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  • Guest Post: Mary Reese Folger on Yoga as a Vehicle for Transformation

    Mary has been teaching at OWY since the beginning.  Over the past 5 years she has been steadily working toward her Introductory I / II Iyengar Yoga certification .  She is now the only Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher (CIYT) between Lorain County and Michigan.  We're happy to have her offering Iyengar's detail alignment-based classes at OWY. 

    Yoga as a Vehicle for Transformation

    Mary Reese Folger in Revolved Side Angle Pose

    As I contemplate my relationship with yoga, I realize that yoga has me much more than I have it. Yoga has pulled me into its realm in a way that at times still puzzles me.

    One of my favorite definitions of yoga is from the Rig Veda (written around the 15th century BCE) and describes yoga as a chariot that transports to the heavens, a hero who died on the battlefield. When the chariot pierces the sun, the hero is transformed into a divine being.

    Inherent in this definition are the ideas of yoga as a path or process and yoga as a state of being. 

    The path of yoga is practice - disciplined action in the personal, interpersonal, and transpersonal realms. We practice yoga on the mat in our poses, our breath work, and in remaining present.  We practice in the ethical realms of individual and social behavior. We practice in the personal and transpersonal realms of concentration, meditation, and absorption.

    Yoga is also a state of being, a present state of wholeness as well as a goal of being one with all that is.

    I think that yoga has pulled me into its realm because in its dual nature of path and state of being, it provides an avenue to explore, experience, and develop some of the core passions of my life. These passions include a search for and experience of the Essential Self, the evolution of consciousness, and the idea that the leading edge of the evolution of consciousness is in the collective. 

    Each limb of yoga (yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyhara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi), when practiced to its fullest capacity, leads one to the Essential Self. But also, each limb of yoga leads to the next limb, evolving to deeper and broader experiences and expressions of consciousness. And finally, as we practice yoga together, we generate a collective energy which is greater than one’s solitary energy. 

    So in a very grounded, embodied way, yoga provides a vehicle for further evolution and transformation. I am grateful to share this vehicle with all of you.

    Mary Reese Folger in a bound half-lotus twist