YOGA and WOMEN

From a young person to turning into a mother, menopause and seniority women experience distinctive periods of existence with numerous real changes. These distinctive periods of women life are accompanied by several ups and downs in personal and professional life. These situations are further supplemented by the patriarchial society which ascertains the Do’s & Dont’s of their life. Although the rise of feminism has wrecked the patriarchy but only to a minor level. A major battle remains to be won and this battle is not to be taken up with hatred and defiance towards others but by loving and embracing self.

Nisagradatta Maharaj Ji was an Indian Guru of Shiva Advaita (Nondualism), belonging to the Inchagiri Sampradaya, a lineage of teachers from the Navnath Sampradaya and Lingayat Shaivism. He explains the true nature of life based on his major teachings evolved from ‘I am that’. It was crucial to quote him here to convey the soul of the discussion, i.e. finding out who you really are.

He quotes, “Go deep into the sense of ‘I am’ and you will find. How do you find a thing you have mislaid or forgotten? You keep it in your mind until you recall it. The sense of being, of ‘I am’ is the first to emerge. Ask yourself whence it comes or just watch it quietly. When the mind stays in the ‘I am’, without moving, you enter a state, which cannot be verbalized, but which can be experienced. All you need to do is to try and try again. After all the sense of ‘I am’ is always with you, only you have attached all kinds of things to it- body, feelings, thoughts, ideas, possessions and so on. All these self-identifications are misleading, because of these you take yourself to be what you are not.”

Why do women need self-identification?

In order to realise your true self you must be free from all the identities that you have gained being a part of the divisive society. Freedom from any kind of boundations that prohibit you to engage with yourself, that prevent you from being who you are.

You are not just a mother to nurture the child, not just a homemaker to lookafter the family, not just a professional to work according to the expectations of your counterparts and bosses and nevertheless not just a women bound by the societal norms of have to’s and have not to’s. You are something more, someone who is free to flow, free to design your own beautiful world with freedom, peace , wisdom and happiness.

Nisagradatta Maharaj quotes another wonderful note, “You have to go within. Whatever great things have happened in nature, however powerful, still they disappear right here. These situations appear and disappear. This is actually abstract, what is solid here is the knowledge ’I am’. The seen and seeing disappear. I tell this only to those who are prepared to listen. Whatever appears is bound to disappear.”

Nisagradatta Maharaj tries to sow the seeds of true consciousness through his teachings and words as he explains in yet another of his quotation-

“The greatest appearance is the knowledge ‘I am’. It is invisible before the birth and after the death of the body, and while it is visible it is a solid thing. Many great sages have appeared and disappeared because of the powerful seed ‘I am’.”

Yoga classes and Yoga therapy offered at the Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre assists you in this process with great diligence and commitment.

What one may understand from the general consciousness can be briefly explained with the help of following Patanjali Sutras-

Pratyakshanumanagamaha pramanani

The different kinds of proof the mind requires are the obvious experiential proof, inferential proof and scriptural proof.
- Patanjali Yoga Sutra #7

Pratyaksha means obvious, experiential. Our mind constantly wants to have an obvious, solid, experiential proof.

Agamaha is the proof the mind takes from scriptures or from books. Because it is written.

Yoga is when you drop this search and abide in the Self.

Proof is connected to logic and logic is very limited in its purview.

Viparyayo mithyajnanamatadrupa pratishtam

Wrong understanding is knowing the unreal in a form that is not its own.
- Patanjali Yoga Sutra #8

Most of the time you impose your own ideas, views and feelings on others and you think that is how they are. This is called viparyaya. This tendency of your mind is viparyaya.

Shabdajnananupati vastushunyo vikalpaha

It is a sort of hallucination followed in sequence by mere words or knowledge and which, in reality, is devoid of truth.
- Patanjali Yoga Sutra #9

Vikalpa is a sort of a hallucination. Nothing of that sort exists, just mere words which do not carry much meaning hover in the mind. This fantasy is called vikalpa, the third modulation of mind or chitta. Vikalpa can be of two types. One could be a joyful, pleasurable fantasy and the other could be baseless fears.

Abhavapratyayalambana vruttirnidra

Sleep is that modulation of the mind which has, for its objective, substratum, the cause of non-existence.
- Patanjali Yoga Sutra #10

If the mind is not in any one of the above mentioned three modulations, then in the fourth place it goes to sleep. The fifth activity of the mind is smruti, which is remembering the experiences it had.

Anubhuta vishaya sampramoshaha smrutihi

Remembering the past experiences.
- Patanjali Yoga Sutra #11

Yoga allows you to unconfined yourself from the general consciousness and link yourself to the true consciousness.

You may find several scientific studies on the health benefits propounded by Yoga, but Yoga imparts simply a lot more than words could ever explain.

HIMALAYAN IYENGAR YOGA CENTRE
Shreyashi Tiwari

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