Monthly Theme

A new theme, every month

Svadhyaya: Studying the Self

Monthly Theme by Wessel Paternotte

August 2017

The theme of the month is Svadhyaya, the fourth of the niyamas from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. The term Svadhyaya stems from the words Sva (Self or Soul) and Shyaya, which comes from dhyia (to meditate, study or contemplate) and so Svadhyaya means Studying the Self. DJ Khaled would call this a Holy Key, as knowing your Self, and being your Self, is what yoga is all about. I write 'self' with capital S because the Self Patanjali is referring to, goes beyond our persona with its preferences, desires, and aversions. By contemplating ourselves, ultimately we’ll go beyond the boundaries of our thoughts and emotions, and connect with the pure consciousness that lies deep within: the Self.   The most common way to study our Self is to read inspiring books, blogs and articles. And yes, a good audiobook or video is just fine too. Going to lectures, seminars or trainings also helps us understand our deeper nature. Asana practice also offers a great way to explore Svadhyaya. When we stay present with each and every moment, we can see how our mind reacts, experience any emotions that show up, and listen to the ebb and flow of our breath. Another way to study the Self is by chanting mantras. By reciting sacred words like Om, our attention is focused on that word, and ultimately all other thoughts fall away. We arrive fully into the present moment and experience the pure consciousness within us. This is what we call the external practice, where we take in knowledge that reminds us of who (or what) we really are.   Once we start to process the knowledge that we find in our external practice, the internal practice of Svadhyaya begins. First we might intellectually understand something we read, but over time we integrate it and we can feel it in our heart. For example, when I first read about the Law of Correspondence, I understood it as As Within, So Without, As above, So below. I was excited about the concept of my thoughts (within) creating my world (without), and I started to play around with it. After some years of practice and contemplation I slowly started to integrate the second part, realizing that the divine (above) is within me (below). Mind blown.   When we practice self-reflecting contemplation, the nature of being begins to dawn in our mind. First we find knowledge from an external source, then we find it from our inner source, and then we realize that WE ARE THE SOURCE. The infinite wisdom awakens in us. Love, Compassion and Delight are fully available to us. This is the practice of Svadhyaya.   All my love,   Wessel  

August: Tapas - Inner Fire and Selfless Love

Monthly Theme by Wessel Paternotte

July 2017

TĀPAS   Inner Fire & Selfless Love Tāpas, the third of the niyamas from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, has been translated into English as heat, spiritual austerities, self-discipline and inner fire. Through Tāpas, mastery of the body, mind and senses can be achieved. Think of Tāpas as a flame inside of you, which motivates you and keeps you on track with what is really important in life.

July: Santosha - Contentment

Monthly Theme by Wessel Paternotte

June 2017

- SANTOSHA -   This month we focus on the practice of Santosha, developing contentment and equanimity of mind. I believe the first time I heard the word equanimity was during my first vipassana retreat. The teacher, S.N. Goenka, was speaking about it a lot. He told me that I should keep a calm, content and equanimous mind, no matter what the circumstances may be.

June: Saucha - purity, cleanliness and clearness

Monthly Theme by Wessel Paternotte

May 2017

When I first heard about the niyamas as being the rules of yoga, I was not a fan. I never liked rules and I had a slight tendency of breaking them. Luckily, over the years my perception changed, and I began to understand that the niyamas are not meant as rules that you simply must follow to be a good person. I began to appreciate them as spiritual, mystical and yet very practical guidelines for a happy life. And I love being happy.

May: Aparigraha - Non-attachment

Monthly Theme by Maarten van Huijstee

April 2017

In the Theme of the Month of May I will reflect on the fifth and last Yama: Aparigraha. The Yamas, “the don’ts”, are considered the natural laws of Yoga and thus Aparigraha is one of the five essential restraints.  The word Aparigraha stems from the word parigrah which means ‘to crave’, ‘to seek’ and 'to seize’ possessions. It not only means the action but also includes the intent; the attitude of craving and possessiveness.

April: Brahmacharya - Follow the Universal self inside

Monthly Theme by Maarten van Huijstee

March 2017

Brahmacharya In this Theme of the Month I will reflect on the fourth Yama “Brahmacharya”. The Yamas are an integral part of the path of Yoga and are seen as the natural laws of life which are guiding our action, words and thoughts.

March: Asteya - Non-stealing

Monthly Theme by Maarten van Huijstee

February 2017

Asteya In the Theme of the Month of March I'll be continuing my exploration of the Yamas, which are seen as the natural laws of Yoga and apply to all aspects of life, including restraints in one's actions, words and thoughts. This month we will reflect on the third Yamas, "Asteya", which translates to "non-stealing".

