Thomas Michael Fortel
is a longtime yoga practitioner/teacher, influenced by the Iyengar, Ashtanga, and Anusara styles of Hatha yoga, and drawing from his devotional experience in Bhakti yoga. He travels widely, sharing his love for yoga.
In many ways, our whole lives are a series of doorways and passages into new or forgotten ways of being. Over time, the practices of yoga can create a softening of habits and patterns, a clarifying of mind, and a gradual opening of the spiritual lotuses (chakras). All of this can lead us to an expanded field of awareness beyond our personal ego, and into a wellspring of lifeforce and our place in the ocean of consciousness.
One of the fundamental tenets of yoga philosophy is that every human being is, at the core, an expression of divine light and love. The yogis refer to this as the Supreme Self or Inner Self. Many of us glimpse this from time to time, yet a primary focus of our journey is to honestly address the physical, mental, and emotional heaviness which covers up our inner luminosity. This is a necessary paradigm shift as we move into a fuller expression of our true nature.
One of the great benefits of ongoing yoga practice is the development of our ability to pause, and to rest in the posture of observation: an inner state of conscious awareness. This can mean being in a place of deep relaxation, yet alert and aware as we observe our inner reality and outer environment. Yogically speaking, this occurs primarily through the practices of pranayama (conscious breathing), dyana (meditation), and asanas, the postures of yoga.