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Richard Freeman on Why We Practice Yoga

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IMG_2764“We may come to the practice to relax, or because our back is out of alignment, we feel frustrated, our knee hurts, or we just want a distraction.  As we continue, however, our reasons for returning to yoga begin to change.  We find that the practice solves our initial problems…  but then deeper problems… begin to reveal themselves…  until we finally realize that although we use our body to experience the yoga, the purpose of the practice is not to cure our ills or to meet our desires, nor is it about relaxation or stimulation…  Yoga is a path to undo the root of all types of misery through the direct experience of deep, clear, open awareness.  Ultimately we find that it is an attraction to the joy of this liberating experience that underlies all our other desires…”  — Richard Freeman in The Mirror of Yoga: Awakening the Intelligence of Body and Mind

Richard Freeman on Ashtanga Yoga

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IMG_2764“Ashtanga yoga, though familiar to some as strictly a series of postures accompanied by specific patterns of breathing and gazing, is actually the broad system of yoga that forms the context for posture and breathing practices. Ashtanga means eight limbs, implying that there are many different interrelated approaches within this school that are used to develop a laser-like focus of the mind. This focus is utilized to explore any and all physical and mental phenomena that arise in order to reveal that they are composites of their backgrounds and not anything separate or eternal. This revelation or insight leads the ashtanga practitioner on and on to deeper states of insight into the nature of the mind and the world, and eventually to liberation from conditioned existence.”  —  Richard Freeman in The Mirror of Yoga: Awakening the Intelligence of Body and Mind