Most people are aware of the fact that yoga has been around for centuries. Before yoga trickled into the west and became commonly associated with vibrant, patterned leggings, live music and yoga festivals, the traditions of yoga in the east remained, and still remain to this day, steeped in ancient knowledge and wisdom. The philosophy of yoga can be quite daunting if you happen to pick up a copy of the yoga sutras- one of the most significant texts on yoga. However, breaking down the nuggets of yogic wisdom to suit modern day life is actually very simple, and also, extremely beneficial.
Modern life is understandably a little different to what it was like when the ancient sages were practicing yoga in India. They were probably not so concerned with staying on top of their inbox, cooking meals beyond the repertoire of dahl and rice, getting children to a vast array of after school activities, work commitments, social commitments, family commitments, pet commitments, shopping, making time for Game of Thrones, and of course, finding time to share all of these tasks on various social media platforms in a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing way.
It begs to wonder, what type of stress and anxiety did yoga assist these ancient sages with?! There was no road rage, no social media bickering, no toddler meltdowns in the ice-cream isle of the supermarket, no 6pm calls from telecommunication companies and no infuriating drop in the wifi signal. The ancient sages had endless hours to meditate, be in nature, drink chai tea and practice the lessons that yoga offers- self-care, non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, self-study, contentment and purification.
Yet, despite the vast changes that have occurred over the last few centuries, and the vast differences between the east and west, as human beings, we all have distinct similarities. Throughout history, people who practiced yoga did still suffer from body pain, fatigue, anxiety, depression and other common ailments. Today, people come to yoga for a variety of different reasons. Every body is capable of doing yoga, and basking in the benefits of the practice. While many of these benefits are physical, some of the greatest benefits are those that help us to deal with the challenges we face in daily life.
How to Translate the Ancient Wisdom of Yoga to the Modern World
One of the key lessons of yoga that is highly beneficial in the modern world is mindfulness. Yoga helps bring us back to the present moment. It helps us to let go of the mental list-making that rattles through our daily thoughts. Yoga reminds us that we have everything we need within us in every given moment, and that when we are truly present, we can be truly appreciative and thankful.
With the glorification of busy and the unconscious tendency to reach for our smartphones whenever a window of space arises, we have lost the ability to simply enjoy the moment for what it is. Yoga reminds us to enjoy time with the people around us and not sit on our phones at the dinner table. It reminds us to start a conversation with the person in the elevator. It asks us to be more present with our children, our colleagues, our neighbours. It challenges us to move beyond the need to be anywhere other than where we are- even if that means sitting in discomfort, for this is where healing and transformation most often arise.
Yoga teaches us patience. On the mat, we understand that yoga is a journey. The poses don’t come to us right away, we work to achieve them over time. Sometimes, this can be frustrating! Essentially, yoga shows us that with patience, all things come in time, and that to push and try too hard, will only cause us pain.
Off the mat, we carry these lessons into our day to day life. When issues arise- someone is running late for a meeting, your children are being less than angelic, a customer is being particularly challenging, or a relationship isn’t proving to be easy- the patience that we learn in yoga can be applied to every circumstance. Simply through the practice of yoga, we learn to be more patient, more understanding and more forgiving. We learn that people are all going through their own challenges and that often, we don’t know what those are or how they shape a person. Yoga helps remind us that with patience, we can the best version of ourselves and not be quick to anger or judgement.
Yoga is a practice of self-care. We learn to be more loving towards ourselves, and also to all beings. The lessons of yoga are about recognising the divine nature of ourselves, connecting with our inner light, and then recognising that shared light in those around us. This is essentially a beautiful lesson to experience and explore. When we make the time to practice yoga we fill up our own cup, and in doing so, have that much more to give to those we love. When we feel nurtured and cared for, we can be nurturing and caring towards others.
Yoga reminds us to take care of not only our physical body, but also our mental, emotional and spiritual body. The practice and its teachings offer a holistic approach to wellbeing. In modern life, we can often be completely detached and disconnected from our emotional or spiritual aspects of self, and even though we may not be aware of this, we suffer. Wellbeing isnt just about drinking green juice and eating quinoa. Wellbeing is also about taking time out for rejuvenation and relaxation. Yoga ticks all the boxes when it comes to self-care, especially in our busy modern world.
Showing up to your yoga mat requires commitment and dedication. There are a million reasons you can talk yourself out of going to class! Yoga is a practice and a journey, and committing to this journey, no matter how you feel or what each day brings, inspires great commitment in all aspects of our lives.
The yoga poses themselves also require great focus and attentiveness. These are also lessons that we take off the mat with us and into our lives. Yoga helps us to show up, be bold, be brave, be courageous. It teaches us to approach a challenge with clarity, focus and determination. When we keep showing up to things in our life, we are rewarded- how much we put into something determines how much we get out of it. Aside from yoga, how much energy and commitment we show towards our job, our children, our friends, our wellbeing, determines how we grow, connect and thrive.
So, no matter how the world has changed over the last few centuries, yoga remains a beneficial practice. Even if we don’t have hours to spend meditating in a quiet cave, or rise at dawn to salute the sun, any amount of yoga can help us to be better human beings. Despite what modern yoga may suggest, the practice isn’t just about having strong abs or standing on our hands. The essence and wisdom of yoga run deep, and chances are, if you remain open to the lessons and keep showing up, the magic of yoga will capture you and infiltrate your daily existence.
Your Escape Haven Bali Retreat offers a luxury wellness experience for body, mind and soul
We invite you to experience our award-winning Luxury retreat Bali. If it’s time to fill up your cup and reconnect with yourself on a deeper level, we’d love to help you rejuvenate, unwind, reawaken and experience the very best of Bali. Dive into transformational yoga and meditation classes, exhilarating surf lessons in the warm waters of Bali, fun fitness classes and restorative healing sessions. How much or little you do is all up to you.
If you’re looking for a more affordable and flexible women’s retreat Bali, you should check out our other yoga retreat. The Palm Tree House is a value based option to our Escape Haven retreat. Enjoy the offerings of any Bali luxury retreat, but with more flexibility and less inclusions. Read more here.