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.
Yogis split their lives into four sections. They believe that the first twenty-five years are for education; the second twenty-five years are for being a house-holder and for raising a family; the third twenty-five years are for teaching; then the last twenty-five years are when you become a hermit. This last period of time is for your own spiritual development.
Yoga is often described as a journey of Self discovery. You see this journey explained and illuminated when you study Patanjali’s Eight Limbs. (Please refer to previous posts.)
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.
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You might also enjoy my little book!
‘YOGA PRESCRIBED’ by Carole Kerton. (£6).
Isha upanishad completes with: ” Let my life now merge in the all-pervading life. Ashes are my body’s end. OM…O mind, remember Brahman. O mind remember thy past deeds. Remember Brahman. Remember thy past deeds.”
And Kena commences in a way to remind us again: “The power behind every activity of nature and of man is the power of Brahman. To realise this truth is to be immortal.”
Yoga is NOT a religion. Yoga is a way of life, built on truth and ethical beliefs. All the teachings lead us to an understanding of goodness, of God, or Brahman, or the Supreme being. I refer back to Patanjali’s Eight Limbs. The second one, the Niyamas or ‘Do’s’ contains Ishwara Pranidhana – Awareness of forces greater than oneself.
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.
The start of Chapter 16 in the Gita descibes the difference between the man who is born with divine tendencies, and the man who is born with demonic tendencies: ‘A man who is born with tendencies towards the Divine is fearless and pure in heart. He perseveres in that path to union with Brahman which the scriptures and his teacher have taught him. He is charitable. He can control his passions. He studies the scriptures regularly, and obeys their directions.He practises spiritual disciplines. He is straightforward, truthful and of an even temper. He harms no one. He renounces the things of the world. He has a tranquil mind and an unmalicious tongue. He is compassionate toward all. He is not greedy. He is gentle and modest. he abstains from useless activity. he has faith in the strength of his higher nature. He can forgive and endure. He is clean in thought and act. He is free from hatred and pride. Such qualities are his birthright.’
See how this description overlaps with the teachings of Patanjali in the Eight Limbs of Yoga.
‘Know this, O Prince: of things created all are come forth from the seeming union of Field and Knower, Prakriti (matter) with Brahman. Who sees his Lord within every creature, deathlessly dwelling amidst the mortal: that man sees truly. Thus ever aware of the Omnipresent always about him, he offers no outrage to his own Atman, hides the face of God beneath ego no longer: therefore he reaches that bliss which is highest.’
The bliss that Krishna refers to here is Samadhi, the eighth limb of yoga. These words are meant to be read out loud. The Gita would have been enacted by travelling groups, and passed down by teacher to student.
Krishna says: ‘By the single sun this whole world is illumined: by its one Knower the Field is illumined. Who thus perceives with the eye of wisdom in what manner the Field is distinct from its Knower, how men are made free from the toils of Prakriti: his aim is accomplished, he enters the Highest.’
And so, by clever rhetoric and repetition, we understand the difference between the physical world and the spiritual world. We understand that Brahman is the Supreme Being, and that Atman is the divine spark within each and every one of us.