There are many meanings found in names and symbols. Often, their roots are the result of some personal insight or archetypal recognition that transforms something simple into something profound. This can happen on an individual level, or if the meanings strike a wider cord and the timing is right, at the level of an entire generation.
Simply, LEVITYoga™ is a way to relate to the practice of yoga where we avoid taking ourselves too seriously. Where we are open to finding humor in our practice in the most refreshing and enlightening ways, and through the practice of yoga with LEVITY in the heart, mind and body, its effect on our nervous system and immune system allows our natural healing forces to work more efficiently.
For those who teach LEVITYoga™, our goal is to create simple language for communicating general principles so those who practice and study can connect with themselves in an authentic way – not from a place imposed by a rigid technique, script, or series of movements, but through a re-discovery of our own intuition. With subtle encouragement during classes or in trainings, students can “stretch” into the intuitive parts of their mind, and re-establish confidence in personal discretion – the ability to make appropriate choices in how we move, how we think, and how we relate to ourselves and others.
The standard definition of LEVITY is “1. lightness of mind, character, or behavior; lack of appropriate seriousness or earnestness; 2. lightness in weight.”. This meaning implies that LEVITY operates both psychologically and physically, and so perfectly describes the effects found within this style of practice. As a term, “LEVITYoga™” describes with a single word a style of yoga practice, and a broader approach we find when are engaged in life off our mats. It will also allow those who practice or teach yoga with the principles of Gravity & Grace, a convenient way to name the yoga they identify with, and with a little bit of study, also help new students of LEVITYoga™ recognize the differences they experience from other styles of yoga offered in the modern yoga marketplace.
Gravity & Grace™
The terms “Gravity & Grace” were initially used to describe this style of yoga. They each define two similar elements found in nature that create forces of attraction – one physical and one non-physical – that are “seeds” which support and initiate movement in yoga, and provide a safe and enjoyable way to practice, at whatever stage of life or skill level. LEVITYoga™ founder Peter Sterios discovered this way of practicing during his personal healing journey using yoga to recuperate from a variety of sports-related injuries, and the physical and psychological challenges they created. Employing the forces of Gravity & Grace helped him develop a truly personal practice designed to release unwanted patterns of contraction in the body – physically, mentally, and emotionally, and produce a refreshing lightness of being. With years of personal experience using the Practice Principles of Gravity & Grace, and seeing it manifest a remarkable lightness of being in many of his students, Peter came across the word LEVITY and a spontaneous insight was revealed to him how this new word would help describe a new and personal way of relating to yoga.
Why the dragonfly symbol?
The dragonfly is the perfect icon for LEVITYoga™. In many parts of the world, the dragonfly symbolizes change – in the sense of self-transformation/realization, and elegance – by its appearance of gravity-defying flight with an awe-inspiring lightness. LEVITYoga has both – the ability to transform and realize our practice and life from an intuitive place; and pure elegance in the way we relate to ourselves, in terms of movement powered by presence, surrender, and grace.
Natural Beauty, Joy, and Raw Power
The dragonfly’s agile flight and its ability to move in all six directions exude a sense of power and poise – something that comes only with age and maturity. The dragonfly can move at an amazing 45 miles an hour, hover like a helicopter, fly backwards like a hummingbird, fly straight up, down and on either side. More astonishing is the fact that it can do this while flapping its wings a mere 30 times a minute, while mosquitoes and houseflies need to flap their wings 600 and 1000 times a minute respectively.
How the dragonfly accomplishes its objectives with utmost simplicity, effectiveness and if you look at its proportions, with 20 times as much power in each of its wing strokes when compared to the other insects, is breathtaking. Witnessing the dragonfly gives us a hint at the grace movement produced through minimal effort is capable of, and reflects the perfect display of natural beauty, joy, and raw power – qualities present in the practice of LEVITYoga™.
Living in the Moment
The dragonfly lives most of its life as a wingless nymph. It flies only for a fraction of its life and usually not more than a few months. The adult dragonfly lives its life in these few months and leaves nothing to be desired. This style of life symbolizes and exemplifies the virtue of living in the moment and living life to the fullest. By living in the moment you are aware of whom you are, where you are, what you are doing, what you want, what you don’t, and confident in making informed choices on a moment-to-moment basis. This ability lets you live your life with light-heartedness and without regrets.
Opening Our Eyes
The eyes of the dragonfly are one of its most amazing and exhilarating elements. Given almost 80% of the insect’s brainpower is dedicated to its sight and the fact that it can see in all 360 degrees around it, it symbolizes the uninhibited vision of the mind and the ability to see beyond the limitations of ordinary human existence. It also symbolizes our ability to rise from the materialistic view of the world to see beyond the physical realms into the vastness of the subtle realms, and the infinite mystery and power found within ourselves and the universe we inhabit.
All of these attributes can be found and experienced in the practice principles of LEVITYoga™.