"Yoga is freedom. It is love. It is pure, radiant, unobstructed joy. It is pure awareness, wide-awake and clear." ~Richard Freeman
Wow! That's quite a claim! But if you look deeper into the practice of yoga (the postures being only one aspect), you'll find Freeman's assertion to be in line with the definition and ultimate aim of the practice.
Please bear with me as I get a little philosophical: Yogic teachings maintain that the ground substance of our existence mentally is ease, peace and freedom, that these qualities are our true nature and that they become clear to us when we give ourselves the freedom to let go and become still. This is why yoga appeals to so many faith traditions; the teachings are essentially the same, however you define the qualities.
The practice of yoga involves attention to the subtleties, movements and forms of whatever is present, including our own thoughts and freedom. Freeman notes that not only does the practice ultimately free us from the fear of not knowing who we are, it frees us from presenting an inauthentic face to the world and from pretending to believe in things that we don't really know to be true.
Like most long-term practitioners, it's the physical practice that drew me in, but it's these teachings that keep me challenged both on and off the mat.
In a month that celebrates freedom that was not won in stillness, but in more presence than most of us can imagine, I wish you joy and presence in the journey of your own freedom, however you choose to define it.