One of the requirements of this yoga teacher training program is to read 4 different yoga books, then submit a brief report/reflection on each one. I have finished my final required text: Living Your Yoga by Judith Lasater. So, I now get to post my last reflective report. Yay! :)
Living Your Yoga by Judith Lasater addresses 21 spiritual concepts in three main realms: intrapersonal (“Yoga within Yourself”), interpersonal (“Yoga and Relationships”), and social/societal (“Yoga in the World”). For each concept, Lasater cites a few lines of text from either the Yoga Sutras or the Bhagavad Gita as the way to establish the relevance of the concept to the total book; she then shares a few stories about her personal experience with the concept. Lasater ends each section by offering a few ideas of how readers can explore the concept quickly and easily in their daily lives. (Indeed, on page 126 of the book, Lasater asserts what I believe to be the ‘thesis’ upon which the entire text rests: “It is in the nitty-gritty details of your life that what I call ‘living your yoga’ is all about.”)
To me, it feels like Lasater intentionally wrote this text for a very “Western” culture – which is perhaps one of the reasons why this book resonated so strongly with me. It feels like this book understands my current culture and speaks my current language; as such, this text can then relay deep insights and wisdom using words and concepts I can immediately identify with and relate to.
While I struggled to extract meaning from much of the Yoga Sutras (and I haven’t bothered to begin to tackle the Bhagavad Gita) I gleamed so much goodness from this book. I highlighted, underlined, and starred snippets of text on nearly every page. I can see a lot of value in reading this book again (and perhaps even several more times), seeing what speaks to me at later readings, working with each of the practice suggestions Lasater offers, revisiting the wisdom shared within the pages, and gaining new insights of my own as I continue to travel along my path.
Here are just a few segments of Lasater’s text that I found to be simple-yet-wise:
- (From the chapter on “Self-Judgement”, p. 25): “Learning to live in a way that is comfortable…begins when you can bring a sense of the comfortable to your inner life, to your thoughts, and to how you frame your reality by how you speak to yourself.”
- (From the chapter on “Faith”, p. 30): “Belief is a preconception about the way reality should be; faith is the willingness to experience reality as it is, including the acceptance of the unknown… Faith is a recipe made up of part trust in ourselves, part experience of life working out, and part intuitive connection with the Divine…I have faith in my willingness to have faith.”
- (From the chapter on “Control”, p. 57): “The more we try to control our world, the less control we have. The more we are willing to let go of control and simply stay present with what is, the more control we have.”
- (From the chapter on “Suffering”, p. 90): “The suffering of the past cannot be wiped out, and the suffering of this moment is what I am experiencing right now. But the suffering that exists in the future can be avoided by the choices that I make now.”
- (From the chapter on “Greed”, p. 107): “Sometimes we temporarily lose our way, becoming convinced that if we acquire this thing or that skill, we will finally become acceptable to ourselves and to the world. In our fear, we have forgotten that we are already whole.”
- (From the chapter on “Success”, p. 130): “The only real success in life is living with an open, loving heart.”
I offer these passages as a bit of a ‘teaser’; if any of these excerpts spoke to you, perhaps consider this an invitation to read the book. See if any parts of it resonate with you. See if there are small actions you might want to consider taking to explore your ‘yoga’ practice – that is, the practice that supports you in living a more fulfilling life. I am. :)