Yoga Philosophy: Impermanence and Constant Change

One insight into 200 Hours Yoga Teacher Training Philosophy

There are wonderful pictures coming to us of our galaxy, and of many others, from the Hubble space telescope. So many stars, probably also many, many planets. It looks serene and beautiful. It’s easy to forget that these things are changing: all those stars are burning, but they will go out and new ones will form. The pictures we see seem to capture a timeless and unchanging scene. In fact, the universe is a process, and everything in it is changing all the time.

man looking at starry sky, yoga philosophy, the universe is ever changing

Closer to home – think of our planet. Geologists tell us of giant tectonic plates: huge rock structures that form our continents and countries. They say these shift, pulling apart and colliding as time goes by. It’s certain that they will tear the world as we know it apart at some point in the future, as they have many times in the past. It’s not an act of God when earthquakes strike – they’re just doing what tectonic plates do.

It’s the same with our weather systems. They do weather, which of course is increasingly calamitous. On a smaller scale, think of local car traffic. Cars, buses and lorries are moving constantly. The pattern changes literally all the time, controlled by automatic systems. Local effects can make us late just when we need it least. We might feel like the world has it in for us at times like that, but it’s just traffic being traffic.

mountains and sea, weather is everchanging, yoga philosphy, change visible in the universe

Think of all the other processes that together create the landscape of our lives. Petrol and electricity have to be made and distributed – food also, constantly being refreshed in our stores. Clothes and other goods just appear when we need them but each has a history and a future: everything we make and buy will have a useful life and then move on to recycling or landfill. Even in landfill, it’s not gone, but slowly breaking down.*

It feels like the world is in chaos at the moment. I feel this is because fundamental processes have been interrupted. We were never educated to understand that everything in our lives is process: instead, there is an assumption of permanence. It probably goes back to our language systems: because everything changes all the time, everything is a verb. Yet we say that names are nouns, as if there is something other than change going on. When we feel like the world is in chaos, it’s because the world is in chaos and always has been. How else can we describe a vast number of processes all running concurrently, all doing different things?

man writing on board, yoga philosophy, the processes that make up the landscape of our lives

If that were true, then how could we have any stability? How could there be a centrally-heated home to return to, with food in the cupboards, etc? The answer is that living beings have perception. They see themselves as an individual part of what’s going on. They carry a model of the world in relation to themselves. They take in information through their senses,
correlating it with their internal model, to create a sense of order where there is none. It’s absolutely artificial, but it will work for a lifetime, every time. Sometimes it works great, and they live long and well. Sometimes things don’t go so well. But for the time they are around, it’s all they’ve got.

woman taking a yoga class, yoga philosophy, perception gives us stability

This is where Yoga comes in, and it’s why a human birth is seen as special. Humans have the self-reflective capacity to understand that the world is actually a set of chaotic processes, and that any order we see is entirely pretend (useful, but pretend). Realising that we’re basically dreaming all the time is the awakening process. Life imitates art: anyone who has seen The Matrix will see a striking parallel in that story.

Yogafurie Academy’s Yoga and Hot Yoga Teacher Training program in Bristol is committed to a full transmission of Yoga’s philosophical framework. We make it practical, bringing the ideas into everyday relevance through our understanding of Yoga practices, particularly those of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. These are important ideas, but an idea on its own is pretty useless unless it can be explored and applied practically, in everyday life. Yogafurie Academy’s 200 hour Teacher Training course introduces these key concepts in an accessible way. We show students how to apply the concepts in their own practice, and in designing practices and classes for other people.

woman writing, understandng yoga practices, Hatha Yoga Pradipika

There is a particularly beautiful conclusion to the philosophy. Nature is energy, and she is absolutely free. Everything is created, and reused, eternally by the magic of her process. Because she is free, it is entirely undirected. Perception is consciousness. He is all-seeing in this moment knows every moment to come. As the essence of knowledge, he is absolutely powerless to act. Tantra teaches us that these cosmic energies are in fact in love. Shakti (female energy) would say: “Without you, I am chaos”. Shiva (male knowledge) would say: “Without you, I can do nothing”. They need each other, and rejoice in making each other whole by creating this and every moment together.

lady smiling, perception in consciousness, yoga philosophy

At Yogafurie in Bristol, we help trainees to understand this, and to use these principles in movement, breath and meditation. Whatever the method, students learn to be present (concentrate). By calming and eventually stabilising the mind in stillness, we dissolve back into this moment. Our 200 hour Yoga training provides a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training manual pdf as a resource to keep throughout and after the course.

Would you like to learn more about our 200 hour Teacher Training classes? Get in touch with us using the contact form on this page, send us an email, or call us any time.

*Did you know that landfill has been mined for resources for some time? This is expected to be a major industry in the future.

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