People always tell you to learn from your experiences. But should we be relying on our past for bettering our future. Do we need to look back every time we take a step forward? The question of what we really learn from our past experiences leads to an understanding of what such an “Experience” is in truth.

The Sanskrit “Anubhav” (Experience) means the existence of an identity. In spirituality, our existence consists of four levels. In the context of yoga teacher training, we delve into these below.

Manas (Mind)

The surface of our personality or the exterior part of our existence, the contact between you and the rest of the world. The mind is like an ocean in which waves are created when we interact with our environment, the people, and the things around.

Buddhi (Intellect)

Buddhi is the next level which actually has an ability to act upon the inputs the mind receive from the outside through the power of discrimination. From the several inputs the intellect chooses one and makes it happen. In its purest form, Intellect is the wisdom that the wise and sages talk about. The “Viveka” that all scriptures praise at length.

Chitta (Memory):

Chitta is the storehouse of the Karmas – millions of memories from several lifetimes. Every action be it mental/emotional/physical come with intense feelings and emotions attached. This is called a karma which in turn is stored in the chitta as samskaras.

This chitta plays a very crucial role in how intellect works and the condition of the mind. It is a very subtle level of existence. Apart from the mind and Intellect previously described, whatever feeling you have reflects the Chitta level of existence in you. Recognising the chitta in yourself is far more powerful than mind or intellect. And it’s very interesting to note that chitta is the actual guiding light in yoga teacher training for most of the people.

Ahamkara (Ego):

Ahamkara in sanskrit means the ‘shape of I’ (Ego). This manifestation of “I” in us is the basis of our reality as we perceive it. This duality or the world as we see it has its root in this Ahamkara. We have to understand that this is that which separates us from everything else. You perceive yourself different on the basis of Ahamkara.

If one’s Ahamkara dissipates or vanishes, you won’t be able to differentiate yourself from others. It is that which represents your soul in a way. As the spiritual leaders say, Ahamkara is the Individual soul that forms part of the universal soul or god.

Our overall experience consists of these 4 levels of existence. Whatever experience that we go through in our life results from various permutation and combination of our awareness in these various levels. Yoga is the tool we can use to traverse from one level to another and attain higher levels of existence. There are different kinds of yoga’s to manage and experience the different levels of existence.