Atman

When I was a child, there was a time I was thinking about who I am. It was very clear to me, that there is something I struggled explaining or finding the right words. I called it my “coenesthesia”. This feeling of “I”, which I believed would not die with my body. This special feeling when saying “I”, this is my true self.

I kept this belief my whole life, but many years later yoga philosophy taught me the right terms of what I already knew since a young child. In yoga this true inner essence, our inner self is called Atman. A kind of fragment of the Divine (Brahman), which exists in every one of us, and which is the very core of our being. We easily mistake it with our ego and identify with our body and mind, instead of going beyond intellect, ego and emotions.

Realizing this false conviction and identification with the ego, the mortal body and mind is called liberation (Moksha), which eventually leads to freedom from the cycle of death and rebirth (Samskara).

Frankly spoken, even if I had this insight already as a child, it doesn’t mean it’s easy to live by. To translate and implement it into daily life is where we struggle most. Knowing, understanding is one side of the medal, get it on the driver seat of life is the other side.

This is what a meditation and yoga practice helps with, no matter what style, on or off the mat. Yoga is the sum of all paths on inner development, the goal of which is to realize and experience your Divine true inner self, and thereby transform life.

This short dispatch is nothing but a very high level glance at the yoga philosophy, which is so worth a deep dive!

The next level

Only when you can be extremely pliable and soft can you be extremely hard and strong. (Zen Proverb)

When practicing, find something more than just the physical challenge. Use the physical practice for controlling your mind, as the physical body is merely a vehicle. It’s not that important what you practice, but HOW you practice. It’s about deep listening, understanding your body and creating harmony. Notice when you are pushing and stop immediately. Let it go, connect with your breath, feel your body, then start again. 

Getting soft in your practice isn’t a sign of weakness, but strength. 

Yoga means union. Union of purusha (spirit, soul) and prakriti (surrounding, nature around us). Union of atman (true self) and brahman (absolute consciousness). Union of body and mind, the unity between the individual soul and the cosmic soul.

Bring your practice to the next level – get soft.