June 2016:Finding yourself in the midst of constant change
“Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis” ….. Times change, and we change with them. I came across this familiar saying recently in a book I was reading about surviving underground in Berlin through the end of world war two. The protagonist herself had lived through incredible challenges. To face the changes and stresses of political and economic upheaval is one thing but to handle the change in people’s attitudes, attention and treatment is a completely different kind of burden and stress. All of us face this stress at different times. The question arises as to who we really are inside and how do we know ourself. In today’s world we also experience much in the way of cultural change which can bring its own stresses. Yoga is a collection of cultural techniques devised by our predecessors that ideally are robust and flexible enough to evolve as times change while still staying true to its original intent, of knowing, through experience, ourself as we truly are. This is the point of practice. Practice changes as the practitioner develops and so it changes as the geography, climate, culture, society, economy, and even technology, evolve and change.
This is the beauty of the yoga method and why it is still available today to those interested in looking within. On the surface it goes through popular shifts but at its core it answers the perennial question still haunting mankind: to know thyself. So let practice evolve and change but aim to understand the teachings. Don’t be attached to the techniques nor the teacher, but connect with the teachings.
I write this as I continue to enjoy yoga practice at an evolving level across 22 years for me, still with a deep inner focus, and a beautiful connection with my own teacher. It all came to mind as I sat with Samahita Retreat’s new General Manager, Janet Allen, who made the same statement as in the opening of this letter the day after I had just read it. Coincidence, hmmmm!!! Janet has been coming to Samahita Retreat since the early days of Yoga Thailand and is a committed yogini as well as experienced in management and the health business. Most of all for me, however, is that she is a truly genuine and wonderful person with whom I have always enjoyed talking to. She has seen the changes over 13 years with Samahita and how we change with times but are committed to the heart of yoga. Please join us in welcoming Janet to our team. And keep your practice, whatever form it takes, continually internally oriented.
Will write more in the middle of the summer on the Indian yoga conference in Delhi I speak at as well as our courses here at Samahita on anatomy, pranayama, philosophy, and, of course, asana.
Love and Om PaulLove and Om,