February: Satya - Truthfulness

Monthly Theme by Maarten van Huijstee

February 2017

Satya As mentioned in the January, I’ll be writing the Theme of the Months in 2017 about the five Yamas, an integral part of the eightfold path of Yoga. The Yamas are seen as the natural laws of Yoga which apply broadly in life and include self-restraints in one's action, words and thoughts. In February we’ll be having a closer look at the second Yama “Satya” which translates to “Truthfulness”

January: Ahimsa - non violence, non harming

Monthly Theme by Maarten van Huijstee

December 2016

Ahimsa Several weeks ago, my teacher, Katiza Satya asked me to write the Theme of the Month for the first months of 2017. I was asked to write about the five "Yamas", one of the limbs of the eightfold path of Yoga. The Yamas are seen as the natural laws of Yoga which apply broadly in life and include self-restraints in one's action, words and thoughts. In January we start with "Ahimsa" which literally means "do not harm".

December: Just being is enough

Monthly Theme by Kevin Sahaj

November 2016

Maybe you have this experience that you are thinking to much. We are always planning, worrying, solving some problem, judging what we see as good or bad, liking or disliking. Is there ever a time when we are just being? Simply experiencing life as it is in whatever colour, sound, taste and touch is unfolding NOW by NOW, is a rare event.

November: The importance of self practice

Monthly Theme by Kevin Sahaj

October 2016

Do you have a practice of yoga that you do regularly at home by yourself? If the answer is yes then you may have understood what is the real meaning of yoga practice: to dive deeply into yourself and find what is truth.

October: Hatha Yoga Part 4 of 4

Monthly Theme by Kevin Sahaj

September 2016

Hatha Yoga Part 4 Mudra, Bandha and Kundalini Energy udghāṭayetkapāṭaṃ tu yathā kuṃchikayā haṭhāt |
kuṇḍalinyā tathā yoghī mokṣhadvāraṃ vibhedayet || 105 ||   As a door is opened with a key, so the Yogî opens the door of mukti by opening Kuṇḍalinî by means of Haṭha Yoga.

September: Hatha Yoga Part 3 of 4

Monthly Theme by Kevin Sahaj

August 2016

Hatha Yoga part 3 Part 3. Pranayama practice according to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika: athāsane dṝdhe yoghī vaśī hita-mitāśanaḥ | ghurūpadiṣhṭa-mārgheṇa prāṇāyāmānsamabhyaset || 1 ||

August: Hatha Yoga Part 2 of 4

Monthly Theme by Kevin Sahaj

July 2016

Hatha Yoga part 2 Part 2. Asana practice according to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika: The second chapter of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika explains asana as the foundation of the Hatha Yoga training.

July: Hatha Yoga Part 1 of 4

Monthly Theme by Kevin Sahaj

July 2016

The purpose of Yoga according to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika Hatha Yoga is the system of yoga we follow when we practice yoga asanas, pranayamas, bandhas etc. Any practice that involves these aspects is Hatha Yoga, every "style" of yoga you are practicing it is directly related to Hatha Yoga.

May: Bhakti Yoga Part 2 of 2

Monthly Theme by Kevin Sahaj

June 2016

The way of the heart, devotion and sacred space. This month's theme from the Bhagavad Gita is a continuation of last months theme: the path of "Bhakti " yoga, the yoga of opening the heart in devotion.

June: Jñana Yoga, or the Yoga of Knowledge

Monthly Theme by Kevin Sahaj

April 2016

Theme of the month May 2016 jñāna yoga, or the yoga of knowledge This month's theme from the Bhagavad Gita is the path of jñāna yoga, or the yoga of knowledge. jñāna is not knowledge in the same way we normally understand the word. jñāna is like a fire that burns away that which is not true.

April: Bhakti Yoga Part 1 of 2

Monthly Theme by Kevin Sahaj

March 2016

Bhakti Yoga This month we continue with the paths of yoga as described by the Bhagavad-gītā. The path of Bhakti Yoga is described in the Gita as the quickest and most powerful of the paths of Yoga. The whole of the Bhagavad-gītā is a dialogue between Arjuna and Krishna.

March: Karma Yoga

Monthly Theme by Kevin Sahaj

March 2016

Theme of the month March 2016 We will start this month with the first of the Yogas from the Bhagavad Gītā: Karma Yoga.  Karma Yoga is the path to realization by acting selflessly in the world with the knowledge of our inherent interdependence with all things.