What is the Alchemy of Yoga?
To me Yoga is the result of a unique personal alchemy. It is about taking the personal growth we experience on the mat into making the changes we want in our lives, in our bodies, in our minds, in our hearts. Anytime you want to transform and move beyond your limitations to me this is the Alchemy of Yoga. And this what I call the life coaching work I do through yoga.
Chapter 2 verse 1 of the Yoga Sutras sets forth how the Alchemy of Yoga actually works. “Tapas svadhyaya ishvara pranidhana kriya yoga.” Translated to mean that yoga helps us transforms ourselves on three levels:
1. Physical Alchemy – Tapas
2. Mental Alchemy – Svadhaya
3. Spiritual Alchemy – ishvara pranidahana
PHYSICAL ALCHEMY – TAPAS
Tapas helps us ignite the changes we want to make in our lives. It is about the getting fired up, literally heating the body through moving and breathing in the vinyasa
MENTAL ALCHEMY – SVADHAYA
While we are following the discipline of tapas and engaging in physical practice to help move our stuck energy we are watching ourselves. In yoga we study the self to learn about the self. (Different than studying what other people to do to try to learn about you, which many of us have tried in other modalities). Here the mental alchemy is through self-observation. We witness what is going on in our thoughts, what are we thinking, why are we thinking that (but without over analysis) more like an older brother would look after a little sister. In this way we are the actor on the stage starring in our life story as well as sitting front row center as the audience.
SPIRITUAL ALCHEMY – ISHVARA PRANIDAHANA
As we are doing and watching we let go of the ego of judgment. We move beyond wanting life to be different and begin to feel the surrender that allows what is being offered to mix together and marinate. We practice ishvara pranidhana as we trust the universal intelligence that hugs us from all directions to know what it’s doing. And once we find this trust we begin to believe that beauty and goodness are within us flowing nonstop and there is no reason to stop this flow for its natural current is to align with the current of grace that is everywhere outisde us. Beauty becomes our way of life. Happiness becomes our natural alchemy.
You see when we come to the mat we are like the Alchemist in his laboratory mixing ingredients. For us as yogis our laboratory is our mat and the ingredients are our bodies, our poses, our breath, our thoughts and the mixing it all together creates a result every time. We are always different from the beginning of class to the end. Whether we want to be or not, we are changed, we are free. In that freedom is love. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia