After a physically intense first week that focused more on the asanas, this second week led my understanding of yoga to a more philosophical level. Master Paalu spent hours sharing personal stories to explain the 8 limbs of yoga, and all its concepts of self-awareness, kindness, selflessness, contentment and so on that would eventually bring us closer to our goals, no matter what they are. I am way to immature on this philosophy to elaborate here but a lot of it resonated deeply in me, although I was not prepared for it.
I come from a family of non-believers and growing up in this world of racism, war and terrorism made me reject any kind of religion which I believe are the cause of people animosity towards each other. I was therefore anticipating yet another list of metaphorical stories to convince us to believe in the spiritual side of yoga as well as lots of rules. I was happily surprised to hear Master Paalu mocking certain aspects of religions and emphasizing the differences between yoga (which came first) and the later religions. Who knew that, since its creation 5000 years ago, yogis consider three categories of genders (male, female and non-binary) ? Why is modern society only just recently starting to accept a third category despite the criticism of Christianity (to name only the one I am most familiar with) ? Who knew that the first yama concept ahimsa (“non-violence”) should not be misinterpreted to prone vegetarianism ? And the fourth concept brahmacharya (“non-sexual energy”) is not asking for sexual abstinence but actually encouraging oneself to remove sexual perversion towards others so that every person is respected like a God.
There are no rules, no DOs and DON’Ts, only guidelines for a better life full of self-love and love of others.
– Stephanie –