What exactly is dharmaKaya yoga? / by Cherryl Duncan

This Friday coming (the 9th June), I will be giving a talk as part of an online speaker series called Heal and Fuel.

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I’ve been preparing my talk this week, and delivering it on Friday is going to be a new and exciting experience for me, but what I am enjoying most about the process is that it forces me to very clearly define what it is that I do.

If I am to speak convincingly about yoga, and particularly my method of yoga, then I need to be very clear.

It sounds obvious, but when dharmaKaya was born, it was less ‘spark of divine inspiration’, and more practical necessity.

My style of teaching asana, and the philosophical content I was delivering was nothing that could be squeezed into any particular style, method, or philosophy I’d formally trained in.

It was rather an accumulation, integration, an all -encompassing mish mash of what I knew to be absolutely true, for me.

And it’s from that place that I am passionately committed to teaching from. In fact, authenticity is one of the anchors the method is based on, another topic I became especially committed to when I wrote Magnificently Real (Insert amazon link here)

So I gave my method a name and continued on my way.

Then things got a bit complicated and I found out that I needed to register and protect the name, and then an incredible thing happened in that other people wanted to learn the method too. So I started running teacher training programs and now we are a growing community of people evolving dharmaKaya together.

It’s very cool.

I have never claimed that dharmaKaya is a path to enlightenment. I do not know the path to enlightenment exactly, but I have learnt some pretty groovy practices along that way that have helped me develop incredible internal resilience and strength. I have overcome deep-rooted fears that allow me the courage to live a life with intensity and aliveness I never knew before finding yoga. My ability to be present, intuitive, empathetic, and available for connection is, I believe, directly related to the practices of mindfulness and meditation. And most importantly, I have changed the way I see the world, my perception is a constantly shifting process, one that goes deeper and deeper into the mystery; a mystery that is ultimately unknowable. Exactly the kind of challenge I’m up for,  one that you can never truly master. Because if we did know everything, if we had it all figured out, and understood everything, then there would be no more mystery, and to live without mystery, well, I just think that’s kind of dull. And yet, here I am, relentlessly pursuing truth with a belief that I’ll find it one day. The great paradox principle, my constant companion. Paradox, by the way, is another anchor, central to the dharmaKaya method and one of my favorites to teach. It stands in the face of pure dogma of absolute rights and wrongs and acknowledges the complexity of us as humans and the world around us. To play and accept that we are all things at once, contradicting often and true at the same time.

Having gone a little bit down the rabbit hole now, I realise how weird it is  now tell you that dharmaKaya is essentially about demystifying and harnessing the power of yoga. But it's true.  It’s about taking big ideas and making them simple and accessible. I use a lot of examples frommy own life, and from the lives of the people I work with as a way to inspire change in others. My life is often my message, my failures, my successes and my insights. I do not claim to know more than anyone else, I just share what I do know to be true- even it’s a very very small truth and that’s something.

I use the technology of Master Patanajali as part of the method because it makes sense, it has a logic I can appreciate and a practical set of tools that can have a powerful impact to raise states of consciousness. But, while I think it’s an incredibly useful text, I do not think it is the only source, the greatest source or the ultimate truth. But the technology works and I use it often in my teachings as part of the method.

Mindfulness is another of the important anchors of the method, a simple but powerful tool to be in the present moment.

I believe strongly in taking responsibility for our own lives and believe that we’re ultimately responsible, at least for the most part, for the lives we create and the last big point of the dharmaKaya method is a belief in self. I encourage students to develop their own personal and real relationship with consciousness. I do not believe this is anything anyone else can do for us and I certainly don’t believe that a guru is essential to gain access to these different states of being.

These principles are at the heart of the method and show up in every class in one form or another.

I use them in my coaching sessions, my yoga classes, my mindfulness trainings and of course we go very deeply into them in my teacher training programs.

For more information on booking a private session or signing up for a training visit www.cherrylduncan.com

The yoga practice itself can be described as a slow, challenging sequence of poses that flow into each other, with some long holds towards the end.

It is suitable for all levels – slow enough for beginners, challenging enough for advanced practitioners.

My talk on Friday will summarize the 5 anchors of dharmaKaya yoga but will speak more to using it on a practical day to day basis.

Looking forward to connecting you in whichever way we will.