3 Forms of Freedom Through Yoga


It’s a great month for some freedom! Is it not? And what better way to explore your personal freedom this July than on your yoga mat with goodyoga.

It is not a coincidence that often the result of a yoga practice is a greater feeling of confidence, power, and freedom. Through the intimate exploration of mind and body, the practitioner breathes through a personal practice that strips away the outer critics and brings the “self” closer to home. This is the freedom that we seek.

Let us explore three concepts and their relationship to each other that help us work towards liberty:

1. Maya: Considered the mind-stuff or those mental attachments from which we are seekinig liberation. Memories, regrets, to-do lists, fears, anxieties, etc. are all created within our maya.

2. Aparigraha: The fifth yama (the first limb of raja yoga defined as moral restraints), asks us to embrace non-attachment. Through detaching from the mind-stuff and learning to live in the present moment, we begin to free ourselves from the things that cause our suffering.

3. Moksha: In yoga, moksha (otherwise known as kaivalya in the Sāmkhya tradition of yoga) is defined as a state of non-ego, where the ideas of self and our mental attachments melt away to leave acceptance of the true nature of our spirit and our oneness with the universe. Moksha is liberation and independence from ego and attachments that keep us deeply rooted to personal desires, past experiences, and our fears. These attachments are considered the origins of our suffering.

DISSOLVE maya = settle your mind
EMBRACE aparigraha = release from attachment
ACHIEVE moksha = be free

Our physical (asana) practice provides the foundation for exploring this progression. Our bodies become accustomed to certain patterns. These can be seen as our attachments. When our teachers ask us to move in a certain pattern that might be alien to our natural rhythms, emotional responses arise. These can be seen as the response of our maya. If we can practice non-attachment in these moments, allowing these new patterns to infiltrate our repetitive choices, a new perspective will emerge. Within this new perspective, freedom in movement and mobility and a greater balance between strength and flexibility, lends itself to a feeling of physical freedom.

When we see this progression in our bodies and recognize its benefits, how can we not consider that we hold equally as much power to investigate the many patterns of our mind?

Repetitive thought patterns of “I am not good enough,” or “I am not doing enough,” become our mental attachments to a culturally-initiated state of mind. Begin to notice these patterns and you can begin to dissolve them by thinking the opposite. You simply are good enough. You do just as much as you need to do. And maybe you will break your pattern, take a seat, and find freedom in a moment of perfect rest.

So, this Independence Day, join us for a freedom-filled yoga class to start your holiday. You might just find a little liberation in the end. Feel free to linger in savasana. You deserve it.