Once everything had come together so seamlessly with How I decided to become a Yoga Teacher, Day 1 of Yoga Teacher Training , the questions that I had going into it, which were
1. Whether or not my interest in yoga had anything to do with the Baha'i Faith?
2. Whether or not Yoga talked about God?
were answered in the absolute first lesson that we had!
I will never forget it, it was about Prakriti and Purusha - the ‘ever-changing’ & the ‘changeless’.
Essentially, there was only two things in the changeless, which was God (although, there were no attachments to a particular name, the rest of the class we came up with other potential words that would describe IT, and among them were Allah, The Eternal, The Creator, The Source, The Force, Mother Nature etc) AND the life of the human soul. Considering that in the Baha'i Writings it says that the human soul is on this earth to progress, I wanted to know what the reference of that aspect was in Yoga.
Immediately, the answer came shortly after the thought.
The changing aspects of the soul were categorized under Prakriti, meaning the ‘ever-changing’, because in this life, the soul is transformed, it changes, it progresses, it perfects, it was mind blowing to also learn that the mind, thoughts, the changing/growth aspects of the soul, the earth, cycles, seasons etc, is ALSO always and constantly apart of the changing realm.
I was so very grateful that two of my questions were answered in the first day, nay first class. I felt confirmed that I had made the right decision :)
The third question,
Whether or not there was a DIRECT link or explanation in the Baha'i writings for the physical postures in yoga?
I felt perhaps my desire to make this connection between the Baha'i Faith and Yoga may have been a stretch too far, that I should be grateful that the basics, the most fundamentals of God and the Soul are there, and that I could just rest it as that.
NO SURPRISE! Day 4 - Question No. 3 was answered.
Day 4 was particularly clear to me because it was our first day of silence.
On Day 1 of the training, they went through the schedule with us, and explained that once a week, we were all going to practice a full day of silence. And on that day, we could only ask questions to the teacher during the class for the purpose of yogic learning, however, we couldn't talk to the fellow trainees in class or in between the breaks.
There was understandably much felt collective anxiety on that day, however, I was very much look forward to trying it out and see what it would feel like since I have never tried it before - especially cause I was one of the more talkative ones ;)
That morning as I was saying the Long Obligatory Prayer, which is the ONLY prayer, amidst the prayers which are obligatory in the Baha’i Faith that are said daily AND AND AND have physical postures.
I never liked the postures in this prayer, in fact, I felt quite averse to doing it - it made me feel like a fanatical person raising my arms and prostrating my self on the ground, I wondered what other people would think if they saw me.
I was always so very grateful that this prayer was meant to be said "in the privacy of your chamber" and not for the eyes of other people - so no one could see me being the fool that I felt I was. In reality ‘the privacy of ones chamber’ is meant to focus entirely on God, and not to have the distractions of other people, or to compare your self and another’s spiritual practices. I may have even done it once or twice without the postures because I "thought" I knew better - entirely my loss!
Despite me not liking the postures, I continued to say them because I LOVE the words in the long obligatory prayer so much, retrospectively I am SO GLAD that I was obedient to saying the obligatory prayer, and of the three I could choose, the long one at that, so that I would be able to arrive at this point of understanding - for THIS understanding, I would have died trying to understand, had I known I would arrive here again.
There was also something about saying words, and correlating it to the physicality of a posture that I always knew was very powerful, but I never really knew WHY exactly, or HOW exactly powerful it was - in my recent Integrative Yoga Therapy training, we did a practice that involved connecting chanting, breath work and physical postures together and MAN was that my ULTIMATE FAVORITE!
If anyone knows of a melody to chant the Long Obligatory Prayer, please link it below for me in the comment section! I would LOVE to hear it :))))