On Change at the Cusp of a New Year
Change is inevitable. Nature is always changing as we can witness in our bodies as well. Our inherent characteristics (dharma parinama), the effects of time on our system (lakshana parinama) and change based on conditions or circumstances we are in (avastha parinama). Sustained meditation on these shifts brings knowledge about the past and the future says Patanjali. BUT… this is not the ultimate point of Yoga…just an interesting result.
So often the culture asks us to see our practice as a way to manipulate this change. To put at bay the inevitable decay of the body, to bypass our internal dialogue into magical thinking, to push away the qualities of our physical form we don’t want and grasp on to or glorify what we don’t have etc etc. And this is a losing battle. Truly. Because all of this is tied to a conditional nature. One that will inevitable fall away.
So Yoga offers us a different kind of parinama; a higher parinama. The transformation within. This is the transformation of the mind through sustained and well prepared practice. THe mind goes from vikshipta (wavering between grasping/aversion/pain/temporary pleasure etc and small moments of quiet) to ekagra (the ability to stay with the moment). We can then go even further from this sweet focus to Nirodhah Parinama or the transformaiton of the temporarily still mind to one that is in a state of continuous and unconditional peace….even as nature changes around and within us. All of these changes require choice. The modern $yoga complex$ would have you focus on the former. THe change related to the body/mind complex tied to prakriti because that grasping and aversion is the seed of it’s success. If you keep seeking that which will never remain (a younger body, a bigger bank account, more approval from your instructor or community) then the spin cycle keeps on spinning. But the yogis of olden days held a different hand. Here are the tools said the rishis, study, honor and use them as you are able to. The choice is not only yours, the practice is too. It needs no appropriation, no bells and whistles, no trademarks or copyright just your dedication, enthusiasm and consistency.
Prepare the mind well…don’t get stuck on the glorification of severe asana. Even simple breath guided movements do a lot to quell rajas, pranayama is a boon that soften the effects of tamas. Yama and niyama help reduce the input of external rajas and tamas. pratyahara acts as a seal for the mind to settle. etc etc. Give the mind the proper platform from which to take up the antara Sadhana (internal limbs of yoga). The krama matters and the teacher can only guide so far. At some point this yoga requires you alone.
Happy new year. It’s another day <3