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In yoga we find a lot of poses associated with or named after animals. This makes sense. Observing the natural world has long been known to inspire insight. I was recently inspired to think about other levels of inspiration, beyond just the physical poses, that come from observing animals in nature.

Baby-pouch-possessing animals (kangaroos, koalas, seahorses, etc.) are representations of a self watching an aspect of themselves in a sort of fractal sense. A self in a self, observing itself.

Temitope, Self-study (Svadyaya) in the Animal Kingdom

Ramana Maharshi’s famous work “Who Am I?” prods one to enquire “Who is doing the observing?” leading one down a pleasant rabbit hole of self-discovery. Sri Paramahansa Yogananda founded a profound movement, centered on realizing the self in ourselves (Self-Realization). Formally it is even codified In Pantajali’s 8 limbs of yoga as the sub limb of svadyaya/self-study.

Something to think about on every observed breath in asana.

By Temitope
Website: www.temitopeyoga.com

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