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How does Yoga fit in our modern lives?

Posted 9/4/2013
by John O'Dwyer

We know one of the many and varied purposes of Yoga in the modern Western world is its ability to bring us back to a quiet place inside us, a more meditative place where we get back in touch with our bodies and the calm that we want within our lives. This is a beautiful place to get to but all too often the question is asked 'How can I transfer this into my daily life?' or it's said 'When I go back out into the world no one else is in the same energy and I lose my calmness!'. It's well known people can go on retreats where they connect with all the participants and have a great time, and yet on the way home another driver cuts them up and BAM its angry time!

Could it be that, in terms of modern Yoga's purpose, the end game is not the internal calm itself but more the understanding that once we get there we are in fact more connected with the outside world? A deeper shift as the more internal we go the more we come to recognise our place in the world, the connected parts, the synchronicity and that we are not solitary beings walking around on a massive lump of earth? Only from our internal veiwpoint can we look out and see the harmony and beauty around us but also the disharmony. We tune in to both on a deeper level and once away from the safe environment of class or retreat we run into daily life as it is for most people. Maybe then we can recognise that we have come to a place of 'overview' of 'seeing' and this is not something outside that we must hide from but a Ying to the Yang. We have more awareness, and merely by noticing our perspective we have the power to change it.

So just noticing a tension creeping back in or that someone else is in anger shows a heightened awareness to your current state. We know going to one yoga class won't fix your physical challenges, it takes time, and the same is true with our daily state of being in the world.  Coming back regularly to a quiet space will help us engage more fully with the people around us and our planet.