John Aguilar, Jr., L.Ac., R.Y.T., M.S.TCM

Licensed AcupuncturistChinese Medical HerbalistYoga and Tai Chi Instructor

About Yoga

Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind,

So the seer may abide in their own true nature.

Yoga is an ancient system with the ultimate goal of self-realization (i.e. enlightenment, ultimate awareness, or, as I like to think of it, perfect health).

The most concise and authoritative definition of yoga can be found in its 'bible', Patanjali's Yoga Sutras:

Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind,

So the seer may abide in their true self.

The aim of yoga is to calm the mind, to tame the ceaseless mental activity, so that the 'seer', the person having the thoughts, can attain unobstructed awareness of themselves. Sounds pretty simple, right?

The sutras go on to say that, in the absence of a calm mind, the seer attaches to, identifies with, gets caught up in all that mental chatter. We forget who we are - that original, simple, direct seer, knower - and confuse ourselves for the ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and 'free creations of the mind' (to use Einstein's words).

Examples of this, how we suffer from attachment to creations of our mind, are abundant. Negative emotional responses, stress in all its many manifestations, always follow our personal emotional investment in an idea or concept. We defined something, in our minds, one way, and it turned out to be something different. Or we came to believe something and it changes.

The thought is that if we maintained awareness of our true selves, then we wouldn't get so attached to all the things the mind creates (these creations, ultimately, being an illusion - unreal, transitory and temporary.)

It is that simple (as simple as that is...)

Typically, it is extremely difficult to simply see through the illusions, to get a direct glimpse of truth, reality. We think we have it, only to realize we have simply created another idea, another 'concept'... then, we attach to it, invest, emotionally, in it, only to have it change, thus causing us more suffering for the loss.

The above could be understood as the basis, the beginning of what's referred to as 'Classical Yoga'. It is at the core of yoga. Due to the extreme difficulty of it, practices were created to assist in the process. These practices, including the postures and breathing practices that are so common in modern, American yoga, constitute 'Hatha Yoga'.

The primary classical text of Hatha Yoga is the 'Hatha Yoga Pradipika', and it states in the very first lines that it is a vehicle to get the practitioner to the higher levels of yoga, Classical Yoga. The many postures we've come to know, and much, much more, were all created to assist us in calming the mind "so the seer may abide in their true self".

In an exciting parallel with Chinese medicine, the practices of Hatha Yoga act to calm the mind by opening and clearing the pathways of the body through which prana (the original, basic energy of life) flows. Prana is the basic motive energy behind all physiological functions of the body, as well as the intelligence, the knowing, of 'how' to function. It is experienced, cognitively, as thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

By stretching the body in certain ways, and practicing certain breathing patterns (in addition to many other techniques), the channels of prana (called 'nadis') are opened and cleansed, thus allowing the mind to be more at ease, more at peace. When it is freed completely, it may, then, simply rest in its own true nature.

Along the way, as the nadis are opened, prana flows better through out the body. As it is the basic energy and intelligence of the body, when it flows better, the body works better. Illness is alleviated and disease prevented. This is the beauty of yoga - The grand goal is truly profound, and even moving towards it brings tremendous benefit!

As is mentioned elsewhere in this website, traditionally, yoga was practiced under a teacher who knew your strengths and weaknesses and could 'prescribe' yogic practices to help you not only attain better health, but aid you on your path to full realization. This is more the style of yoga that I am drawn to, which is why I focus on small-group classes and one-on-one sessions. I am looking for more personalized yoga. It is more challenging, for both teacher and student, but I believe the potential benefits are well worth the struggle!

See current schedule of classes.

Read articles investigating parallels between yoga, Ayurveda, and Chinese medicine.

To inquire about one-on-one sessions, please contact me.

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