Biggest Introspective Realisation During the YTT
If asked about one of my key takeaways from this course, I would have to say it was learning more about myself.
This was a realisation from two lessons: (1) The lesson on Karma; and (2) The lesson on Chakras. So to better contextualise this, let me give a brief summary on both lessons.
Under the Yoga Sutra, there are four paths.
1. Karma, which has to do with action. The underlying principle is doing selfless acts without expecting any return. While I had always heard about karma, I guess I never really knew what it meant. The class explained that there are actually three types of karma – that which is experienced in the current reality (prarabha), that which is the culmulation of the past karmas in your current body (sanchita), that which is the result of your current actions (kriyama). In this belief system, your karma follows you in your reincarnations and the only way to cleanse yourself of the kriyama karma is to perform kriya, which is doing something without expectation or desire for return.
2. Bhakiti, which has to do with devotion. In the past, I suppose this would have been closely associated with devotion towards a higher power, like a deity or a god. But in the modern, godless times we live in, this is sometimes described as the “love for yoga”. Not sure if we have just swapped from a religion of gods and dieties to a religion of the self…
3. Nyana, which has to do with intellect. I resonate strongly with this path. That’s probably why this blog post is longer than it needs to be. There are some people who simply enjoy intellectual stimulation, who find joy in engaging with intellectual debate, who enjoy learning, questioning and discovering. This path appeals to those who fall in this category.
4. Raja, which has to do with enjoyment like a king. (Raja is translated to King.) It is this path of yoga, where the ashtanga practice sits.
Another yogic buzzword that is heard (and butchered) often in popular culture.
Under the Yoga Sutra, there are seven chakras.
1. Muladhara, which is known as the root chakra. It is associated with security and stability.
2. Svadhisthana, which is known as the sacral chakra. It is associated with sexual and creative energies.
3. Manipura, which is known as the solar plexus chakra. It is associated with self esteem, courage and confidence.
4. Anahata, which is known as the heart chakra. As the name suggests, it is associated with emotions and love.
5. Vishmuddha, which is known as the throat chakra. It is associated with understanding and communication. I found it interesting that while this was known as the throat chakra, this was associated not just with communication or expression, but with understanding, which entails a whole lot of listening!
6. Ajna, which is known as the third eye chakra. It is associated with intelligence. An interesting observation is that there may be two different categories people with strong ajna chakra who present differently. For people who present these traits outwardly, they tend to become gurus. One interpretation is that they still have karma from their past lives that they need to cleanse. For those who present these traits internally, they are tend to become ascetics. The opposite interpretation would apply – i.e. that they have no more karma to cleanse and are merely on the path to reach samadhi.
7. Sahasrara, which is known as the crown chakra. It is associated with consciousness and enlightenment. Not much is known about this chakra as unlocking this chakra is seen as the ultimate goal for many yogis.
That was a lot. Rounding back to the original thought that led to this post – the realisation about myself.
During our class on chakras, my yoga teacher told me that my anahata chakra was blocked or at least not as open as it could be. Immediately I jumped – “but I am generally very kind (even to strangers!) and I do many acts of service for the people I love!”
He clarified, if you do actions with expectation for return – be it to create a good impression of yourself or to have someone like – that is not expressing love. And so, I realised the application of both the concept of karma and kriya, through a realisation of my own anahata weaknesses.
I enjoyed that class, and it definitely gave me food for thought.