Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Excavating your Dharma in the New Year

yogic philosophy
By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

The term "Dharma” is found in many of the eastern religions, including Hinduism and Buddhism. According to Hinduism, the various rights, laws, codes of conduct, familiar duties, and ways of behaving ethically in the world are all part of the energetic fabric that sustains and maintains the universe itself. The term "Dharma" is also often applied to the teachings of Buddhism. To live a dharmic life in this context refers to living life according to the Buddhist teachings of compassionate, ethical behavior. In many indigenous tribes around the world, the rituals, prayers and tribal responsibilities not only maintain the integrity of the community-at-large, but also help to sustain and maintain the functioning of the universe itself. 

At this point, you may be wondering what Dharma has to do with practicing Yoga? The concept of Dharma is woven throughout many of the classical Hindu texts, including texts specifically relating to Yoga practice, such as Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. The reason for this is that the goal of a sustained and committed practice of Yoga is intended to bring the Yoga practitioner into a state of oneness with the divine energy that underlies all of existence. This oneness with the divine energy is known as enlightenment. In order to be transformed through the practice of Yoga and approach a lighter state of peace and happiness, if not enlightenment itself, shedding old ways of being that maintain a sense of disharmony with one's own internal truth is imperative. 

When old ways of being in the world that do not support an ethical or dharmic way of living are released, a state of peace and happiness is much more accessible to a Yoga student or teacher. If you are in the process of trying to determine what your Dharma is in the world, identifying your own personal strengths, weaknesses and aptitudes is critical to the process of building a dharmic life. In addition, if you are considering a career change, in order to more closely align your own internal truth with the way that you earn a living in the world, clarifying your financial needs and goals is important. 



This can be quite tricky, of course - Especially if you have a family to support or have substantial financial obligations. Many spiritual seekers find it difficult to truly align their own internal sense of Dharma with their individual aptitudes and skills, while fully meeting their financial obligations. Working as a Yoga teacher can pose such a challenge. If you are considering studying to become a certified Yoga teacher, honestly appraising your own personal skills, interests and financial needs is an important first step to determining the feasibility of offering your service to the world by teaching Yoga classes.

If you do find that your heart and soul truly wants to serve the world by teaching Yoga to a variety of students, you may need to begin to streamline your monthly living expenses, so that you have the financial room to begin a new career. If you are unable to pursue a new full-time career at this time, you may wish to study to be a Yoga teacher through an online teacher-training program. In this way, you can master the skills to become a certified Yoga teacher at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home. 

Of course, there are literally thousands of ways to earn a dharmic living in the world. Ultimately, the very way that you hold yourself and interact with other people is the essence of moving in a dharmic way through the world. If you interact with other people in a compassionate, loving and patient way throughout the day, you are upholding the essential qualities of living a life of integrity, truth and ethical behavior, even if you are not financially able to earn a full-time living teaching Yoga at this time. The love, compassion and generosity that you show to others are the very essence of honoring the Yogic principal of Dharma on a daily basis.


Virginia Iversen, M.Ed, has been practicing and studying the art of Yoga for over twenty years. She lives in Woodstock, New York, where she works as a writer and an academic support specialist. She is currently accepting Yoga and health-related writing assignments and may be contacted at: enchantress108@gmail.com.

2 comments:

parvezbdjsr said...

To live a dharmic life in this context refers to living life according to the Buddhist teachings of compassionate, ethical behavior. Thanks for sharing this valuable article.

Mary Wilson said...

Ultimately, the way that you hold yourself and interact with other people is the essence of moving in a dharmic way through the world. Thanks for sharing this nice thought.