Reblogs,  Yoga Philosophy

David Garrigues Asks: Do We Need The Beautiful Yoga Photo?

Yoga is about freedom. Being free means that you can enjoy everything around you without attachment. It means that nothing can make you less than who you are.  You are a radiant powerful manifestation of energy. The same energy that makes up the whole entire universe. We have forgotten this. Yoga is here to help us remember.

Part of freedom is being able to play in the world. It is knowing that what is around us does not define our experience, we define our experience. Yoga pictures have come under fire lately. They represent many things to many people. Just like our yoga practice, when negative emotions come up around the issue of yoga pictures, it is an opportunity to dig deeper.  Why does this picture bring up so many emotions negative or positive?  Can we simply view the beauty of the picture like we do the beauty of a flower?    Before I get a ton of e-mails saying I am oversimplifying the issue, I am. This is just a small part of it.   This is inner work. It is so easy to always be looking outside of us for a cross to carry.  I am saying go inside for just a moment and see. Check in. Look at your emotions around the picture and see where they are coming from.



Below is an excerpt from an article written by David Garrigues where he gives a fresh perspective on the whole yoga photo thing as it relates to non attachment. Go here for the full article

The need to know the highest order that is part of the supreme beauty is ever present within you. This must remain alive within you because your growth and learning depend on you being fed by images of beauty. And that is why, as an asana lover, you are drawn to form an ideal image and a yearning for expressing that image in each asana. Why else would you be so slow to tire of viewing the nearly endless stream of exotic and beautiful asana positions that people share with you by way of your various news feeds—even though it is likely that you will never personally achieve such extensive expressions of these positions?


It is because the image itself is necessary and inspiring, BUT during your practice it is also essential to remember that generally the final position that you so ardently want to do is an advanced position that requires the skilled performance of multiple baby steps leading up to that position.

You want to align yourself accurately and realistically along the progression that leads to this image. Lining up your efforts with the baby steps in the progression is the way to experience the ideal day by day as opposed to remaining continually soul starved, snared by the illusion posing as the ideal.  Because you can only behold Supreme Beauty and Order NOW, in the perfect unfolding of each moment, this experience is available to you instantly, at each step along the way.


Your efforts in practice are meant to feed the ideal images that you are shaping within your mind and body, and this maturation takes place nearly imperceptibly, little by little, day by day. Part of establishing yourself in the discipline, is learning to trust yourself each day to express the shape that perfectly expresses your developing sense of order and beauty. You are not aiming for a final, ideal reward that comes at the end in some distant, unattainable future.  But this process does include appreciating and absorbing the expressions of beauty that others create, and you do this without negatively attaching yourself and your efforts to these images.

Remember to elevate your yearning for the sublime knowledge to its highest expression as is symbolized in the famous image of the sacred flame that dwells in the cave of your heart center (anahata-unstruck). This brilliant flame never burns down, does not flicker or waver—is eternally steady and bright, it illuminates the entirety of the infinitely vast space within the cave. This light is a symbol for the light of intelligence that is born of viveka khayti, unceasing discriminative awareness.

View the full article here

Shanna Small has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga and studying the Yoga Sutras since 2001. She has studied in Mysore with Sharath Jois and is the Director of AYS Charlotte, a school for traditional Ashtanga in Charlotte NC. She has written for Yoga International and the Ashtanga Dispatch. Go here for more information on AYS Charlotte. For information on workshops, please e-mail

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