My latest book is now available on Amazon! It’s a novel way to navigate the ageing process, and uses story to spread the teachings of yoga.
Buy your copy of ‘Home from OM – the last yoga retreat’ now! They’re selling fast…
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‘Home from OM’ employs the ancient yoga technique of story-telling to put across spiritual teachings, the infinite wisdom. Following the progress of ten occupants of a residential home, we engage with their lives and their pasts. Can living in a yoga community bring grace and fulfillment to their last years? Could this be a way for the elderly to progress instead of diminish? Or will new challenges emerge from the experiment? Carole Kerton has been teaching yoga for forty-one years. She believes in using humour and anecdotes to facilitate learning. Whilst yoga supports all age groups, the elderly in Carole’s classes thrive on their practice.
Bite-sized chunks of yoga theory
Brighten your day, when the world looks weary.
Upanishads, Eight Limbs and the Gita,
Quotes to make your temper sweeter.
Foods that help improve your health,
And lessons about the Inner Self.
Come and check out ‘yoga prescribed’,
Truths enlighten when well imbibed.
And if you feel by blog is worth a look,
You might also enjoy my little book!
‘YOGA PRESCRIBED’ by Carole Kerton. (£6).
Mundaka upanishad begins with: “Since the manifold objects of senses are merely emanations of Brahman, to know them in themselves is not enough. Since all the actions of men are but phases of the universal process of creation, action alone is not enough. The sage must distinguish between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is of things, acts and relations. But wisdom is of Brahman alone; and, beyond all things, acts, and relations, he abides forever. To become one with him is the only wisdom.”
This reminds us of the wise teachings of Krishna to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita.
We are reminded of the Bhagavad Gita when Death says: ‘Know that the Self is the rider and the body the chariot; that the intellect is the charioteer, and the mind the reins. The senses, say the wise, are the horses; the roads they travel are the mazes of desire. The wise call the Self the enjoyer when he is united with the body, the senses and the mind. When a man lacks discrimination and his mind is uncontrolled, his senses are unmanageable , like the restive horses of a charioteer. But when a man has discrimination and his mind is controlled, his senses, like the well-broken horses of a charioteer, lightly obey the rein.’
I always say that you need to read the Upanishads with your heart and not your head. Try reading those words out loud. It’s just lovely…
Student yoga teachers study three great works, ‘The Bhagavad Gita’, Patanjali’s Sutras and ‘The Upanishads’.
Upanishad means to ‘sit at the feet of the Master’. This refers to the fact that yogic teaching was passed from Guru (teacher) to chela (student). The Upanishads are like our fables. You need to read them with your heart, rather than your mind. They all contain a moral.
The Upanishads are the philosophical part of the Vedas. Neither dogma nor theology, these meditations concern direct, overwhelming religious experience in the midst of life, and record insights into eternal truths. They are unified by their common search for the true nature of Reality, and in the course of this search afford glimpses into supreme states of the soul.
In the days to come, we’ll explore twelve of these Upanishads.
Krishna concludes: ‘And if any man meditates upon this sacred discourse of ours, I shall consider that he has worshipped me in spirit. Even if a man listens to these words with faith, and does not doubt them, he will be freed from his sins and reach the heaven of the righteous.’
I do hope that touching on the teachings of the Gita has brought about some realisations for you. When I was a newly qualified yoga teacher, I read the Bhagavad Gita every summer. I always found something new in it. I always found a new way to look at my journey.
OM SHANTI SHANTI SHANTI
We learn that: ‘The seer’s duty, ordained by his nature, is to be tranquil in mind and in spirit, self-controlled, austere and stainless, upright, forbearing; to follow wisdom, to know the Atman, firm of faith in the truth that is Brahman. The leader’s duty, ordained by his nature, is to be bold, unflinching and fearless, subtle of skill and open-handed, great-hearted in battle, a resolute ruler. Others are born to the task of providing: these are the traders, the cultivators, the breeders of cattle. To work for all men, such is the duty ordained for the servers: this is their nature. All mankind is born for perfection and each shall attain it will he but follow his nature’s duty.’
This concept is explained by the word ‘Dharma’, which is duty, cosmic order, correct living and right conduct. Yoga practice promotes clarity of thought and understanding, so that we can align with our dharma.
Krishna says: ‘There are three things which motivate action: knowledge, the knower and that which is known. There are three constituents of action: the instrument, the purpose and the doer.’
Yoga teaches us to watch our thoughts, and observe our motivations and intentions. If all actions stem from the heart, and from heart-centred intentions, then those actions must be pure. I was taught, when faced with a decision and an action, ‘If the heart sings, do it, if the heart sinks, don’t’. Always a good test…
The dialogue between Arjuna and Krishna in the Gita continues. Arjuna asks: ‘I want to learn the truth about renunciation and non-attachment. What is the difference between these two principles?’
Krishna replies: ‘The sages tell us that renunciation means the complete giving-up of all actions which are motivated by desire. And they say that non-attachment means abandonment of the fruits of action.’
Yoga teaches us to examine. To be aware of our bodies, to examine our thoughts, and to explore our motivations. Yoga is truly a journey of Self-discovery.
In Chapter 17, Krishna repeats his teaching of the gunas. He then explains OM TAT SAT to us: ‘OM TAT SAT: these three words designate Brahman, by whom the seers, the Vedas and the sacrificial rites were created in ancient times. Therefore OM is always uttered by the devotees of Brahman, as the scriptures direct, before undertaking any act of sacrifice, almsgiving or austerity. TAT, meaning the Absolute, is uttered by seekers after liberation who desire no reward for their deed, when they are about to make sacrifice, austerity or give alms, or practise some austerity. SAT means goodness, and existence. It also means an auspicious act. All perseverance in sacrifice, austerity or almsgiving is SAT. ‘
Interesting to contemplate the way folk have reacted to being told that we must follow a policy of austerity, in order to put our country’s finances in order. In this quote from the Gita, austerity is seen as a virtue and a self-discipline. Using measures of austerity will ensure that the country rebalances, and that the vulnerable will be sheltered and protected.