Reflections Over A Deck Of Cards
I recently found myself sitting in a Hari Krishna tent opposite a man who had asked me to choose one card from a deck of about 40 Bhagavad Gita Oracle cards. The Bhagavad Gita is an ancient Indian text filled with philosophy and the like. I made my choice of card from the deck. The man instructed me to turn my card over. It said two simple words, “Welfare Worker”. I smiled. The Man said to me “Ahhh, welfare worker! Do you know what this means?”. I responded “yes, I have a good idea”.
He asked me what I do for a job. I told him that I have a few roles, including a Social Worker and a Yoga Teacher. The man said to me “you’re a Yoga Teacher? Do you know the purpose of Yoga?” I told him that I believe that I do. He asked me what this is, to which I responded with a few simple words: “connection and a way of living life”. The man confirmed what I had said and continued to say “I was not sure if you would really know as most people over here (Western society) believe that it is this thing and comes from India and they see it as being just exercise”. I agreed with the man.
The man went on to share that we are not here to serve our own purposes, like most people think that we are. We are here to serve one another’s purpose and it is through this that we, ourselves, grow and expand. “Yes”, I said. The man continued, figuratively asking “and do you know that the purpose of a welfare worker is to use what we have as individuals to elevate others to a higher source of being and purpose?”. “Yes”, I responded. “And do you know that this occurs through connection?”. “Yes” I agreed. “And now you can see that Yoga is welfare work. All of your work is the same thing, and it is about bringing people closer to what we are all here for, connection”, finished the man.
I do believe that our purpose here is to elevate one another, and to utilize this as a way to reach our highest potential, and this all stems from connection. Connection is what we exist for from our very first moment of conception, or even before this. A baby does not survive without it. In the way that I view Yoga, it is about paring ourselves and our lives back to the very core and to live from this space as much as possible. Yes, we live in a busy world and yes, it is filled with distractions which draw us away from who we are and our purpose here.
Yet, we have systems and tools that have been around for so much longer than us, which are just as relevant today as they ever have been. It is through our practice of these tools that we can continue to pare ourselves back to the heart of our existence. Not so long ago, I sat in a café with Hilda and we were sharing our views on Yoga. We both share similar views about making Yoga, its teachings and philosophy more readily accessible in our Western society. We shared that the meare activity of sitting in a café drinking tea and enjoying one another’s company, is a part of Yoga when done with the intention and purpose that is the basis of Yoga.
So, what is Yoga? It is life and it is connection. It is a system of ideas that we can take and use to create the backbone of our way of moving through the world. I do not see Yoga as the whole of life, or the only way of being influenced. I see that there are many other components of life, which exist away from Yoga and that serve to compliment it beautifully and allow for a holistic approach of being and existing. One that serves the young people I work with as greatly as it serves the business owners and entrepreneurs that I have taught.
I see that there is so much that we can learn in the West about how the East have existed. As can be seen through my conversation with the Hari Krishna man, there is no segregation between welfare work or Yoga, and for that fact, there is no difference between dance, community, philosophy, leadership, wellbeing, culture or any other myriad of elements of life. In our attempt to separate these out, we not only lose the richness of the parts, we also lose the point that these, like ourselves, are different sides of the whole. It is in the combination of these parts that we can reach a deep and profound place of knowing and understanding of ourselves within this thing called life.
I aim to live a life where Yoga influences all that I do and how I show up in the world. And through this lens, I see Yoga as an enabler for living with greater capacity and fullness. This is what I bring to my work, dance, interactions and worldview and that which I allow to influence The Aspire Series.
On that note, we would love for you to check out what we offer:
Yoga- Sundays 9am
Sunday Soul Sessions- next is Sunday 3rd March
The Aspire Program- beginning Sunday 17th March