We are open to spiritual teachings from all disciplines, but these are the core philosophies we teach from:
A state of being where nothing is missing - Unification with the Universe
Yoga is often translated as ‘union’. This derives from the word ‘yoke’, the tool that joins two horses together to pull a cart.
Unification with the Universe is inescapable. However high you jump, however much of a bad mood you are in, you are still part of the Universe. So that part is easy.
But if we are already unified, then why do we need yoga?
Part of the human condition is thinking that we are separate. Our habit is to imagine “if everything was just a little bit more the way my ego would like it, then I would be in a state of being where nothing is missing.”
The yogis recognised the problem with this thinking; there is ALWAYS something missing. Grasping for things in our external world is never going to quench our thirst for long, and in turn it causes our suffering.
In moments we may temporarily get a taste of bliss, but it's fleeting and circumstantial.
The yogis wanted nothing less than continual contentment.
They realised that all experiences of disconnection and discontentment, (this sense of ‘missing something’) stemmed from the mind. So they set out to find ways to reduce the mind’s fluctuations and the states which cause us suffering. After much trial and error, they concluded that we must perceive the ‘Truth’ (ie that we ARE one with the universe), and learn how to change our consciousness towards that truth. And that there is an expanding force of love in the Universe that is beyond fluctuation.
All of the practices of yoga are designed to show you where you are identifying with what is not ‘True’.Ie where you are identifying with what fluctuates and external aspects which are subject to change. It teaches us how to let go of that identification with 'illusion' and how to move towards the state of being where nothing is missing. Bliss.
The easiest, the fast and the sweetest Yoga
Bhakti yoga is most often referred to as the yoga of love and devotion. This love is for a God (Higher Power) of your own understanding and the devotion to aligning your thoughts, words and actions with that mystical, loving, creative, energy.
With devotion often comes a willingness to surrender parts of ourselves that seem to be misaligned with that energy. Parts of ourselves still contain some resentment or bitterness, some hostility and judgmentalness. Offering up these parts of ourselves to a Higher Power shows an understanding that things can be different and that the mystical, loving, creative, energy feels wholesome and desirable. We wish to be closer to it rather than further away from it.
Surrendering our ego’s resentments and chanting devotional mantras can bring up resistance for some people. But with a little Self-inquiry and contemplation of the bigger picture, we (and the other Bhakti yogis) believe that this practice is the simplest and sweetest way to reach Yoga.
Non-Dual (not two)
Humble Warrior derives from the Advaita Vedanta traditions (a non-dual experience of the Universe). This approach allows the practitioner to see the Divinity in all people, places and things. The advanced practitioner can see God in everything, from the biggest, brightest star to the smallest atom. Every single thing is part of the Universe doing its mesmerising dance, including us humans (whether you judge it to be right or wrong/ whether things are going your way or not, the universe's dance to be pleasing or not pleasing). When we concern ourselves with the rights and wrongs and shoulds and shouldn’t, we are putting our understanding of the Universe at the same level as the energy that created it. That's some big boots to fill. If we can understand that things are the way they are, and to see God in everything then we develop the ability to act with love, even if things are not the way our ego would have designed them.
Advaita Vedanta concluded that only consciousness is ‘Real’ and that the material world is to be taken with a lighter understanding. This ‘Real’ consciousness is the mystical, loving, creative, energy (God), and it is who we are. This consciousness does not change and therefore can be defined as ‘Real’. Concluding that what does change is ‘Unreal’. When we see the unchanging Reality, we see God. When we perceive that which changes to be ‘real’ we create suffering, as it will change on us and let us down. When we identify with the unchanging we are in bliss.
When the Truth is revealed to us through simple Self-reflective practises and some mind-expanding techniques such as chanting, meditation, prayer and selfless service we experience the unchanging consciousness within. Once a stable connection with that state is acquired, all that’s left to do is love and be devoted to the Universe/God. All other transitory experiences fade into insignificance and we have a handle on bliss that is by far more fulfilling than any temporary sensory experience that can be had. Not to say we don't yearn for them or sometimes even enjoy them. We just know that it will not give us the salvation that the ego tells us it will give. We can then make an informed decision as to whether to pursue the experience or not.
While we still believe that Yoga (a state of being where nothing is missing) can be maintained in the material/ changing world we are still in Maya (illusion, ignorance). But by all means, don't take our word for it. Try it out. See if you can maintain Yoga through sense pleasures.
If you can, you have something to teach us. If you can't, we might have something to teach you.
The conclusion of the Vedas
Vedanta is a philosophical understanding of the nature of everything. Vedanta originates from the Vedic texts and more specifically the Upanishads. ‘Vedant’ means ‘the end’ or the conclusion to the Vedic philosophies. The conclusion that is brought forward is that everything is Brahman/God (the energy behind everything). Brahman is without form and pervades everything, it is the Supreme, Absolute, Reality. Vedanta goes beyond religion as it incorporates all of them and rejects nothing, knowing it all to be Brahman/God. Understanding this concept removes all suffering and all separation as the aspirant only sees God everywhere.
The main obstacle to this realisation is ahamkara (ego). Attachment to ideas about yourself or how things are. "I know best, my opinions are correct, you are wrong or ignorant, everyone should follow what I say." This sort of talk or energy from someone suggests they may still have an attachment to their ego. While they are still attached to the story they will struggle to find out the unchanging nature of Reality/Brahman. They are not at fault. It may not be their intention to know. We can wish them well all the same as the Vedantian sees straight through the ego to witness the Godliness as they are presenting themselves.