Our yoga philosophy: The Bhagavad Gita, standing on a knife edge

This is an ongoing blog on different aspects of yoga philosophy, which will build week on week or may be read individually. I’m not an academic, my job as a yoga teacher is to break the philosophy into bitesize pieces and apply it to your practice and life…

It is a difficult thing to know whether you are acting from the highest place. How can we really know? I would say that it comes back to the idea of doing your work for the sake of doing your work without the expectation of getting anything out of it. What I have found is that when I am deep within my practice and living in the best way that I can in the present moment then life really does rise up to meet me and opportunities unfurl infront of me without any intervention from myself.

Of course, this is a double edge sword. It goes like this: when we practice we get these hits of presence and good things start to happen to us in our life. Then we believe that we have something or other to do with what’s happening, like we have control. So we rise back up into our thinking minds and end up where we were before. The only difference is that each time we go through this cycle it becomes easier for us to recognise this pattern and move back to a place of presence once more.

For me, this is constant vigilance. I need to surround myself with people who bring me back to my place of centre. I also must return back to my practices every day to reinforce this mirror I have held up to me every day. The question of whether we are acting from our highest sense of self becomes a none question when you are in that place. You know how it feels and when you’re there you feel like it’s impenetrable, only to crumble at the first sign of confrontation. This is the lesson.

Adele CassidyAdele Cassidy is a yoga teacher and spiritual adventurer. She loves to unveil to students that they are an integral part of this amazing world and a vital piece of something big, extraordinary and amazing. That each person is part of something that they never knew existed and yet always knew was there and that this life is a gift to be celebrated.

photo by: kholkute

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Our yoga philosophy: The Bhagavad Gita, the great kaleidoscope

This is an ongoing blog on different aspects of yoga philosophy, which will build week on week or may be read individually. I’m not an academic, my job as a yoga teacher is to break the philosophy into bitesize pieces and apply it to your practice and life…

One of the teachings I love most about the Bhagavad Gita (ok – one out of many) is that we are not meant to all become renunciates and go and life in the forest until we achieve liberation. Our work is right here, right now, in. The real world. We have been born in order to fulfill our destiny and play a part in this dance of humanity. Therefore, we all have a life to live, the Bhagavad Gita simply gives is the tools we need in order to live it in the most skilful way possible.

I personally had great difficulty in reconciling the different roles I play in the world and this deep longing within me to know myself better. I struggle with it almost every day so I really don’t have any answers for it. However, this is one of the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita and a very important one, in my opinion. Yes, yoga is about union and yet, those edges where we find conflict are the edges through which we will be able to grow more into ourselves. The practice is to sit with these conflicts when we can and what I’ve found is that one will drift away or they’ll marry up in the most surprising of ways.

For me, I’m ok with not being a stereotype, I feel quite good about it as it goes. The world needs all different kinds of people to bring colour into its great kaleidoscope.

Adele CassidyAdele Cassidy is a yoga teacher and spiritual adventurer. She loves to unveil to students that they are an integral part of this amazing world and a vital piece of something big, extraordinary and amazing. That each person is part of something that they never knew existed and yet always knew was there and that this life is a gift to be celebrated.

photo by: brillianthues

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Our yoga philosophy: The Bhagavad Gita, holding the paradox

This is an ongoing blog on different aspects of yoga philosophy, which will build week on week or may be read individually. I’m not an academic, my job as a yoga teacher is to break the philosophy into bitesize pieces and apply it to your practice and life…

It is an interesting paradox that classical interpretation and even religious dogma would have that we must surrender completely to God. To the western mind, this feels a lot like giving up or ceding responsibility to some other being. Becoming powerless and unable to control our own destiny. We have been raised in a culture which says that we can have anything we desire as long as we are prepared to work for it.

From a Tantric perspective, there are difficulties with both of these interpretations and, in reality, they do infant both exist simultaneously. This, much like most things Tantric can appear contradictory and confusing. In many ways, that is what the Tantra does: it forces us to hold paradoxes. This helps us to see the full picture, the bigger picture. To see all facets and all sides and move from there.

The way that I would explain this particular paradox is that the reality is that the discipline of the practice exists so that we can see our own selves more fully and therefore, know our own purpose. Once we know our real purpose in this life there really is no way of ignoring it. The universe will conspire to make it happen. It may not be what we have chosen for ourselves but this is simply the stories that we tell ourselves and that everything we were meant to be is already within us and all we have to do is live it.

