I have been quite for a while whilst plodding on with life as we all have during these times. I found that I simply could not find the inclination nor the concentration needed to sit and write this blog, but today I wanted to finish off my writing on the Niyamas and close the circle as well as wish everyone a happy new year for 2021.
It’s not anything that hasn’t been written before, but I learn as I reflect on these philosophical yogic principles and I find it so helpful to come back to these things, so here we are: the last three Niyamas (in Patanjali’s writings anyway):
Tapas (तपस्): heat, austerity, self-discipline, persistent meditation, perseverance
Svādhyāya (स्वाध्याय): study of self, self-reflection, introspection of self's thoughts, speeches and actions
Ishvarapraṇidhāna (ईश्वरप्रणिधान): contemplation of the Ishvara (God/Supreme Being, Brahman, True Self, Unchanging Reality), attunement to the supreme consciousness
And it is convenient and helpful to group these three in particular together like this in fact - this relates directly to Patanjali's Yoga Sutra 2.1:
Tapas (literally meaning "heat") is needed for any yoga practice. Without a bit of passion and perseverance, forget any kind of consistent practice (in life too, not just with yoga asana!). Tapas is the discipline to practice and to move through the blockages that build up from our reaction to life experience. This Yoga is as an inward journey, of Svadhyaya, self-correction and knowledge in line with the yamas and niyamas. This heating of the inner self to connect with the essence of self and life and have the realisation, whatever your tradition, that all is one and here and now. Ishvarapanidhara, whatever you conceive of that supreme consciousness or being as being, is then a result of that disciplined process of self enquiry and introspection. Surrendering to a greater force than yourself whatever that is and recognising that this exists and that you are in relationship to it. This is the action of yoga (kriya = action).
Manifesting all of this through physical action and effort like yoga asana helps to ground it in the world beyond the fleeting, transient thoughts conjured by our minds. It puts us in relationship with ourselves inwardly to give us direction and clarity of mind. It allows this to be experienced in and by the body as well as the mind in connection to the environment around us. Through this, it allows us to truly participate in what life is.
So, with that in mind, here we are again, a new year again, an arbitrary marker in fact, but also a natural one, set by our planet's solar orbit, of course. I’ve said before I don’t make resolutions so much as send out hopes for the future and do my best to keep it on a path, through staying grounded and connected, that may lead to what the universe truly wishes for me. I intend to stick with that this year and I very much hope that this year is easier on all of us whatever happens. Let's see..... let's look forward rather than back and live in the here and now at the same time.
Love and peace and light to you. Namaste. xx