A Guide to Yoga is not about deciding which style of yoga to explore. Metaphorically speaking Yoga is the journey up a mountain of Infinite possibility. It is the journey to realize the highest potential within you.
The map of this journey is the online course (in production as from May 2019) I call The Way of Yoga. The journey itself is divided into: –
A Guide to Yoga as Infinite Potential
So let me take you on a brief outline of this journey that invites you to Companion YOUR Greatness and realize the full potential that is seeded in you. I have added links in the above menu in order to allow you to move quickly to those parts of the journey that might most interest you.
Types and Styles of Yoga
There are very many different types and styles of yoga being practiced in the Western world and beyond.
To assist you to decide on the type or style of yoga that may be of most interest to you I have attempted to categorize them in different ways. Please note that this is very subjective but I think this can be a valuable signpost on the way to basecamp. The styles and types of yoga will be classified as follows:-
- Feminine or Masculine.
- 1st Half of Life or 2nd Half of Life.
- For beginners or for those who want more of a challenge.
- Traditional – Non-Traditional.
I will list each of the different types and styles of yoga without going into great detail. I hope to add greater detail in the guide to yoga pdf that I will make available later download.
Styles of Yoga
|Hatha||Feminine||Beginner||Traditonal||1st Half of Life||General|
|Iyenga||Masculine||Challenging||Traditonal||1st Half of Life||Perfection|
|Kundalini||Both||Challenging||Traditonal||2nd Half of Life||Spiritual|
|Astanga||Masculine||Challenging||Non-Traditional||1st Half of Life||Type A|
|Vinyasa||Masculine||Challenging||Non-Traditional||1st Half of Life||Dancelike|
|Bhikram||Masculine||Challenging||Non-Traditional||1st Half of Life||Sweaty|
This is not an exclusive list of Yoga types and styles. Here are some of the less well known:-
- Real Yoga
- Power Yoga
- Sivananda Yoga
- Flow Yoga
- Integrative Yoga Therapy
- Anusara Yoga
- Jivamuckti Yoga
Whatever style or type of Yoga practice you choose recognize that the practice of the postures (asanas) is really only a 1st step. I liken this to the experience of getting you to what is referred to as basecamp. This prepares you of the accent into the full potential of who you are created to become.
I will be adding more information as regards many of the above styles of yoga over the coming years as from around June, 2019
The Language for the Journey
The Way of Yoga guide to yoga is written in a unique style. It is written in what the mystic poet Hafiz refers to as “That sweet moon language.” This is the language of the heart. It is the language that is intended to show you the “Astonishing light of your own being.” by way of: –
- Mystical Poetry.
- Mythological Storytelling and
- Modern folk/rock heart song.
The Way of Yoga is a journey of revelation and re-union.
It is much more than a series of physical postures (asanas). The different ways of engaging with these physical postures refer to the different types and styles of Yoga.
This is Yoga practiced at the level of the Base Camp. This is were everyone tends to begin. However, the purpose of the postures is to prepare the body for the revelation of the Greatness you are here to Companion.
The Paths of Yoga
The Paths of Yoga are different from the types and styles of yoga. You can practice a style of yoga and never consciously by on the path of yoga.
However, you are, whether you are conscious of it or not always on the path to unity and revelation. It is why Creation created you.
The Paths of Yoga are not so much a practice as they are a way of living and Being in the world.
You step unto a path of yoga when you have a longing to KNOW who and why you are. This is not a fad. It is not the latest yoga style or fashion.
The path of yoga is a personal journey that you yourself must follow to uncover your true identity through direct experience and perception – Jagad Guru
This longing for KNOWING and union (yoga) usually arises from the experience of suffering. You really want to know the meaning and purpose of your existence beyond suffering.
Most of the suffering experienced on the level of the personality is unnecessary suffering. Necessary suffering awakens you to the longing to become all that you are created to become.
This longing for meaning and purpose is often brought about though some form of midlife crisis. This may be the experience of the breakup of a relationship, divorce, the kids leaving home, loss of a career or death of a loved one.
It may be that you have achieved all you wish to achieve and still there is an empty feeling inside. The emptiness is the call to adventure to journey beyond Base Camp and begin the ascent of the mountain of potential you are created to realise.
Out of such a crisis you may begin to practice one of the styles or types of yoga.
However, yoga classes in the West are not designed to companion your search for meaning and purpose. You need to be on a path of your own choosing.
There are in the way of traditional yoga four such paths: –
- Karma Yoga – The Path of Action
- Bhakti Yoga – The Path of Devotion
- Jnana Yoga – The Path of the Intellect
- Raja Yoga – The Royal Path
Each of these paths leads, in their own way, to an experience of increasingly allowing and surrender of the personal will to the Will of the Universe. This is REAL Universe-ity education.