Adele CassidyAdele Cassidy is a yoga teacher and spiritual adventurer. She loves to unveil to students that they are an integral part of this amazing world and a vital piece of something big, extraordinary and amazing. That each person is part of something that they never knew existed and yet always knew was there and that this life is a gift to be celebrated.

photo by: h.koppdelaney

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This is what gets me annoyed!

Two of the most famous men in the world Sting:

and Robert Downey Jr.

both doing yoga, and loving it.  But most guys out there still cannot see the benefits!  What the fuck likes?  Come on!  Get down to your gyms/ashrams/yoga studios today and find out that your lives might be better with a bit of adjustment!

Do it!

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Our yoga philosophy: The Bhagavad Gita, tell the truth!

This is an ongoing blog on different aspects of yoga philosophy, which will build week on week or may be read individually. I’m not an academic, my job as a yoga teacher is to break the philosophy into bitesize pieces and apply it to your practice and life…

The idea of a motiveless action means to me that we are acting from a place of truth. That we do what we believe needs to be done, with the best information we have at our disposal at that time. It doesn’t necessarily mean that given another time and place we wouldn’t have made a different decision. Though, the more closely we understand our truest selves the more consistent our decision making process will be and the more beneficial it will be to our lives and the lives of those around us.

When we take an action without a motivation it means that we aren’t attached to the outcome. There is an inherent understanding that when one makes such decisions that once it is out in the world it is almost entirely out of our control. And we cannot manufacture the outcome we may desire. Even when what we wanted to happen does happen it often doesn’t feel like we were expecting. We are able to play our role to the best of our ability but no more.

What I have noticed on the rare occasions that I live my life in this way is that there is an extremely serene quality to my existence. I am not longer wasting my energy hoping or worrying about an outcome. Rather, I can pour all of my heart and soul into doing what needs to be done and letting go of anything else. I am way more effective that way and much more kind to myself and the universe in general.

Adele CassidyAdele Cassidy is a yoga teacher and spiritual adventurer. She loves to unveil to students that they are an integral part of this amazing world and a vital piece of something big, extraordinary and amazing. That each person is part of something that they never knew existed and yet always knew was there and that this life is a gift to be celebrated.

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Our yoga philosophy: The Bhagavad Gita, the dance of yes and no

This is an ongoing blog on different aspects of yoga philosophy, which will build week on week or may be read individually. I’m not an academic, my job as a yoga teacher is to break the philosophy into bitesize pieces and apply it to your practice and life…

When Krishna talks about the act of renunciation what I really see is the dance of yes and no. In order to say yes to one thing, we have to say no to another. Where the skill comes is that we have to learn to understand what we’re the most appropriate boundaries are for ourselves in that moment based on the information we have. If we are infinitely free to make whichever and whatever decision we wish at any point then it is incumbent on us to define them in the most appropriate way.

We can choose, at any time to step away from this path, to take another route. Nothing will stop us. What is interesting is that the path will always be there if we leave and, in reality, turning away from it was only part of our journey. Therefore, in many ways the only difference is that we are either conscious or unconscious of a spiritual journey. However, I would also argue that once we have stepped on, it is only a matter of time before we return. Maybe lifetimes, I don’t know about that.

We often get tied up in the idea of having to give things up in this culture. That we have to give something up, whereas, the truth is that we can only fully commit ourselves to a certain number of things. I have often found that the times when I’ve given something up which was the right thing to let go of is that it creates space for something new and wondrous to emerge. Not always, my opinion is that we need to be ready in every fibre of our being to let it go.

Adele CassidyAdele Cassidy is a yoga teacher and spiritual adventurer. She loves to unveil to students that they are an integral part of this amazing world and a vital piece of something big, extraordinary and amazing. That each person is part of something that they never knew existed and yet always knew was there and that this life is a gift to be celebrated.

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Our yoga philosophy: The Bhagavad Gita, our stormy emotions

This is an ongoing blog on different aspects of yoga philosophy, which will build week on week or may be read individually. I’m not an academic, my job as a yoga teacher is to break the philosophy into bitesize pieces and apply it to your practice and life…

If there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the universe or ourselves then we come at our lives from a completely different perspective. All of a sudden we are unable to blame someone else for our predicaments or simply wait for something better to come along. We must, instead, simply see everything as what is, neither good or bad, right or wrong, simply what is. This is tricky when our stormy emotions have other ideas.

