Existence... what a loaded word. A word I contemplate, daydream about and meditate on end without any sort of conclusion. Looking to Vedic science and the art of living, or Ayurveda, I've learned the four aims to living a purposeful life and this studying has led me to compare my relationship to yoga with my relationship to the world.
We begin with dharma: our path, our truth. Artha is next, our security, our finances, our wealth and resources. Kama consists of our desires of body and pleasure. The fourth aim is moksha or liberation from the desires we cling to.
Ashtanga yoga was my dharma. It led me to Ayurveda. It led me to meditation. Eventually the practice led me to running away from my problems and trust my instinct to fly away to Byron Bay, Australia. To continue the yoga flow, but somewhere new - with someone else. My body was strong, my mind was sharp. My health increased but my mentality was confused. I misinterpreted wellness in the rules of my teacher and his teachers teacher. This thing that kept me on my mat turned grey and cloudy.
Ashtanga yoga opened my eyes to travel. To my confidence, to trust my gut even if I had no clear vision of what was to come. I formed a connection with the divine - that I would be taken care of no matter what. So long as I believed in love and continued to practice kindness to all. Once that kindness wasn't being gifted to myself, I knew I needed change. I found rest, I found my breath again, I found meditation in nature. I experienced Vipassana - the true essence of dharma.
After Ashtanga came my personal practice with yoga and meditation. I gained confidence in myself and started listening to my own voice. What my body craved, what postures would be nourishing and supporting and what asanas would not serve me. This confidence spread off my mat into my life. I didn't want to be a waitress. I always wanted to teach yoga but I never thought I could unless I made it repeatedly to Mysore, India. I did the unthinkable and enrolled in a yoga teacher training program and I've found the space that will create artha, a way to make money within an environment that supports my lifestyle, my goals and my health.
I desire more. More money, more attention, more travel, more experience. Kama, wanting pleasure from life. From little things like a hand crafted pour over coffee, even when it's double the price and double the time. From larger experiences, like mind blowing sex with someone you actually care to see again. Someone who equally desires your body, your taste, to know more, to dive deeper into a life together. Even when I lose myself in my work, find my element and feel high off fresh air and sunshine there will always be a place with greener grass.
To find liberation or moksha from these fleeting desires sounds nice in theory. But then what would be the point in living and experimenting and having fun and making mistakes? How would we learn if it weren't for the fact that we are shut down each time we think we've made a groundbreaking discovery into an enlightened life? Moksha can be simple - to relieve the sexual urge and go find a partner for the night, water can quench the desire of thirst, the alcohol can liberate the act of small talk and just grab him and dance. Lose yourself from yourself.
The four life aims aren't meant for losing yourself or letting go of inhibitions, but rather to live a life of purpose. That life full of resources to support your purpose. To have desires is the most natural urge, find healthy reliefs that can liberate those desires and keep experiencing, learning, growing and changing. Flow with Ayurveda and remember that we live moment to moment, inhale followed by an exhale... we must repeat in order to be alive. We must go back to our intuition, to our intention on what it means to live a fulfilling life.
"Learn, then go live your life." - Kyle Roberts (my wonderful Ayurveda teacher - learn more here: www.krveda.com)