by Adrienne White, 300 hour yoga teacher training student
The Science of Beauty.. What is it?
When I started my business, Yoga Muse, I subtitled it "custom yoga" since my intention was, in a sea of different practices, to help people find their yoga. I didn't even realize that I was still searching for mine.
I went to Bali with the intention of completing my 500 hour certification, but I came home with so much more. I found a life philosophy that to me is so inspiring and practical as a path to a wonderful life. It is the science of beauty - the Hatha Yoga tradition of Sri Vidya, as presented by Zuna Yoga. Sri is defined as the essence of divinity or sublime beauty, and Vidya as knowledge or science - thus "the science of living the experience of sublime beauty".
This beauty is not outside ourselves, it is already a part of who we are. All we need to do is remember.
Beauty is not always pretty, and working hard is part of the program. There are seven steps outlined to create this beautiful life in the ancient yoga text, The Gheranda Samhita, which we spent time reading and discussing during our final week of yoga teacher training.
We had already been putting many of these steps into practice: purification, asana, bandhas, pratayahara (calmness), pranayama, dhyana (self realization), and working towards samadhi. Samadhi is the ultimate realization - there is nothing to achieve. I am complete and I share that completeness. I am perfection. I am sitting in the garden of my life and it has blossomed.
Discovering The Science of Beauty
So how does one get to that samadhi, that bliss? With our yoga, we can create the fires of transformation, building shakti (energy) for the power to fuel our work. Those who possess this fire go out in the world and do - but it's not quite as simple as just that.
This shakti has three parts: the wisdom to know what to do, the will power to do it, and the fortitude to follow through with the action. Yoga, pranayama, and meditation build these shaktis. I want as much of those three things as I can get, so I will do my practice.
After days and days of hard work, the final week seemed to come so quickly. Having had several days of pouring rain, we were very grateful for sunshine at the end. We cried many tears at having to say goodbye to each other. We had come together as strangers from all around the world, and left as fast friends.
Who else would understand the depth of the work we had done, the level at which we had bared our souls? I had arrived with the intention to go deep, but I had no idea how deep I would actually go. It was a free dive down, down, down the rabbit hole of my consciousness, my sense of self, and my understanding of yoga. I am forever changed.
Be Blissfully Present
I spent my last three days in Bali wandering the shops in the village of Ubud, and then in its jungly outskirts. I tried to stay fully in the moment of appreciation for these last stolen minutes of freedom ... not slipping into the strong pull of homesickness, as I was tempted to do. I practiced my yoga and stayed with the beauty of feeling each deep breath of the steamy Balinese air.
Too often we miss beautiful moments in life because of wishing we were doing or being something else. When we're in our everyday lives, we're wishing we were doing something "exciting," only to leave on an adventure and long for the comforts of home. It's a strange phenomenon of the human mind, when we allow ourselves to be unconscious. But I had worked hard the last five weeks to completely wake up and change my mind.
"Be here now," I reminded myself, so when I did return home, I could hug my family tight, telling them fully of every sight, every sound, and every taste of this magical place I'd been so lucky to briefly call home.
I will also tell them that we come into the world needing to learn life lessons before we can open into the secrets and beauty of who we are and the world we're in. Yoga is one path to learn those lessons. Every step we take can bring us closer to understanding who we truly are, or instead, is an opportunity to close our eyes. We are either becoming more conscious or less aware.
I choose to be awake to it all. I choose self remembrance. Once you open your eyes, you can't go back to not seeing. After all, why would you want to if your chosen path is this blissful science of beauty?