If you wish to know more about the paths there is the section of this site being developed as from June 2019
Challenges Along the Journey of Yoga
If you make Yoga a journey of realizing your full potential you will definitely have challenges along the way. This path of realization and revelation involves: –
This is learning that is experiential rather than informational. It is real Universe – ity education because you are learning how to tune into Universal intelligence.
Learning to Trust
In a very real way learning to trust is the heart of the Yoga Journey for Life. It is learning to trust that the Universe has your back – which it does. You are a unique expression of the universe in miniature.
Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray – Rumi
The journey is to take steps into trusting in your inner KNOWING rather than placing total reliance on the voice in your head. Trust is letting go into the unknown so that you might be graced to be KNOWN through.
Different words are used for this aspect of the yoga journey for life. These include: –
The problem for most of us is that in the 1st Half of Life we are filled up with information. This is needed but usually not to the degree we then become dependent on.
Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire – W. B. Yeats
All our knowledge is more often than not second or third hand. We become logic choppers. We become well informed but have no access to the transformational.
Learning to trust begins in learning how to trust your own energy system which I shorten to the acronym Y.E.S. – Your Energy System.
This is a process of learning to move from the head to the heart by way of inner body awareness.
Learning to Discern
Most of our lives we live in judgement. We say, “I like this,” or “I do not like that.” All wisdom teaching instructs you to refrain from judgement in favour of discernment.
Judge that yeh be not judged – Matthew 7:1
Judgement tends to be emotionally reactive and leads to creating a negative energy that you accumulate in your energy field.
Discernment requires: –
Detachment is not burying your head in the sand. It is, to use a Biblical metaphor, cultivating the wisdom of Solomon.
You will need discernment on the Yoga Journey for Life because you will meet with teachers and companions on the way who will assure you that their path is the only path.
It is a real challenge to stick to your hearts guidance when you also want to belong and commune with others on the journey. Discernment is being as wise as a serpent and as gentle as a dove.
Learning Infinite Patience
Your Yoga Journey for Life requires infinite patience. You learn to wait without waiting. You become a gardener of the heart. You plant a seed and you tend it but you trust that Life knows how to blossom what it created through you.
In the 1st Half of Life you will tend to be a gardener who digs up the seed to see how it is progressing. You want results.
As you mature, and if you are blessed, you will learn that the revelation you are looking for is always by way of Grace. The problem is that you can only really appreciate this on the other side of such revelation.
It helps to have someone who can support your trusting in such revelation. This needs discernment because there are so very many individuals and organizations out there who are the blind leading the blind. Their revelation is a belief they have assumed and not a direct experience of KNOWING the transcendent.
Distance does not make you falter.
Now, arriving in magic, flying,
and finally, insane for the light,
you are the butterfly and you are gone.
And so long as you haven’t experienced this: to die and so to grow,
you are only a troubled guest on the dark earth.
From The Holy Longing –
Learning to KNOW beyond Knowledge
The challenge of learning to KNOW is a journey into the unknown but not the unknowable. KNOWING is not information. It is transformational. It is not intellectual learning but wisdom. It is where you KNOW you are being KNOWN through.
Words point toward this experience but cannot give you this experience. You can learn by heart any religious or spiritual text but you will still not be a KNOWER of the experience toward which the text is pointing.
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance. Khalil Gibran
You have to be still in order to be KNOWN through. You learn to value silence. You learn the paradoxical power of not knowing. You leave the Cave of the Skull for the Sanctuary of the Heart.
The heart knows in ways the voice in the head can never know. The head knows in opposites and tends to create opposition. The heart knows holistically and tends toward unity.
It takes courage to learn how not to know so that KNOWING can fulfil you. This not knowing is often called emptiness but it is a paradox to be experienced. You can only KNOW fulfilment in a true sense by have the faith to trust in Life beyond the idea of yourself as someone separate from Life.
Levels on the Mountain
The levels on the mountain relate to the stages of your psychological and spiritual development. In brief these involve: –
|Personal Development||1st Half of Life||Ego Development|
|Spiritual Development||2nd Half of Life||Ego Surrender|
This is an outline of the yoga journey of life.
It is not an absolute linier progression as show above. There are young people who live lives of deep wisdom and service to others. There are elderly people lost in the world of the sense of the personal and separate self who have never touched the transcendent.
The best guide to the levels of the yoga journey of life is the 7-chakra system. This in brief covers the whole journey of the integration of that dimension of human with Being. The seven-chakra system is outlined as follows: –
|Root Chakra||1st Chakra||Embodiment|
|Sacral Chakra||2nd Chakra||Relationship|
|Solar Plexus Chakra||3rd Chakra||Will|
|Heart Chakra||4th Chakra||Love|
|Throat Chakra||5th Chakra||Communion|
|Brow Chakra||6th Chakra||Seeing (Non-Duality|
|Crown Chakra||7th Chakra||Union/Yoga|
The focus in yoga journey for life is on the first four chakras. This involves focusing on embodiment, self-love and creation of personal boundaries that allow you to feel safe.
