Taking refuge in yoga

Despite the title, this isn’t a blog about yoga and politics — though there’s a lot of that about these days. Maybe too much. And incidentally as I write I have half an ear on J. Brown’s latest podcast which begins with a reflection that yoga teachers shouldn’t feel the need to comment on politics and offer any kind of wisdom if they don’t really have a place to speak from.

refuge.pngSo here ‘refuge’ is a reference to the idea that I’ve just come across of ‘Taking Refuge’ in a Buddhist context. What I understand of this is that it’s about making a largely personal commitment to develop your own spiritual path and through this to be able better to help other people.

It really made sense to me since I’ve been reflecting a little these past weeks on how different I feel about myself and my yoga following my teacher training in the summer. We chanted to Shiva on the last full day of training which I think I found the most moving part of the whole time, and for me represented my personal inner commitment to yoga in some way. But at the end of the course I was actually still wondering what the hell I was doing there! And graduation was a slightly awkward public ritual…

But a lot has changed and flowed on since then, small time ago that it was.

My current point in this flow of change, this inevitable evolution, struck me really forcibly this week. On a Monday morning — typically a challenging time of the week, and more so this week in particular when I’m playing host to a cold virus — I find myself smiling broadly on my way to the office when I remember that come Wednesday night I get to teach yoga for an hour! It lights me up. And I find I carry this secret happiness around with me all week.

Previously I deliberately wanted to make myself remote from it, to stay always something of a bystander. I could just walk away maybe. I wanted to maintain an attitude that I don’t need this and I don’t identify all that strongly with the people around me in my corner of yoga world.

ganeshaBut now? — Now the relationship has shifted. Yoga feels like my refuge now, my inner resource, my base camp. From a place of connectedness and love all things now seem possible. I just need to let the possibilities emerge.

I still can’t define it, I’m still a long way from figuring out what my yoga really is, what my teaching is and where I’d want to take it. Even short term. But I know that I have something to offer and that I love doing it.

It’s very cool. And slightly scary. But mostly it just makes me smile and forget myself.

Ganesha Sharanam Sharanam Ganesha


2 thoughts on “Taking refuge in yoga

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  1. The three refuges, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha are universal to any spiritual tradition, I think. Another way of expressing the three refuges might be, “I take refuge in the Teacher, in the Teachings, and in the Community of followers of the teaching.
    Hari Om!

    Liked by 2 people

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