About one year ago I began the studying and practice of Raja Yoga. Because of my practice, my life has changed forever. The Sutras provide me with an entirely different view of the world and my life in this world. The answers to so many of life’s problems and conflicts lie within these ancient Sutras. There is now clarity where there was once confusion. Applying the lessons learned from the Sutras to modern life simplifies internal conflict and helps guide me along the right path. It is as if the answers to all of life’s hard questions are now accessible to me with time and practice. I still consider myself being at the very beginning of my journey along the path of this branch of yoga. It is a humble place to be.
The study of Raja Yoga was crucial to my practice of yoga. For the first time I understood the importance of the practice of ahimsa (non-harming) in regard to my own body. Through the study of the yamas and niyamas I learned to take better care of myself so that I could better serve others. When I first started on the yogic path, that was a foreign concept to me. I am grateful I had the opportunity to study and practice the philosophy of yoga, which I believe, is just as important as the Hatha yoga.
These teachings are so profound and yet so practical, ancient and yet new and relevant to today’s life, and simple and yet complex. They contain the wisdom that we need to live rich and fulfilled lives. The best part about studying them with a teacher and classmates is the opportunity to go deeper into the words for greater understanding and explore ways that the teachings apply in everyday life. It is really a gift to oneself to take the time to study and apply the teachings each day. It is especially wonderful to have a teacher who has studied deeply into these teachings and is passionate about sharing them with her students. For me it is time well spent.
Raja yoga has given me insights on how to relate to life’s daily dealings in a different way. The idea that no one can “make me” mad/happy/frustrated/sad etc. that I choose how I react was a good lesson for me. Also if I project calm and peace, that feeling will spread and affect others. It has given me pause to stop and think before I react often preventing me from saying harmful things to others. The teachings also made me reflect on how I want to live out my life at this turning point. My children are about to venture off, my career is about to end as I have known it at least, and I have done some soul searching on what comes next. Raja yoga gave me some insights on what is important to me at this stage of my life. The teachings have been inspirational and most importantly I have been able to apply them to my everyday life.
Nora’s Raja Yoga class introduced me to a path of living that is simple yet profound. Raja Yoga is practical, non-theological, instructions about making the best life for yourself, about helping others, about caring. It is universal truth. Every night I left the class dizzy from pondering. Every day I find myself needing to live it more.