When the higher flows into the lower the lower is transformed by the higher – Meister Eckhart Christian Mystic (
In creating the experience of safety there is the willingness to trust the heart to open to that which is beyond the personal.
Very often those who take the yoga journey for life spend time trying to access the higher chakras when there is no personal foundation. This is called spiritual bypassing. It is building your life on the shifting sands of time rather than on the rock of the direct experience of the Timeless.
Steps on the Journey
The steps on the journey are the practices you engage with each day. The degree to which you feel your feet on the ground is the degree to which you learn embodiment.
There are many people walking the Paths of Yoga who are floating up the mountain.
They are like the mythic hero Icarus who fell to earth because he flew to close to the Sun on wings of feathers and wax. The wax melts and he plummets to earth.
The Sun represents the True Self. The wax represents the sense of the separate personal self.
The Yoga Journey for life is a practical way of embodying the Presence of Divine Love in your personal life. It is not the practice of transcending the body.
You are here to bring Heaven to Earth and not try and escape the earth in order to get to Heaven.
The steps require: –
The steps along the yoga journey of life are many but key to the way of walking are the practices of: –
- Prayer and/or
From these essential steps you put on different cloaks that you will need for the refined atmosphere on the higher reaches of the mountain. These are the cloaks of: –
This is not a complete list but it invites awareness of the steps that are part and parcel of the yoga journey of life beyond the practice of asanas.
Each of the Paths of Yoga will involve experiencing what it is to embody many and most of the above cloaks of becoming who you are created to be.
All the Stages, Paths, Signposts and Steps that you take along the Yoga Journey for Life are in preparation for the Grace of Awakening (union/yoga) – 7th Chakra Experience.
All traditions agree that this is a Grace experience. You do not get it because you belong to a particular group or have declared that you are saved. It is not something guaranteed.
You cannot dictate when and if it will be given.
When it is given you will KNOW for certain that you could never have earned it. It is just so magnificent to realize that you are a part of this ever-becoming journey into Love eternal.
From this direct experience you absolutely KNOW that, in the words of the poet W. B. Yeats, you can declare, “I am blessed and can bless.” (Vacillation).
Decent and Return
This living as one who is blessed and can bless becomes your focus. You have been to the top of the mountain and now you return to the pavements grey of everyday living.
You are not enlightened but you have glimpsed.
You return to integrate what it is you have been graced to KNOW and be. You have been graced the experience of Yoga – union.
You have been graced the revelation of Oneness. You have KNOWN At-One-Ment. (atonement).
Between the conscious and the unconscious, the mind has put up a swing:
all earth creatures, even the supernovas, sway between these two trees,
and it never winds down.
Angels, animals, humans, insects by the million, also the wheeling sun and moon;
ages go by, and it goes on.
Everything is swinging: heaven, earth, water, fire,
and the secret one slowly growing a body.
Kabir saw that for fifteen seconds, and it made him a servant for life.
Kabir – Sufi Mystic
You return with a heartfelt wish expressed in the words of the Sufi mystic poet Hafiz when he so wonderfully declares: –
I wish when you are lonely and in darkness that I could show you the astonishing light of your own being – Hafiz of Shiraz
This is my wish. This is the reason for establishing this Yoga Journey for Life website. It is hoped that you will be encouraged to take the journey of yoga – of union.
This is the journey of Companioning YOUR Greatness that is beyond words – that words can only point toward.
Summary of A Guide to Yoga
This is a brief outline of the Yoga Journey of Life that includes: –
- Types and Styles of Yoga
- The Language for the Journey.
- The Paths of the Journey.
- The Challenges and Pitfalls along the Journey.
- The Plateaus on the Journey
- The Steps you take along the Path and finally
- The Awakening and the Return.
This shares Yoga Journey for Life by way of metaphor that is ascending a mountain. This is the mountain of the potential seeded within you.
You will take this journey.
It depends how long you will wait. The one thing that will pull you into the journey is suffering.
This is not a punishment. It is a Call to Adventure. I hope that you will follow this Call to Adventure that is Yoga Journey for Life.
This is the journey that you are created by Creation to KNOW. It is the KNOWING of Love. This is your glorious birth right.
I hope that you are persuaded t take the adventure into the revelation of KNOWING what it is to be blessed and to bless.
Give this writer his wish in allowing him to show you the astonishing light of your own being. Take the 1st step by completing the signpost below with your name and email address.
This is the invitation to the basecamp so that you can begin to ascend the mountain of you true and magnificent SELF.
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