With the 4th of July coming up this weekend, I have been thinking a lot about Freedom and what it means to me. The 4th and final chapter of Yoga Sutras, the handbook for the Philosophy of Yoga, is about freedom (or kaivalya) which is said to be the ultimate result of a dedicated yoga practice.
Freedom can be recognized and defined in so many ways and it is completely individual. For example, the more were practice deepening and lengthening our breath, the more freedom we have in our lungs to take even deeper and longer breaths. The more focused we are, the more free we are to choose and pursue our passions. As we practice, we become more confident and in that confidence, we feel more free to speak our truth. We can also find freedom from negative thoughts, habitual patterns of behavior or toxic relationships. Or in the bigger picture, as we have just witnessed in our country which was founded on freedom, we gain the freedom to marry whomever we want.
Regardless of how we each define freedom, according to Yoga, the small freedoms we gain though our practice, ultimately, lead us to freedom from suffering. It doesn’t mean we don’t face challenges, have pain or experience sadness which are all part of the human experience. But rather, we don’t suffer as a result of what happens in our lives.
To me, this is a gift worth the effort. So, I continue to show up and practice, even when I don’t want to because the cost of not being free to live my life to the fullest is too great.
As part of your practice, perhaps start to notice the areas of your life where you feel restricted or held back in some way and consciously use your practice to find more freedom in that area. Through the small efforts we apply day to day to find freedom, we can trust that we are moving towards the ultimate freedom which is freedom from suffering.
What I have found to be a beautiful bonus is that in finding the freedom to be my true self, direct my mind, speak my truth and pursue my passions with the ability to bounce back from hardships all while living a happier life, I naturally desire that freedom and happiness for all beings.
Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu: May all beings be happy and free and may the thoughts and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and freedom.
Our theme for July is Freedom! Please see our Instagram Challenge blog post and let us know what Freedom means to you. We look forward to hearing from you!
We have lots going on around the studio to support you in finding your freedom, so please check it all out by clicking on the workshops & events tab!
With infinite love and gratitude…