How Yoga Brings Us Into Consciousness

Silvia Mordini
How Yoga Brings Us Into Consciousness

Seeing how Frozen has captivated the minds and hearts of children (and adults!) worldwide, I think back to the story of Sleeping Beauty. As a little girl, I wasn’t so into Snow White: that story frightened me. Goldilocks was so different from me that I couldn’t relate. But Sleeping Beauty, I understood.

Without realizing it, I grew up trying my life as a version of Sleeping Beauty: I waited for my prince to come and kiss me awake, to get married, and, well, live happily ever after. As often happens, things didn’t quite go according to plan.

Even with a prince hero archetype, my problems remained or grew worse. The practice of yoga taught me that there is no prince, at least not in the sense of another person coming to make me happy, save me, and fix all my problems.

Instead, yoga psychology teaches us that we play both roles of the lover and the beloved. We are both the prince and Sleeping Beauty connected within the same self. And consciousness is this place of peaceful wholeness where yoga resides.

Matter, Awareness, and Consciousness

How does yoga work? Yoga kisses us awake. The poses aligned with breath serve to wake up our sleeping limbs and stir our awareness. We become fully integrated and conscious.

Matthew Remski, in his enlightening book Threads of Yoga puts it eloquently. “Matter produces and is known by consciousness; consciousness produces and is known by awareness. Consciousness can be seen by awareness.”

“But it is difficult for consciousness to be aware of itself seeing. When consciousness is still, it can become aware of itself. Consciousness is fulfilled when it warmly intermingles with matter and awareness. It delights in being seen.”

Waking Up from Living Half Unborn

In the Yoga Sutras Chapter 1.15, this “remembering the self” is known as Vairagya. Remembering is waking up to who we really are, and taking responsibility for how we want to live our lives. As Dr. William Holden writes in Be Happy, “Most of us live life half unborn.”

This is a straightforward way to phrase this same concept of matter, awareness, and consciousness. To make real, in other words, to manifest spiritual happiness, we must kiss ourselves awake. So right now, in this moment, what will it take to free up your life, to save yourself?

It is not too late—so long as we are breathing—to unite within ourselves the power of consciousness and awareness. Even Buddha said, “It doesn’t matter how long you have forgotten, only how soon you remember.” As for how much you’ve forgotten… Just let the poses tell you that during practice.

Starting today, let’s be more awake to every moment. You have the power to change your life!