Shamanism dates back, as far as we know, over 100,000 years. Maybe even longer?
Shamanism is the first form of spiritual practice.
Originating in Siberia, the word Shaman has a few translations. One of them being ‘The one who see’s in the dark’. Meaning the one who see’s things that most people don’t.
There is an on-going debate about how far yoga dates back to. Ranging from 5,000 years, to 10,000 years.
Personally, I believe yoga could be even older than this. Cave paintings of stick figures sitting in meditation poses have been discovered dating back to 500BC in India, but more discoveries are being made, each time getting older and older!
The word Yoga, mean to join, or to unite.
THE SHAMANISM / YOGA CONNECTION
Both shamanism and yoga are spiritual practices.
Both have a strong connection to our animal brothers and sisters – In Shamanism, there is the connection to our spirit animal, or power animal. In yoga, many of the poses are named after animals, eg. Cobra pose, camel pose, downward facing dog, crow pose.
The shamans were aware of many of many things that we associate more with yoga, such as the chakra system, the Kundalini energy and pranayama (breathing techniques), although different names are used.
However, shamanism and yoga both have very specific differences. The shaman is one who works to heal the tribe, or the community as well as deeply understanding oneself. The yogi is trying to achieve self realisation, that is to say, he or she is working on oneself to experience liberation and freedom from separateness.
SO, WHAT EXACTLY IS A SHAMANIC YOGI?
To be honest, I thought I’d made the term up. Early on in my work as a yoga teacher, I included stories and knowledge from the Shamans. This was my personal journey. I wasn’t aware others were doing to the same.
It wasn’t until around a year ago (2018) when I was researching to write an article about shamanism and yoga – I discovered the term shamanic yogi already existed.
On further research, it seems there are a lot of interpretations.
In my own practices, I use both yoga and shamanism.
As a teacher, I use yoga and shamanism, either independently or side-by-side depending on the need of the student.
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