When I first heard stories of Hindu mythology, I wondered what they had to do with me — or my yoga practice. Sure, they are action-packed with characters and excitement that draw you in, but my logical brain got stuck on the gods having 4 (or 6 or 12) arms, or the feasibility of a god being born from the sparks of another god’s eye. Lessons from my religious background were in direct conflict with the iconography. For a while, I kept the deities at arm’s length, not quite sure what to make of them.
But the more stories I heard, the more I started to enjoy them. Douglas Brooks, a gifted philosophy teacher, reminds us that “you are every character in the story — all of them are some feature of yourself.” When viewed through that lens, the stories came to life for me. I could identify with the different characters and their emotions. I could see opportunities for my own transformation, just like the characters in the myths.
Do I really believe that the moon got her phases when the elephant god, Ganesha, broke off his tusk and threw it at the moon, who was laughing at him? Or that Ganesha then used his broken tusk as a pen, serving as the scribe for the Mahabharata, one of the two great Sanskrit epics? The truth is, it doesn’t matter whether these stories are “real” or not. From Ganesha’s story, we are reminded:
The parts of ourselves that we believe to be broken can actually be our greatest offerings.
I am thrilled for two opportunities to share some of these wonderful stories with you. In Once Upon a Time: Myths to Inspire Your Practice, our on-the-mat practice each week will be inspired by a different character. And in Hamstrings & Hanuman, we’ll dive into the many wonderful stories of the monkey god, Hanuman. His courage and strength will inspire you to leap into your own greatness, on and off the mat.
Once Upon a Time: Myths to Inspire Your Practice
Willow Street Yoga Center (TP)
6-week special, beginning April 17
First class is FREE!
Hamstrings & Hanuman: Exceed Your Expectations!
Willow Street Yoga Center (SS)
Sunday, April 22, 2:30-4:30pm
For you, these myths may evoke a similar reaction to my early responses. I invite you to acknowledge those feelings, while stepping into something new. By exploring the myths, you can uncover the many facets of yourself and how you navigate the world, as these stories offer insight to inspire and inform your life. I hope you’ll join me!
Do you have a favorite story? Whether it inspires you, gives insight into your life, or just entertains, share it below!