“In a single Hatha session, you pass through the entire cycle of reincarnation, … having been a tree, a locust, a child, a warrior, a corpse, and the entire cycle of creation, preservation and destruction.”
~ Swami Veda
The foundation of Animistic Yoga lies in the awareness that all things, big and small, animate and inanimate, visible and invisible, are infused with a communicative life-force. The term animism stems from the Latin word anima, which means breath, or soul. Animism is most likely one of humanity’s oldest forms of belief. Animistic principles are therefore the basic foundation of the modern Yoga movement, as our yogic ancestors acknowledged the omnipresence of the spiritual realm in all forms of life. Through the contemplation of nature, our ancestors have been able to create a link between the seen and the unseen. They have found ways to connect intimately with the spirit of the natural world that surrounds them, such as trees, rocks, animals and elements. Through the patient observation of the natural world, our ancestors became infused with spiritual awareness: from every shape-shifting cloud, a sense of impermanence; from every rock, a vision of stillness; from every river, an encouragement to surrender to the flow of life.
For the ancient ones, nature was the ultimate source of worship and revelation. Under the galactic shawl, our forbearers did vision quests; they sang, danced and prayed until reaching a complete dissolution of the ego and a full expansion of universal consciousness. In this non-dualistic state, our animistic tribal ancestors became vessels in which the nature of existence could pour its lessons. Infused with the teachings that nature generously provides to those who closely listen, our yogic and shamanic ancestors named specific postures and movements after the animals, elements, plants, symmetrical forms and deities that provided them with profound insight. Through their steady intention to connect with the source of life, the yogis and shamans were able to tap into their own inner landscape and give shape to the qualities that they were seeking to acquire from their natural surroundings, such as the clear vision of the Eagle, the primal life-force of the Serpent, and the creative power of the Sun. It is important to remember that the names of yogic asanas were not given randomly, as each asana became an en-trance to an alternate reality, and a link to connect with the underlying wisdom that is transmitted by the spirit of the posture.
The body is designed to adapt to its environment. By shaping the body into graceful geometrical forms that are inspired by the Earth, the body, mind and spirit become instruments that are in tune and ready to vibrate in harmony with the infinite symphony of life. Through the shape-shifting sculptures of yogic postures, the yogi becomes open to experiencing life from the inside –out and from the outside-in, until the illusion of separation fades into the light of a higher state of consciousness. The vision of Animistic Yoga is to awaken the mind to the non-ordinary realm of spirit, and to meet the needs of our modern existence to connect deeply with the whole of creation. In this state of Yoga, or union, ignorance is replaced by knowledge, illusion by wisdom, and greed by compassion for all sentient beings. Animistic Yoga is a path that is devoted to the restoration of harmony and peace within ourselves and on the Earth. It is a path that cultivates the seed of “Sat-Chit-Ananda”; truth, consciousness and bliss.
"Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher "
~ William Wordsworth
Focus and intention of Animistic Yoga
- to explore together each of the postures one by one; their spiritual meaning; their animistic wisdom; the symbols behind the physical alignment.
- to learn how to intimately connect with the spirit of each geometrical form.
- to share our vision and inspiration with clarity.
- to create rituals and to learn how to cultivate the power of prayer and intention in our yogic practice.
- to enter the realm of non-ordinary reality through the portals of Yoga: breath work, meditation, rituals, movement, creativity, dance and music.
- to develop a connection with the elements of nature.
- to cultivate an open mind, and to place our individual personality on the back seat of our inner journey so that spirit can manifest fully, without being choked by the ego’s pattern of control.
- to trust and nurture the creative power of intuition so that we can adapt naturally when our physical condition requires adjustment.
In Maryse's Animistic Yoga classes we are being invited and gently coaxed into exploring 'uncharted', and at the same time ancient primordial terrain: our innate but undeveloped connection with the world of movement and expression from the perspective of animals natural dignity, intelligence and sacredness. We investigate the essence of the natural world with which we are inextricably related, transmuting the mundane into the richly significant. Her class provides opportunity to share our perception and its interpretation freely, enriching our experience and allowing bonding as a group. It is yoga as I have never before experienced it.
~ Janet Monckton
For me, Animistic Yoga is truly a deep spiritual experience.
Maryse has an amazing ability to create a space that allows me to feel free to explore and express my inner self without feeling inhibited.
Animistic Yoga allows me to let go of the ego, and be more in touch with my primitive, instinctive self. Through the focused intention and meditation, I feel my connection and relationship within the unity of nature.
~ Kelly-Jo Greenwood
“I will cease to live as a self and will take as myself my fellow-creatures.”
~ Shanti Deva