Yoga for people who have a life!
Posted by IYTA Admin, 13-Jul-2018
Bored with the usual cliched yoga titles, David Burgess decided to shake things up a and has named his upcoming two-day IYTA workshop: Yoga for people who have a life.
So why has he opted for this intriguing name? What will be covered and is it aimed at all of us? (as presumably most of us like to think we have a life). I asked David these questions and more…
Q: What is this yoga workshop about?
A: In my experience a percentage of people come to yoga because they consider themselves as not having a life, they are without direction or purpose. These people are susceptible to replacing this life or filling this void with yoga and become fanatics. Yoga though is about the middle path that which can so enhance our life, can if overdone be detrimental.
Q: Did this happen to you?
A: Oh yes! When I began yoga it was an absolute joy and enhanced my life on many levels. After about six months of practice, I became what now with hindsight I consider obsessed with yoga and while yes, there were benefits, it was no longer in balance.
I went from attending a couple of classes a week to a home practice which quickly progressed from half an hour of asana to a couple of hours of asana then on to a couple of hours twice a day. Plus Kriya yoga for two hours in the morning. Then I moved to an ashram, where I continued doing the kriyas and an hour and a half of morning practice and meditation in the evenings….at least in the ashram where the focus was on karma yoga, so I was able to balance out and express the energy generated from this quantity of sadhana. Many people make this error too of doing lots of practise and not finding a proper outlet for expressing this added energy.
Q: Was there a “lightbulb” moment when you realised it was taking too much prominence in your life? How did you create a more balanced life for yourself?
A: There were a few lightbulb moments in truth: when I found the only books I had read in the last couple of years were exclusively on the subject of yoga, when I found my circle of friends had dwindled to only those who were “serious” about yoga. When my inner dialogue became judgemental regarding people who didn’t practice yoga. When I became that ungrounded that I began to take the psychic experiences one has from such sadhana as being of higher priority than day to day life. In yogic terms when with respect to the Purusharthas I had become mono obsessed with moksha to the detriment of artha, kama and dharma.
Q: What is a good balance?
A: Yoga should enhance and balance life: not replace life is the point I am making here. There is a point where less is more. To gain benefit from yoga you don’t need to become a vegan, you don’t need to practice everyday, you don’t need to do asanas that hurt, pranayamas that make you dizzy and meditation that makes you overly sensitive or introspective or ungrounded. You don’t need to become an expert, you don’t need to look for more than what works in your life as determined by you, not by some “highly evolved” being. Yes it is good in all areas of our lives to learn from those that have travelled down some pathway of learning further than ourselves but we should remain empowered and trust our own wisdom too. These days I cross the road and avoid those who are in the habit of telling me “what I need to do”.
Yoga should enhance and balance life: not replace life is the point I am making here. There is a point where less is more.
Q: Who is this yoga workshop aimed at?
A: I would hope that there are teachers and other people interested in yoga beyond the practices who are interested more in why we do these practices rather than so much how to do these practices. There are people far more adept in the technical aspects of yoga than I who are better suited for that..
I would like to see people who are interested in taking an active part in deciding which practices they want to do and why. Those who want to have an understanding of yoga beyond Hatha Yoga.
People who have a full schedule of life and have only time to do that which is necessary for them to make systematic progress to whatever outcome they are looking for yoga to provide.
Those who for one reason or another can’t spend an hour or so on asana and another half hour on pranayama and another hour on meditation. Those for whom yoga is a part of their life, that enhances their life rather than is their life. Mostly though: those who are really already too busy with competing priorities to come to a full weekend workshop!
Q: What will you be covering?
A: Technically, I will cover a range of accessible practices: asana, pranayama (a much under rated and under represented aspect of yoga) no frills Yoga Nidra and a few accessible mediation techniques. i.e Simple efficient and effective practices one can take home!
Theoretically I would like for those attending to be able to walk away with an understanding of where yoga came from and its evolution to where it is today so I will be giving some historical perspective to yoga. There is some stunning and usable philosophy and an understanding of mind (psychology) that underpin yoga and I would like to introduce some of those concepts and suggest how they may be relevant in one’s busy life today.
About the Presenter
I am not the message, I am just a messenger. We, I believe, need to learn not to confuse the message and the messenger because as a messenger I have my limitations whereas yoga when not personalised is flawless and relevant to all of us. My story is not! To continue on this theme we in the west have become so interested in our teachers background, our pedigree, what knowledge they possess, what postures they can do. This is to me acquisitive and we end up being swayed by celebrity and how many people one has in their social network… Suffice it to say, I have been physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually inspired by yoga for way more than a few decades. I currently teach on the IYTA teacher training course which is one of the joys of my life.