WORKSHOP: KRIYA YOGA: UNITING PRACTICE AND PURPOSE
What is yoga and how do we practice it? For what purpose? To each of these three questions, kriya is a big part of the answer. Like the word “yoga,” “kriya” is a verb, indicating action to be taken. The earliest definitions of yoga, the action that connects, are “skill in action,” and “equanimity.” So, we can say yoga is the skillful action that connects us in balance and harmony to the parts of our self and all that is. Therein lies the purpose. We are always acting. The questions are, what actions can I take that will be beneficial, not harmful, and which actions are mine to do? These are the questions the yoga texts seek to answer so that our practice constructively informs the way we live our lives.
As a psychologist-yoga therapist I hear people ask these questions all the time. Yoga practice helps us feel better, feel more capable, now what? How do we use that energy and capacity to live a life worth living that we can celebrate at the end? How do we know what is right to do and gain the courage to do it?
On a regular basis I turn to the deep well of yoga philosophy to guide and inspire me. I read, I listen to the teachers who have more knowledge than me, and I feel my own understanding awaken from somewhere deep inside of me. This is what I seek in my own turn to share.
In the yoga tradition, yoga philosophy and practice are inseparable. One informs the other just like the mind and body mutually influence each other in us. Yoga sutra 2.1 tells us that kriya yoga includes 3 parts: tapas, svadhaya, and Isvara pranidhana. In other words, kriya yoga requires effort, self-awareness, reflection and study, and a recognition that we are part of something much larger than ourselves.
In this day and age, as in every day and age, we need this wisdom and these tools. Join me as we explore the integration of ancient wisdom and modern practice to find our way to meaningful action.
Lisa Kaley-Isley, PhD, C-IAYT, E-RYT-500 Lisa Kaley-Isley is a clinical psychologist, yoga teacher, IAYT certified yoga therapist, and yoga educator. Lisa draws deeply on the wisdom and practices of both yoga and psychology. She integrates her experience in the two disciplines to provide personalised yoga therapy and to educate yoga therapists. Lisa was introduced to yoga in 1993 and it was love at first asana. Lisa is a long-term yoga student of Yogarupa Rod Styker of Para Yoga, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait of the Himalayan Institute. She studied yoga therapy with Gary Kraftsow of American Viniyoga. These traditions all influence her personal practice, teaching, and therapy. Lisa is initiated into the Sri Vidya tradition and is empowered to impart personalised practices to individuals who want to use yoga to promote their own growth, healing, and personal transformation. Lisa currently serves as a board member, tutor, supervisor, and mentor on the London based Yogacampus Yoga Therapy Diploma course. She is the Director of the Yogacampus Yoga Therapy Clinic, a student-training clinic providing affordable access to yoga therapy in London. Lisa’s specialty foci are development of the therapeutic alliance and adaption of yoga to foster mental health.