Mountains have always been a draw for those who seek higher consciousness. Why do you think that is the case?
1 Effort: First, mountains, (like spiritual practice), require effort. Not everyone wants to put in effort. Most people like things to come easy their way. In Yoga, effort is abhyāsa. It is the essence of the path.
2 Detachment: Second, we can only carry what we absolutely need to climb a mountain. The rest we must leave behind. This requires detachment, a willingness to let go of all except the essentials. In Yoga, this is vairāgya.
3 Mystery: Finally, mountains move us away from the familiar. We are journeying into the unknown, into the mystery. Most people prefer the familiar, which prevents authentic spiritual awakenings and realizations.
These are just three of many reasons. However, we will focus on just these in this blog. While, traditionally, Yogis embody all these reasons (and more) for the long term, we can undertake them in short spurts.
For those willing to put in some effort, detach themselves for a short while, and go beyond the familiar into holy mystery, the rewards of Yoga await. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna offers Arjuna this beautiful assurance:
On the path, Arjuna, no effort goes wasted.
Even a little effort, goes a long way.
Now, imagine what happens when the effort is intensified for a bit. Where can the soul be taken on such effort. What is its vision? What is its realization?
Ask yourself what you are willing to do to put in some extra effort, go the extra mile, to further the realizations of your soul. Arjuna, in the Gita, represents the human soul, who can become dis-empowered on the spiritual path.
For those of you willing to undertake a journey to Iceland, I invite you to join me on a 5-day intensive in Iceland this month. This rarefied environment is not unlike the Himalayas, except we will be in Reykjavik, the capital of this beautiful country.
Click here to learn more and sign up
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And for those of you unable to make this journey, I invite you to further the understanding of your soul’s journey with my Free Video Series called “Journey to Find the Other Half of the Soul” based on our 21 years of leading pilgrimages in India.
Click here to learn more and sign up
In India, when we encounter the specific architecture of the Dravidian style temples, we see what is called the gopuram, a large edifice that forms the gateway of the temple.
While gopurams these days are painted quite colorfully (see image to the left), earlier, the gopurams were white (see image below), to represent the pure atmosphere of the mountains. You can see this in the image below at one of the temples we visit on pilgrimage: Arunachaleshwara.
The combination of the dark sanctum, in which we encounter the holy mystery, which is also in our hearts, is offset by the grandeur of the gopuram and its striated levels of consciousness.
The layers of consciousness depicted in the gopuram are indicative of our own soul’s journey that is part of the collective consciousness. We move from the all of the stimulus and distraction to the depth and attraction of the beloved.
The combination of sound and yoga practice, the form of spirituality I have cultivated these past 35 years, what is The Yoga of Sound, is rooted in the tradition of Patanjali as well as the traditions of mantra and Tantra. We study this on pilgrimage.
Combining mantra practice with Yoga has always been at the heart of Indian spirituality. For those interested in this integration, The Yoga of Sound offers innumerable insights and practices that include kirtan, yet go beyond it.
Applications of sacred sound for healing and the transformation of karma are found in Vedas and the Tantras. India’s rich tradition of sacred sound also influenced Patanjali’s and the construction of his famous Yoga Sutras. For instance:
tajjapaḥ tadarthabhāvanam II
Reciting the sacred OM prayerfully, with deep reverence, and contemplating its import (leads to the full realization of the fruits of Yoga).
To truly tap the authenticity of the Yogic experience, and understanding of sacred sound that goes beyond kirtan into the heart of the Vedas and Tantras is necessary.
Whether you are a yoga teacher or yoga practitioner, this is something you should explore. If you can’t do the 5-day training in Iceland, come to the one at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health this September: