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Focus of the Month - August 2022

Dharma (धर्म) - Individual Order

written by Leonie & Marlene


saṁniyamyendriyagrāmaṁ sarvatra samabuddhayaḥ

te prāpnuvanti mām eva sarvabhūtahite ratāḥ


Those who are able to control their senses, have equanimity of mind and rejoice in contributing to the welfare of all creatures are dear to me. (translation, Winthrop Sargeant)

Bhagavad-Gītā, Ch. 12, v. 4


Have you ever asked yourself: What is my purpose? What is my vision for life? How can I be successful and at the same time content with what I do?

When we have a look at the Bhagavad-Gītā, Krishna reveals an important principle that may offer answers to our quest: the principle of Dharma. According to Krishna, there is a way of action that brings us freedom and ultimate fulfillment. This way of action is connected to our true nature. When our actions are motivated by Dharma, we act in line with the obligation that was given to us, in line with the universe. Acting in line with our Dharma, means acting passionately without creating suffering.

Each and every one of us has their own unique constitution, up-bringing, and inherent nature. When we seek to find our Dharma, we are asked to get to know ourselves deeply and to strip away layers of conditioning, social approvals and material attachments. When we look deep inside, are pure & honest with ourselves, we can find the seed that needs to be watered and create true and authentic dreams and goals,. Every human being has their own unique purpose, in order to meet this vocation, we can only be our true Self (Stephen Cope).


The central pillars of Karma Yoga (the path of action):

  • Look deeply at your Dharma.

  • Act in line with your Dharma.

  • Let go of the fruits of your actions.

  • Leave it to god.


There are many stories of people who followed their Dharma: great stories of writers, philosophers, environmentalists or scientists as well as stories of people who served the society by being a nurse, teacher or kinder-gardener. To get inspired by all these different stories, we deeply recommend the book 'The Great Work of your Life' by Stephen Cope.


Meditation is an essential part of our dharmic journey. Our thoughts are the seeds from which our actions grow. Getting to know our mind, its tendencies and patterns, and most importantly learning to direct the mind in a desired direction and using its potential to realize our true nature “I-AM'', can be one of the main undertakings of life. Many practices can lead closer to this realization, and yoga is one of them.

Yoga aligns our physical body, our thoughts and words with our hearts and may lead to actions with a deeper awareness and higher purpose. We may become more attracted to the idea of contributing to the welfare of others and living a life of service on our own path to freedom.

The mind often revolves around itself thinking: “What will make ME happy?”, “How can I earn more money?”, “How can I live a fulfilled romantic life?”

Yogic teachings invite us to broaden our horizon and let go of the ego mind by asking ourselves: “How do my actions in life ripple out?”, “What are my gifts that can be of service to others?”, “How can my actions be meaningful in this world?”

Meditation practice allows us to see the panorama of life, to notice where we are and where we want to go. Widening our perspective comes with time and a dedicated practice.

A lot of the time spent in meditation is about simply observing the thoughts. This alone can be a challenging experience, over time however, we get a better sense of the mindfield, become less reactive, and meditation can become a compass in life. We may start to reflect on whether our lives reflect our value. Eventually the mind will naturally move towards even deeper questions, such as Dharma.

As we transition through different stages in life we may have different Dharma. As a child, we have one dharma, being an adolescent – another, taking on a job or being a parent will mean another dharmic role. However, as we move on through the journey of life, the answers to our dharma (truth realization or satyadharma) can always be found inside of ourselves: our own innate wisdom, our own continuous encouragement, our own devotion, our own loving kindness and patience.

“The secret of all living life: The moment you are attached to the outcomes of your action, there is suffering.” - Ram Dass

“To do acts joyfully and lightly, we have to emerge fully in the act of doing, without clinging to what and how it comes out.” - Ram Dass


FIND YOUR DHARMA

Finding our dharma can be a lifelong task, yet when we practice meditation regularly, start to truly and honestly look inward, and let go of our societal roles we may find our so called “Inner Truth”, our hearts desires that go beyond all external expectations.


JOURNAL PROMPTS

Take your time to sit quietly with yourself and reflect on the following questions.

YOUR TRUTH

What makes me me? What are my quirks & specialties? What is my authentic gift that inspires others?

YOUR PURPOSE

What can I give or share? What is my gift that may help others or the world? How can my actions contribute to the happiness and freedom of all?


ON THE MAT

  1. Try to be fully present on your met and engaged with the practice (body, breath & mind), without being attached to the result or outcome.

  2. Prolong your meditation practice to ten minutes.

  3. Practice Pratyahara (sense withdrawal) with Shanmukhi mudra.

  4. Practice pranayama with Kumbhaka (breath retention).

  5. Contemplate on Pratyahara (sense withdrawal) and how it could reflect in your daily lives, e.g. reducing the use of media consumption, noise, conversation, etc.

  6. Practice loving kindness meditation using mantra Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

  7. Reflect on the obstacles on your yoga path

  8. Bring awareness to different obstacles coming up during a yoga sequence, e.g. an obstacle such as “fear” could arise in a sequence with emphasis on standing asanas, low self-esteem in a sequence emphasizing backbending asanas, etc.

THE STORY OF YOGA ON THE MOVE


To inspire you on your own journey of finding and following your Dharma, we would like to share our story of Yoga on the Move with you here.

Back in 2016, both of us, Marlene and Leonie, worked in corporate jobs in Berlin, sitting on desks all day long, feeling extremely disconnected to our bodies and not connected to the work that we were supposed to do. Without knowing each other, we both followed an inner calling to take a break from our jobs, travel to India and study Yoga in depth. And this is how our path crossed. In March 2017, Marlene being 23 and Leonie 25 years old, we met at our Yoga Teacher training in Goa, India. During this trip we discovered much more than we could have ever expected. Not only did we deepen our Yoga practice, but further we got to know ourselves on an entire new level and made a friendship that should change our lives. When we came back to Berlin in spring 2017, it only felt right to share the transformative practices and techniques of Yoga that changed our lives so profoundly with others. The most accessible way to do so was offering donation-based classes to our friends and friends-of-friends outside at Tempelhofer Feld and very soon the crowd at Tempelhof grew into a little community of people practicing yoga together under the blue sky. We really enjoyed teaching and when that summer came to an end, we continued our journey in our first indoor space, Kapelle am Urban in Kreuzberg. With this, for us back then, a big step, we changed the name of our project from 'Yoga im Grünen' into 'Yoga on the Move'. With the help of friends, we created our first yoga events - Yoga with live saxophone or Yoga with Piano at the chapel. In winter 2017, Dania, our first external teacher, joined the team, and after her more wonderful teachers followed and joined our small collective.

Dania, Franzi, Leonie, Marlene & Aleks in 2018

In 2018, we started to co-create larger events, workshops & festivals, gathering like‑minded people to share the passion of Yoga and move together for a mindful, conscious future, like at our Day Festival “Yoga for Future” in 2019 where we collected donations for the NGO "Ocean Now".

Also in 2019 we hosted our very first yoga retreat outside of Berlin at the magical Yurts in Grunewald and had the chance to spend a wholesome weekend with our community.

Like everyone, the pandemic also challenge us to rethink our offerings and to restructure what we focus on. We decided to make a dream come true & open our own yoga studio. With the help of many incredible friends we were able to open the doors of our new home base, the Shala, in October 2020.

In 2021, we hosted our very first 50h continuing education program (YACEP) and guided two groups of striving yoga teachers along their path. For 2022, our very first 200h training is planned to start in November.

During these five years of Yoga on the Move, we left our comfort zone almost all the time. Everything we did, we did for the first time, we were constantly learning and many times in doubt of ourselves and what we were doing. The biggest gift we had, was being a team, having each other with our different characters and potentials. Whenever one of us was in doubt or less energized, we were motivating each other to continue and not give up on our dream. The original intention behind our actions was always making the world a better place by sharing with others what has given us most in life - yoga.


YOU ARE INVITED

Sat, Aug 20 | Tempelhofer Feld, Berlin

5th Birthday Celebration: Free Community Yoga & Picknick

Join us on Tempelhofer Feld to celebrate Yoga on the Moves’ 5th birthday. We will share a yoga class, enjoy good food, have a kirtan and dance into the sunset. The event is donation-based!


Further reading:

“The Great Work of your Life” by Stephen Cope

“Encouraging Words” by Zen Master Guishan


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Beautiful article and great explanation of the 'Sva-dharma' - your own unique true nature, which when tapped into, cultivated and acted upon becomes 'Niskama karma' - action for its own sake - driven from the inside out... Dharma is a term used for values, duties, ethics, law, order, justice, custom, religion, nature, virtue, righteousness, ritauls, good character, good deeds and probably the most important one is Consciousness - the essence of all beings. /\

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