Yoga is a Continuum of Theory and Practice


Part 6 of “How do you Qualify Yoga?”; this should have been Part 5. I accidentally skipped a section… Oops

We will, ultimately, put this whole series on its own page in the menu bar. In addition to guest contributors, we’ll be moving older post into pages that can more easily be accessed for future reading.

This is probably my favorite post in this series. It reminds me of a quote I learned almost twenty years ago, when I was a member of Siddha Yoga, “Muktananda, put down the book and meditate”.

We live in an amazing time where information is accessible instantaneously. If you’re like me, attachments are a real issue, a hindrance as the Buddhist described them, even attachment to more “knowledge”. I can easily find myself listening to an audiobook during my commute, taking numerous workshops, and trying out new techniques.

It’s not that this is wrong–it’s simply that it is, according to Ma Tri, “mere knowledge”.  Furthermore, the quest for acquisition is insatiable–whether it is material or intellectual.

According to the Yoga Sutra 1.7, there are three ways of gathering correct knowledge, “…there are three ways of gaining correct knowledge (pramana): 1) perception, 2) inference, and 3) testimony or verbal communication from others who have knowledge”.

Swami J goes further to explain, “…you should not believe what you hear, but should seek direct experience… The second part is that of reasoning, whereby you want that experience to be understood in the light of your own inference or reasoning. The third part is that you seek the validation through some respected authority or testimony [scripture]… When you can get these three to converge, meaning that experience, reasoning, and authoritative validation all agree with one another, then you know, and you know that you know…”

Swami J draws a metaphor of Yoga Meditation and mastery of an instrument.  A virtuoso knows the technique and theory; but, the also play from the heart.

My teacher will often appear cryptic when I ask a question, recently, when I was perplexed he said, “You’ll find it in the light of Atman”.  In other words, I needed to go inside–I am the one I am seeking after all.

Swami Rama described us scientists and encouraged us to “experiment” on ourselves.

The Buddha famously explained, his path was working for him.  But, if it doesn’t work for you, don’t do it.

But, how will you know if you don’t go inside–often?

3 thoughts on “Yoga is a Continuum of Theory and Practice

  1. I know nothing except what I personally experience. I cannot base my reality on anyone else’s experiences. I am grateful to all who come before us and give us unlimited possibilities to explore, but ultimately, it is my journey… my path… my experiences… that create my reality and my spiritual connection to source. I know what is true for me. Meditation is a channel that connects me to source. And I delight in it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My thoughts exactly. Check out my old post, I am not a Yoga teacher. No one can teach experience. There are guides. Infinite guides. Ultimately, we must surrender.


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