|More Notes to Self|
Often we begin with asana,
If we practice regularly, at the same time, in the same place, it becomes routine.
Routine is the mother of discipline.
When a discipline brings us joy it can lead to devotion.
We become devoted to the practice.
When something so simple as stepping on the mat to breathe each morning gains importance in our lives we might find other more worldly objects of desire lose some of their import, our attachment to the world may be loosened.
Yoga philosophy suggests that the self is a construction of the mind, reenforced, maintained even by our attachment to the world of the senses.
Through our devotion to our asana practice then, our attachment to worldly things can be loosened, the construction of the self weakened.
In this sense asana can be considered preparation, tapas, an austerity.
Devotion along with surrender are considered two of the highest concepts in Yoga philosophy, Bhakti yoga.
The practice of asana may be considered a suitable preparation for yoga practice but is it a suitable object of devotion.
Asana practice, when an object of devotion can loosen our attachment to the objects of the senses, to our attachment to the world and thus can weaken the maintenance of the the mind constructed self.
As an object of devotion it is not merely preparation for yoga but the first steps along the path.
The path of yoga is intended to be one of self-realisation, that the world may not be as it appears, that my sense of self may not be what I assumed to be, what I believed.
The yoga path is to be one of knowledge, of greater understanding, of truth perhaps, all surely suitable objects of devotion.
As we deepen our practice through the other limbs, the weakened self may crumble, dissolve, what we believed to be our self melts away. Is there anything that remains?
Commitment to this practice is choosing to offer up our current understanding of self, an act of surrender as enquiry.
Yoga philosophy traditionally argues that Purusha remains, 'awareness', (an instance of universal awareness), Atman, Brahman, some use the expression the Lord, still others God.
Love is often described as seeking to know, rather than to project, to experience, to become joined to..., one with...., to be indivisible from... that which we love.
*'Love can be bhakti for us', love of knowledge, for the path of knowledge where ever it leads... to purusha or perhaps the absence of purusha, to god or to the absence of god.
Yoga is knowledge as radical enquiry and as such is not predetermined, there are signs along the way offered by those who have gone ahead but destination(s) only hinted at.
Devotion to the practice of asana may be the first step along the path of yoga, a path that may lead to self- realisation, knowledge, experience of......
Not forgetting the other seven limbs of Ashtanga (asana come in at No. 3.)
Some earlier posts
Summary of the Yoga Sutras.... in plain English.
Confessional, Note to self, Yama Niyama
What constitutes 'proficiency for Krishnamacharya? and thus qualification to begin pranayama and later dhyana ('meditation').
Practicing Pratyahara - 10 techniques
Ashtanga Yoga Meditation Manual - How should one meditate