I have been so blessed and grateful for the opportunity to be the lead instructor for a 200 hours yoga teacher training and to create Choose2be yoga school. It has been amazing to spend 8 weekends with these 7 beautiful women, like Genevieve, and also incredible to have 11 different instructors to come lead part of the training. I am hoping that this will be the first of many yoga teacher training sessions and I am already starting to plan and dream of the next one ! It has been a really rich and amazing journey in so many different ways.
Part of the participants homework was to write an essay on the topic of their choice and they were aware that I would be posting it on my website. We also did an exercise in the first weekend to create a life affirmation and core desire feeling , I also invited them to share it with us. I am so humbled and touched that I got to support these amazing beings on part of their journey and I am looking forward to witness how life unfolds for them.
MIND OVER MATTER for the Modern Yogi
One of the concepts I was excited to see incorporated into our 200hr Yoga Teacher Training manual with Choose2Be were frequent comparisons between the ancient principles of yoga and modern day science; subjects such as quantum physics and epigenetics, which to me show how our reality is quite different from how we experience it from our physical perspective. There’s an element of magicalness, of conscious purpose and a bigger picture awareness that those subjects bring to the table, and it makes me really excited to see how a paradigm shift could occur through such understanding.
Yoga is really the science of consciousness and energy.
On the surface it’s one philosophy for how to live life in the best possible way, put into physical directions that most can understand: healthy movement, breathing, concentration, meditation, self-reflection, ethical do’s and don’ts, and calming of the physical senses. These practices lead to what is called Samadhi – self-realization, inner wisdom, and a feeling of blissfulness as you achieve freedom from the constraints of the material world. It’s at this level that the philosophy deep dives into more esoteric concepts – what exactly is freedom from the material world, how is that even possible? What is ‘union with divine consciousness’? What is an ‘energy body’, and chakras, really? It often sounds far out, quite magical, and impossible to fully understand… unless we are able to see these concepts from a different perspective. Our YTT manual notes “The Ancient Mystics of most cultures have always considered our perceived ‘reality’ to be a mere appearance. Understanding the energy from which the apparent forms were made was the goal of life, and brought the student to a state of enLIGHTenment.”
It seems that beneath the physical guiding practices of yoga (or the Bible, the Koran, even Feng Shui, but that’s for another essay!) is a philosophy that can be described by the findings of modern science. Quantum physics is the study of nature at the atomic and subatomic levels. Through the classic Double Slit experiment, scientists realized that a light particle (photon) can also be a wave; it depends on whether an element of measurement (consciousness) is involved. If we do not apply our consciousness and observe the particle, it exists in a wave format; in an energy field of possibility. Does this sound familiar? A little mind blowing? It means that our whole physical reality is only made ‘real’, because of our perspective. Every little bit of us and our world is made up of an ‘undulating wave-like cloud’ of possible ways the little bits of subatomic matter can show up. Consciousness changes energy from a wave form (a possibility), to a particle form, which translates into a reality in our physical dimension. From a bigger perspective, this means that we essentially create what we call ‘real’, here in this earthly experience, just by having consciousness; because we have consciousness, we can become aware, aware enough to direct energy and use it to create our reality.
Epigenetics too has contributed to my understanding of how I create my reality out of the energy field of possibilities. This science is the ‘study of biological mechanisms that will switch genes on and off’, (gene expression) without changing the genetic code (DNA). Recent studies have found that a main influence for how a gene expresses itself is not heritage or genetics; and not even environment, food, or exercise; instead it’s your perspective, your beliefs ABOUT those things that affect whether the gene turns on or off. Perhaps the famous quote attributed to Ghandi will have new meaning for you in the light of epigenetics:
“Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”
Now look at yoga philosophy which says that our mind is not influenced by the energy flow we exist in, but that it the energy flow, which is a controllable [and measurable] energy! In our body and mind, our thoughts create emotions, which feed further thoughts, and create our outlook (perspective) and then actions (and more often reactions). Inside the body, emotions are understood in the language of hormones and neurotransmitters, and guess what – they all have a vibrating frequency signature.
Tada! – this is thought and perspective as measured in the physical world. Thus one of the goals of yoga is to consciously direct vibrations of thought, and thus our experience; this is accomplished through the practices of yoga as previously mentioned. It’s a way we can rise above the perspective of physical constraints and realize truth – that we are made up of energy, directed by consciousness. Perhaps that is how we are all ‘connected’ – through a singular consciousness.
For me, the practices and goals of yoga seem to make more sense once I understand them in the light of the above sciences; sciences that now have a magicalness to them. For example, the idea that our 7 Chakra acts as a space-time prism through which the energies separate into various frequencies, manifesting material life forms. I would call the prism our consciousness. And if consciousness is really creating our physical world, perhaps consciousness is what we are. A conscious life form having an earthly experience – an experience that isn’t technically ‘real’ according to the energy perspective, as all matter is just vibrating energy – but all the same, a worthwhile and educating experience.So instead of buying into the fully physical perspective, which really can seem purposeless and dreary at times, I like to remember the tenets of epigenetics and quantum physics that in my opinion are behind the philosophy of Yoga. For me, together they provide a perspective that can ‘restore to us that colourful and magical view of life… [as] Yoga tunes us back into the energy world from which we came.”
1. Goulet, David & Halleran, Marina, Chakra Yoga Teacher’s Manual, Chakra Yoga Center P.13
3. Goswami, Amit, The Self Aware Universe, Tarcher/Penguin Books, P. XIV
4. Goswami, Amit, The Self Aware Universe, Tarcher/Penguin Books, P. XV
6. Lipton, Bruce, The Bioligy of Belief, Hay House Inc., see entire book.
7. Goulet, David & Halleran, Marina, Chakra Yoga Teacher’s Manual, Chakra Yoga Center P.151
8. Goulet, David & Halleran, Marina, Chakra Yoga Teacher’s Manual, Chakra Yoga Center P.245
9. Goulet, David & Halleran, Marina, Chakra Yoga Teacher’s Manual, Chakra Yoga Center P.249