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Becoming ‘ripe’

In yoga, there is a term ‘pushti’, which can be translated as ripe or ready. Think about that perfect peach, still attached to the tree, but juicy and plump, at any moment ready to fall. This is pushti.

So long as we remain attached to the ego- judging, critiquing, analyzing the world around us as good and bad, right and wrong-we cannot ripen. We remain under the illusion that we are in control of our lives and our destinies. Its only when we start to understand that we are living in a world of illusions (Maya, in sanskrit) and nothing is as it appears, that we surrender to some bigger force that we can refer to as God. This is when we become ripe, when we move from a human-doing to a human-being. We have faith in something within and without and with that faith can surrender our egos and simply Be.When a yogi is in this state of ripeness, it is the ideal time for absorbing and comprehending the teachings of yoga and for transforming from a self-centered individual into one concerned with the welfare of all beings with an understanding of the interconnected nature of all of life.

The word God can be an off-putting word for some people. They think, ‘all I wanted was to come to a yoga class and do some postures, stretch a little bit, and now the teacher has me questioning my faith, my religion, my belief system I’ve grown up with. Is this some kind of cult?’

Yoga is not a religion. There is no heirarchy, no governing body and no set concept of God which followers must buy into to be part of the club. However, yoga without an aspect of faith and devotion to something bigger than our bodies and minds is not yoga. By definition, Yoga means ‘to yoke, or unite’. More specifically, yoga is a union of the small, invididual self and the universal Self (in Sanskrit, the Atman). This universal self includes all animate life forms.

The first step, the only step, in becoming rips is being able to offer our energy up to that personal concept of God. In fact, it’s our greatest purpose and key to unending happiness.

YS 1.23 Ishvara pranidhanad va

Through devotion and offering up our energy to the creative source from which we emerged, samadhi is attained.

Ishvara: our personal concept of God, creative source, consciousness

Pranidhanad: Giving our energy, the fruits of our practice up to the source

Va: or

Meaning of Ishvara: In the Upanishads, the word Īśvara is used to denote a state of collective consciousness. God is not a being that sits on a high pedestal beyond the sun, moon, and stars; God is actually the state of Ultimate Reality. But due to the lack of direct experience, God has been personified and given various names and forms by religions throughout the ages. When one expands one’s individual consciousness to the Universal Consciousness, it is called Self-realization, for the individual self has realized the unity of diversity, the very underlying principle, or Universal Self, beneath all forms and names. The great sages of the Upanishads avoid the confusions related to conceptions of God and encourage students to be honest and sincere in their quests for Self-realization. Upanishadic philosophy provides various methods for unfolding higher levels of truth and helps students to be able to unravel the mysteries of the individual and the universe. (from Swami Rama in the section What God Is from Enlightenment Without God)

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