I have always loved a good story, I think most of us do. Many years ago when I first found out that there were stories related to the asanas which we practice in yoga, it immediately captured my attention and I have had a keen interest in the mythology around yoga practice ever since.
Yoga studios are often adorned with statues or pictures of Ganesha, Shiva and other deities and my Mythical Flow classes are an opportunity to become a little more familiar with these characters. And then of course, there is always the entertainment value of a good story which is what many enjoy. The structure of the class is generally that I set the scene of the story and introduce the characters involved at the beginning, then as we practice I weave the story into the sequence. Often students comment on how the suspense of the story helps them stay with the more challenging parts of the practice. But these myths really run deeper than just being good stories. The symbology of the deities can teach us more about ourselves. These Gods and Goddesses are not entities which exist outside of ourselves, they’re not something ‘other’ to worship – they are archetypes and symbolise qualities we already possess. In these stories we are all the players, and as we hear the stories it can give us perspective on our own strengths and weaknesses. It is interesting to observe how different the mood can be at the end of each of the Mythical Flow class depending on which God or Goddess we’ve been invoking and practicing with.
In these traditional myths there are always gods (devis) as well as demons (asuras) and there is a struggle between the two. This symbolises the continuous processes we go through as humans where we have to acknowledge not only our light but also see our darkness. Perhaps most importantly we need to recognise what our shadows are, so that we bring them into our conscious mind rather than them ruling us from the unconscious. The God/Goddess archetypes also have their shadow side and this symbology can be useful to look at in recognising what might be unlived in us, what we might be suppressing or denying. The myths can serve as a looking glass as we see parallels in the stories to our own issues and struggles. This way it can give us the opportunity for a new perspective. And as we gain a fresh perspective we might find it useful to work with the deities in a way where we invoke a specific Gods or Goddess to strengthen particular traits within ourselves which will help us move through or deal with a particular situation.
So if this intrigues you – and if you love a good story – then I invite you to come along to Mythical Flow to get a taste of this wonderful magical world of mythical adventure! Come and enjoy it as a way to (as always with yoga) dive deeper into your self as well as to deepen your practice and knowledge of the tradition.
View Tanja’s teaching schedule.
Read more about Mythical Flow Friday Nights.