We often think that we are completely powerless. And, yes, to a great extent we are. And at the same time we are infinitely more powerful than we could possibly ever imagine ourselves to be. This power doesn’t come from an external source or validation, rather deep within ourselves and the deepest love that we have within us. Whenever we feel like we are not worthy, not connected, not able it is a veiling of our power. This is why we have diligent spiritual practices.

It may seem as though discipline such as this is dogmatic or prescribed. However, it is only through this constant practice that we can continue to clear the veil of our consciousness and continue to see the greatest part of ourselves. We actually have to do something, that’s the deal. Yoga is skill in action. This is the paradox, we have to continue to be engaged in the world and continue to be the best part of ourselves. Something which is very hard to do and at the same time is a process that we work within.

Adele CassidyAdele Cassidy is a yoga teacher and spiritual adventurer. She loves to unveil to students that they are an integral part of this amazing world and a vital piece of something big, extraordinary and amazing. That each person is part of something that they never knew existed and yet always knew was there and that this life is a gift to be celebrated.

photo by: paul bica

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Our yoga philosophy: The Bhagavad Gita, the tricksy questions

PathThis is an ongoing blog on different aspects of yoga philosophy, which will build week on week or may be read individually. I’m not an academic, my job as a yoga teacher is to break the philosophy into bitesize pieces and apply it to your practice and life…

The idea of Dharma, that we all have a path in life has always been a tricky on for me. In fairness it was probably more tricky for Arjuna who’s asked to fire his bow at the people he loves. I find it tricky because it feels as if it’s going against my own free will and that’s not something which sits well with me. What do you mean I can’t have a cup of tea? Well I’m going to, so ner.

The idea that we have something imposed on us from birth can be unpalatable and we wish to assert our free will on this situation. However, what we don’t realise is that our Dharma is our own personal path to freedom which may be hard at times and we may often wish to get off, and yet, when we exert our own free will we tend to continue to make the same mistakes over and over. Choosing the same relationships, having the same conversations and so on. That is not freedom, that is ego overriding our truth. When we are quiet and sensitive enough to tune into our Dharma we will find our own path.

Often we will need to resolve to follow our own path. Once we have found and realise what this is then we have to make some decisions which move us away from our comfort zone. This can be hard and we’re not sure if we’re doing the right thing.

That is why, as yogis, we often need help from people who we love and trust. We need to seek guidance from someone who may see our situation more clearly than we can. That is why we practice yoga in groups. We can find soulmates in those situations and always have someone to reach towards when we’re simply not sure of ourselves.

I’m so grateful every day for my fellow travellers. You know who you are.

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Our yoga philosophy: The Bhagavad Gita, the grey area

This is an ongoing blog on different aspects of yoga philosophy, which will build week on week or may be read individually. I’m not an academic, my job as a yoga teacher is to break the philosophy into bitesize pieces and apply it to your practice and life…

There is a strong sense at the beginning of the Bhagavad Gita from Arjuna that others are partly responsible for what is happening, for the situation. I often catch myself thinking “why is this happening to me”, “this isn’t fair”, as if an external force is more powerful than we are in the situation. Of course, there are things which are out of our control, what is never out of our control, however, is our response to a situation.

There is also a question of responsibility which arises at the beginning of the Bhagavad Gita. Who is responsible in any situation and the answer may at first seem black and white. Yet, if we look for it,me will often see that we have had a role to play. There is a role to play for many characters in the particular story which is currently playing out in our life. That’s not really our concern. We can know and acknowledge other’s parts in the story, yet we can never control their actions, we can only control our own. 

There is something incredibly empowering about acknowledging our role in what we could potentially fob off as someone else’s problem. Immediately we have some empathy with every other player in the story. We may even decide that given a desperate set of circumstances we may have behaved diff entry and if we can change our minds then maybe we can see why others acted as they did and perhaps that given their situation we may also have acted in a similar way.

Adele CassidyAdele Cassidy is a yoga teacher and spiritual adventurer. She loves to unveil to students that they are an integral part of this amazing world and a vital piece of something big, extraordinary and amazing. That each person is part of something that they never knew existed and yet always knew was there and that this life is a gift to be celebrated.

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