Monday, June 22, 2015

The Inner Sanctum

Within a church or temple, the inner sanctum is a private, sacred and secret place. It is safe and protected.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty
-Psalm 91:1, King James Version. Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty -New International Version.

Let the yogi engage himself in yoga, remaining in a secret place by himself, with thought and self subdued, free from hope and greed.  In a pure place, established on a fixed seat of his own, neither very much raised or very low…he should restrain his mind and concentrate it on Me, and sit down engaged in devotion, regarding Me as his final goal -Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6.

Teachers of spiritual traditions love metaphor as a teaching tool, and many describe the human body as a temple (eg. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit?).

Yoga is both a physical and a spiritual tradition. The breath work, physical postures and meditation in yoga lead us deep into our inner sanctum. In Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, the body is described as an obstacle to be transcended, but in Tantra Yoga, the body is seen as a holy vessel. The well-known Anusara yoga teacher, Christina Sell, authored the book My Body is a Temple: Yoga as a Path to Wholeness as a guide to help people reach their inner shrine through yoga practice.

My yoga practice leads me within, to a secret place where I am safe, at rest and divinely connected.

Even in a group class, practicing collectively, we are traveling on this individual journey to the inner sanctum. The niyama, one half of the ethical teachings of yoga, is a Sanskrit word that translates as "inner culture," in English. Svadhyaya is one of the five niyama, and it means study of the scriptures and of the self. The literal translation of svadhyaya is "one's own reading."

In our practice today, may we turn our attention within and find our inner sanctum, allowing our practice to lead us to that secret resting place where nothing can perturb us, the place where the soul abides.

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