Hope, Knowledge & Faith
When I was little, my mother used to pray with me every night she tucked me in. She spoke a language I didn’t know - but with time I somehow understood it. It became a little ritual. Then I was sent to preschool led by Italian nuns and I encountered yet again, a new language. I was taught to pray before every meal. I was also taught the immense power of womanhood and the nuns funnily enough were the ones that introduced me to Star Wars!
Years later, when I asked my mother why she prays she simply told me:
“Because it makes sense and holds space for hope, gives you faith that everything will be alright and instills knowledge that there is enough.”
Patanjali lists five practices and personal commitments for the path of self-realization in sutra 1.20.
S H R A D D H A
is one of those principles. It means having faith that you are moving into the right direction. It means trusting yourself. It means to have a certainty and confidence about what you are doing.
Studying Patanjali and practicing yoga is why — now — I can understand the concept of praying. It took me years. Perhaps it took me such a long time because I was never taught that it was about a God or many for that matter. Instead, I was taught that praying is about stability. It didn’t make sense to me until I understood that my belief of self and the world around me can only truly be formed by being in the present. And that only resonated once I’ve found the continuous practice of yoga. It speaks the language of my soul. I am still learning to sometimes give myself a moment, to rest, to pause and to breathe. If you have been in my classes lately you’ll perhaps remember me saying: Give yourself a moment to be.
Today, I think this yearning for stability, faith, life’s purpose and self-inquiry — are exactly why we are so attracted to the practice of yoga. And that is why the yoga world has exploded into this immense business and consumerism, and with that it has (sadly) also opened the door for spiritual misconduct.
I believe deep down, that however we practice yoga (form or style), it isn’t about the mastery of handstanding or capturing the perfect picture, being an influencer or promoting the next yoga swag but it is about a core principle of being human: