By Andrew Trotter
If you’ve been to one of my classes, it usually doesn’t take long to figure out that I’m really into yoga philosophy!
It wasn’t always this way.
I didn’t always put these things in such a high place – it has evolved organically over a long time.
I think it is true that on face value, yoga philosophy can feel somewhat dry and not immediately inviting. Maybe it’s the technical nature of the language used. Maybe it’s the way it’s often communicated. Or maybe the subject matter feels too abstract to be appealing. No doubt there could be many reasons.
When I look back, there are probably two main factors that contributed to wanting to learn more about yoga philosophy. Firstly, I had the good fortune to spend extended periods of time around teachers and practitioners who were passionate about the subject. They were well versed in the concepts and, perhaps most importantly, were able to speak confidently about the ideas using their own words and from their own experiences. It was inspiring to be around.
The second key ingredient was very simple – time. The longer I have spent sitting with the propositions of yogic thought – the more my interest and energy has grown. I must admit that even the simplest of notions presented in the ‘yoga conversation’ have taken considerable time for me to fully appreciate – but I’m so glad I have persisted.
Now, I’m pleased to say that actively engaging with yoga’s philosophical heart has become the main motivating factor for my yoga practice and a lens through which I see all of it. It has brought new levels of personal connection and meaning to what I’m doing with yoga.
We are all exceptionally sensitive intellectual beings after all, naturally attributing meaning (often unconsciously) to everything within and around us. Bringing this aspect of ourselves more consciously into our yoga, I believe, is not only useful but hugely beneficial if we want to make full use of what yoga might offer.
The texts are numerous and diverse; sewn together, much like our societies and cultures, apparently complex, nuanced, sometimes seemingly contradictory, often metaphorical, and often requiring a good understanding of context to be useful. Despite this, much like a patchwork quilt, when we can take a step back, a united whole can start to be appreciated. What might be considered a confusing and fuzzy maze of varying ideas can become beautifully simple and coherent. Perhaps more importantly, it can become directly applicable to your own situation.
And so, it has come with a tremendous sense of satisfaction that the opportunity arose within our Uprising community to offer regular sessions that are devoted to just this! A time dedicated purely to contemplating the ideas that exist as the substrate of yoga. Where questions of meaning and significance are pondered; because meaning and significance matter. To provide a space dedicated to conversational inquiry and profundity.
So here it is! A regular offering on the last Tuesday of every month that we are calling Satsang.
To get the conversation rolling, a specific theme or question is proposed. However it is just that – to get the conversation started. If we end up naturally diverging in a different direction, this is quite fine. If a particular line of questioning feels compelling to you – this is the right time and place to bring it up. Satsangs are intended to be a dialogue not a monologue.
In our previous Satsang sessions, our discussions have drifted through the well known philosophical classic – The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Given its lofty position within the yoga tradition – it is a great place to centre our chats. We have acquired some new sanskrit words along the way that help us talk about ideas in a consistent way. Words such as klesha, drshta, samyoga, sattva, kaivalyam and samadhi are beginning to become part of our vocabulary.
The last Tuesday of every month at the Uprising Yoga Studio.
Guided by Andrew.
Book your spot here.