Wishing everyone a Happy 4th of July, and that you enjoy a safe and relaxing holiday weekend!
In thinking about what personal freedom means, aside from political freedom, I believe that the yogic principles directly apply. In yoga and other spiritual practices, we seek to undo the layers and layers of conditioning that bind us to repetitive thinking and habits. That conditioning mostly comes from our family environment, and even if our caretakers have wonderful intentions, we as little child sponges do soak up the norms, behaviors, and viewpoints of our family environment. Later, as we age, we also become conditioned by society – our friends, schools, media, etc. We continue through our lifetime to be exposed and conditioned by that which surrounds us. Though, as we age and mature, we begin to notice and perhaps question these outside influences. We can become more discerning and notice the effects of our family and societal influences on our selves. In our spiritual practices, we seek a liberation from these external influences so we can at least glimpse who we really are under all those conditions layers. Many of us have had moments, fleeting as they may be, of such peak transcendent experiences. Those moments are glimpses into who we really are – our true essence. For me, the more I can connect to the unconditioned self, my spirit or soul, the more I feel free and at peace. The paths to these momentary awakenings can be varied – yoga and meditation, qigong and tai chi, dancing, walking in nature, chanting, praying, jogging, being with animals or children, listening to music, connecting to art, and many more possibilities. When have you experienced this type of personal freedom?
Also, my wonderful Tai Chi Easy teacher, Roger Jahnke, OMD, will be teaching July 9 – 12 at The Open Center! Many of you have asked about studying this form of tai chi and qigong, and now is your opportunity. Thursday night, July 9 is the free intro and Friday – Sunday is his training. I highly recommend studying with Dr. Jahnke! Check out www.opencenter.org for more info.