottawans who study with me. Their attendance was a realization of one of my samkaplas (intentions/resolutions) from last year: that students from Ottawa would attend the Institute to experience the powerful teachings of the Himalayan tradition.
A New Year's tradition for many of us involves making resolutions and then crossing our fingers. Studies show that only somewhere between 8-20% of these are realized. Why are the results so low? Because the resolutions are made on a superficial level, that is, they do not resonate on a sub and unconsious level. The necessary deeper roots to grow these intentions are not made.
The yoga teachings state that a confused mind does not allow us to establish and then stick to our resolve. Most of us have a confused mine, its clarity and sharpness become veiled because of life's experiences. Many good intentions in life fail because we don't have the tools to get the mind clear and focused and able to build our resolve. The Yoga Sutra provides the recipe for dealing with the mind. However, the Sutra does not give detailed practices. The secrets within the Sutra need to be unlocked by a teacher from a yoga tradition, such as the Himalayan tradition.
The Himalayan tradition teaches that the foundation of life is the unity of body and mind in a collaborative effort to achieve the common goal of fulfillment and freedom. Yoga is a the union of mind and body. Breath is the link between the two. When asana (poses) are done ignoring the mental component or meditation is done ignoring the physical component, there is no yoga.
Our weekend at the Institute gave us greater insight into achieving our intentions for this year - and for our lives. Specific techniques from the tantra and yoga traditions are used to bring the mind out of its confusion. There is ample fear, doubt, hatred, jealousy, greed, attachment, anger, anxiousness, grief and desire in the mind that keep it confused. The patterns and cycles of life seem insurmountable. They are not.
When we get the mind clearer through an integrated yoga practice we become co-creaters of our destiny, but we have to do the work. This work does not simply mean going to a yoga class, it has greater depth and requires a teacher whose lamp has already been lit by the tradition. Through directed practice the body-mind integration enables us to awaken our dormant potentials.
Establishihng a samkalpa that will materialize in the next year is possible if you use an integrated yogic approach. Just as fulfillment and freedom in your life are attainable. The tools are available to us. To learn more about these consider attending my yoga classes for a gradual integration of techniques. Alternatively if you are looking for a more intensive kick-start to the rest of your life, join me for Joyful Yoga: Living your Practice over the weekends of Jan 27 and February 3, 2012.
May your year, and life, be rich and purposeful.