AXIS’ CORE BELIEFS AND VALUES
Core Belief #1: Depth and Substance Matters
SIMPLICITY VS. SENSATIONALISM
Yoga is now thoroughly mainstream. Yoga at the workplace, the gym, the studio, the park, and at the Recreation Center is such a wonderful thing! So many people have a positive outlet for taking care of their body, feeling renewed energy and some peace of mind.
Other permutation of yoga includes doing postures in a bar and drinking before hand, during or afterward, yoga with pets and livestock, “Rage Yoga” (think middle finger mudra), yoga plus chocolate, or yoga on horseback. Adding a unique spin on asana practice has increased the span of the practice and may provide some recreational enjoyment. However, it does not add further depth to the practice.
Experiencing levity and joy are a meaningful part of our journey on this Earth. However, amusement is ancillary to yoga’s deepest intent. According to ancient yogic texts, our ultimate purpose is to know ourselves at the deepest level.
The “drunken tree” pose and even “loving on a cute rabbit” while on a mat does not elevate yoga, but rather it obscures the intent. As my dear friend Lakshmi Nair, founder of the Satya Yoga Cooperative once wrote in her heart felt exposé, Why I Will Never Give Up on Yoga. “It is yoga that is being corrupted by the system, not the system that is being purified by yoga.”
The Eight Benefits of A Practice Rooted in Depth and Substance:
In my experience, there are many advantages to pursuing depth in yoga practice:
Benefit #1 – Clear Insight: Depth is the road less traveled. With depth comes new territory and insights. You will make discoveries (about yourself) that are beyond your current grasp. You’ll perceive more clearly what is real in the present moment.
Benefit #2 – Resonance: Regular practice transforms your values. You live in greater alignment with the higher version of yourself and start to reshape your destiny and we feel a greater resonance with life.
Benefit #3 – Contemplative Insight: The opposite of contemplative is mindless, or without proper consideration. Contemplative life is less reactive, more principled and considerate of others.
Benefit #4 – Liberating Self Expression: Depth gives us easier access to more wholesome and pleasurable pastimes like dancing, quality friendships, bonfires, music and songs, and meaningful talks. We laugh a lot in the training.
Benefit #5 – A Focused Mind: People struggle from dispersed energy. Whether it be advertising overload, impulsively picking up the phone, or just keeping up with the pace of modern life, the world is full of distractions. Yoga helps us to focus our mind and dedicate ourselves to a higher ideals such as prioritizing our health, or being a more loving parent.
Benefit #6 – Dispassion: Dispassion is conducive to peace. Also called non attachment, dispassion means that one has the capacity to let things go without undermining mental story or drama. We accept the presence of what is happening.
Dispassion is not the same as apathy or withholding compassion. Rather, one works toward the highest ideal and is not toppled over by unfulfilled expectations in the process.
Dispassion may seem like an alien concept in modern America. It could be interpreted as repressive, or even subversive. Dispassion is the rebellious act of living in the present moment and not being motivated by fear.
Benefit #7 – Limitless Potential: The path of yoga is all encompassing. Every thought, word and deed can be an expression of yoga. Our life process can guide us through our unique purpose on this earth and spiritual awakening.
Benefit #8 – The Greatest Treasure: Within each of us resides a limitless wellspring of peace. Unfettered by outer circumstance, our spiritual essence is our truest and highest wealth. It’s absolutely free and we can take it with us wherever we go at no charge.
CORE BELIEF #2: YOUR INNER LIFE MATTERS
The tide of our culture doesn’t have much regard for inner-life rather, we focus on outer accomplishments. A prolific advertising industry, an insatiable desire to increase the GDP, and worship of celebrity figures are all examples of a culture that emphasizes the external.
Our inner life is extremely important because it is the basis of our life experience; how we feel, what we think, and what we are able to see. Our thoughts and feelings are the visceral substance of our lives. What glasses do we view ourselves and others through? What color are the glasses and how accurate are they?
Through yoga, you can cultivate a rich inner life and foster seeds of change inside. Growing new seeds requires ongoing watering, and a willingness to do the unglamorous work of pulling out the weeds of discontent. Yoga philosophy, asana, pranayama and meditation accelerate the process of inner growth.
CORE BELIEF #3: A WELCOMING ENVIRONMENT MATTERS
Inclusivity at Axis – Axis deliberately fosters a welcoming environment where people from diverse social, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds feel secure enough to fully express themselves.
In the modern world of social media banter, having a place to authentically express oneself is a rare exception. At Axis, a group of diverse, yet like-minded seekers foster a welcoming environment in which to practice yoga and strive for higher ideals.
The Collective – We are capable of far more as a group than we are as individuals. Every member of the community provides a unique reflection to every other member of the tribe. The training is a celebration of human connection as everyone is uplifted by everyone else’s commitment to the process. Students have a safe space to exhale years of unconsciously accumulated stress while learning the timeless art of yoga.
Welcome in the World – This process is not confined to our immediate circle. Outside of the circle students work to integrate these higher ideals in their workplace, their parenting, or in any other place their heart and mind touches.
Those who go on to teach have the opportunity to instill similar values within their classes. In part, this is how the yoga movement was born. Teachers instill their particular love of yoga into one student at a time.
CORE BELIEF #4: ACCESSIBILITY MATTERS
Underground is a place for people who may not see themselves in established studios for many reasons including economic limitations. They may want to learn something that studios do not offer. Where do these people go?
Having relatively easy access to rich and meaningful content is one of the greatest blessings of my life. Much of what I’ve been provided was offered without charge, by donation, or in exchange for the service of karma yoga. My good fortune has left an impression on me and I feel that it is my duty to provide the same kind of service. Axis offers donation based workshops, retreats and affordable yoga teacher trainings.
CORE BELIEF #5: DEDICATED YOGA PRACTICE MATTERS
Doing intensive yoga training requires a dedicated effort and enjoining moments of grace and inspiration. Before people set out on their journey, they should appreciate how much time it will take. Other areas of their lives such as work or home will be impacted and their priorities will shift.
Generally, this is a very supportive and an uplifting process where students let go of unsupportive habits, dysfunctional jobs, or relationships. It can be the beginning of a new chapter in life. I also advise people against making radically impulsive changes – changes that come from a reactive rather than centered place.
Living into yogic principles and developing positive qualities is a gradual process. Like a tree reaching up to the canopy towards the light, yoga unfolds at an organic pace.
Once you have decided on a program, pace yourself through it. You are not going to complete every assignment perfectly, or retain all of the information. Continue to apply yourself as best you can and move at a sustainable rhythm.
Yoga gives us a map, a compass, and a route (the methodologies) by which to navigate the troubled waters of our lives into the highest version of ourselves.
CORE BELIEF #6: HONORING VETERAN TEACHERS
Veteran teachers walked the path on a daily basis. You can read more about our teachers here. Their commitment to yoga is expressed in the way that they think, speak, act, and practice. Over the course of decades, a metamorphic change has silently infused their lives.
A seasoned teacher has a responsibility to uphold the teachings and knows how to impart them to others. They are proficient in the techniques and know how to adapt them to the individual needs of a student. They help the student to see themselves more clearly and progress on the path – a path of lasting fulfillment and inner peace.