Yesterday I gave a series of definitions of Yoga that I complied in the first month of Yoga teacher training. I made a conscious decision not to edit that list in any way, other than to make it more web friendly, so I didn’t add anything to it or take anything away from it.

One thing that I noticed about the list that revealed a lot about my ignorance of yoga philosophy at the time I began my training was the absence of what is probably the most famous, and oft quoted definition of Yoga.

In Sutra 1:2 of the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali tells us that

“Yoga is the cessation of the whirlpools of the unconscious mind”

(translation from The Yoga Darshan, by Dr Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani.

Many translations omit the reference to the unconscious mind, but it is the effect that Yoga has on the unconscious mind that is the most transformative.

If you have ever tried to change a habit, to free yourself of a bad habit, or instil a preferred one into your life, you will know that often, the desires of the conscious mind, and the things we do, are often at odds with each other. I may really want to lose some weight, know all the reasons why it will be good for me to do so, and want the end result of a thinner, healthier body, and yet still find myself absent mindedly helping myself to the last of the Christmas chocolates.

A hug part of our lives is run on a series of habits. Some of these habits help us, some of them get in the way of the things we want to achieve in life. Some of them we will have picked up in childhood and will, by now, have formed ‘who we are’ (the story we tell ourselves about who we are at least!). Some of them will have been absorbed from parents, siblings, peers, and the wider world around us. And some of them we will have developed through simply repeating actions so many times that it becomes an unconscious habit.

If you want to make a change that involves changing any of these unconscious habits, you must do so on the level of the unconscious mind, you must begin to make the unconscious conscious. It is only with awareness that we can start to make lasting change in the patterns of behaviour that we don’t even notice are part of our daily life.

Yoga is a powerful vehicle for the development of this awareness. The range of tools it offers for this growth of self knowledge is huge.

Awareness is one of the topics I will be addressing in the series of webinars I am running in the week commencing January 8th

This series of free webinars will look at how Yoga can improve life in a whole host of ways, including the development of resilience to stress, self awareness, positive thinking and deep relaxation.

The series is focusing on how Yoga can help you to ‘Recovering You’, as a tool for self discovery, personal growth, freedom from stress and recovery from the many addictions that could affect your life.

The webinars are

  • Monday Jan 8 – Stop and notice – developing awareness of your body, your thoughts and emotions
  • Tuesday Jan 9 – Becoming a better you – working with the Yamas and Niyamas to improve your life
  • Wednesday Jan 10 – Grateful for gratitude – how living with gratiutude can give you more to be grateful for
  • Thursday Jan 11 – Relax and recover – some powerful and simple ways to tackle stressful moments
  • Friday Jan 12 – Getting to know you – the importance of self study and really getting to understand yourself

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The webinars will all take place at 8.30pm GMT, and replays will be available so if you are unable to attend live, you can catch up. There will also be a pop up Facebook group where you can ask questions, share your experiences and learning, and where I will be sharing more information and articles.

The Recovering You week will be perfect for you if you

  • Are in recovery from addiction and are looking for ways to beat the stress of recovery, and deepen your experience of recovery
  • Are experiencing stress that you don’t know what to do with, for example, at work, or in your personal life
  • Are interested in learning more about Yoga philosophy and how it can be applied to your life
  • Want to grow as a person and are confused by all the personal growth paths out there

You can secure your place on the webinar by signing up below, or find out more here. Please look out for emails from me and make sure that they go into your inbox, and be sure to confirm or you won’t be able to hear any more from me, and you will miss out on the webinars

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Esther Nagle
Teacher, writer, speaker at Balance and Breathe
Esther is a former alcoholic, smoker and all round stressed out mess. She found the path to health, happiness, freedom and joy through Yoga. She is a passionate advocate for the power of Yoga, and time in Nature, in bringing balance to life, and giving you control over your health, happiness and wellbeing.

Esther is a powerful public speaker, writer and author. Her first book, Bent Back into Shape, Beating Addiction Through Yoga, has gained many 5 star reviews and has helped many people along their recovery journey.