Aside from the committed hedonists and those driven by a belief that only the fittest survive, most people see putting the care of others first, as virtuous, admirable and the mark of a good human being. Most adhere to the belief that ensuring your own care and well-being is something that should come after the needs of others are satisfied, and that anything that develops self-awareness is by its very nature self-centred, and thus assumed to be exclusive of others.
But there’s a challenge to this belief taking place in the practice of yoga.
Esoteric Yoga – The Yoga of Stillness, has revealed something quite remarkable that I’ve not felt nor witnessed before in my previous 20 years+ experience of other forms of yoga.
At the beginning of the class there was significant disharmony in the way everyone moved into the room to prepare themselves for the yoga and how they initially moved through the class.
As the class progressed, with their eyes closed, they were encouraged increasingly to observe themselves and the quality of their movements. Remarkably, the more deeply the participants’ focussed on not just on themselves, but on connecting with their own inner quality and moving from there, the more in unison they moved as a class. And ironically, as the comparison and concerns about what others were doing was given less attention, the more in-connection they were and the more in-alignment they moved.
Towards the end of the class the participants were moving through the movements in near perfect alignment, an alignment that was borne from connecting deeply to themselves, to their innermost (esoteric) essence. The unified movement that resulted highlighted the fact that the quality of this essence we have within is in fact of the same quality in everyone. One unified quality, and so to be connected with ourselves in truth, is equivalent to being connected with all.
We must go in, in order to go out.
We must deepen, in order to expand.
We must connect and love ourselves deeply, in order to connect and love others deeply.
Perhaps putting yourself first and ensuring you are deeply present is one of the most responsible and loving things you can do for others...
Author: Sara Williams
Photographer: Matt Paul