The seeds from Krishnamacharya’s and Desikachar’s teachings on Haṭha Yoga are best rooted through a personal home practice by:
By prioritising the twin aspects within a joint commitment to learn both Haṭha Yoga practice techniques and Haṭha Yoga practice theory. The intended outcome of this two pronged approach is engaging in learning how to practice, rather than just learning what to practice.
“Yoga must be adapted to an individuals needs,
expectations and possibilities,
rather than adapting an individuals needs,
expectations and possibilities to Yoga.”
This means learning to engage with the process of what it means to have a personal Yoga practice alongside engaging learning to study the theory of the component principles that underpin what constitutes creating and sustaining a personalised Yoga practice.
“Some are satisfied with what Āsana brings them.
Others are curious as to where Āsana can take them.”
These twin aspects of the arts of Yoga practice techniques and Yoga practice theory support our being able to independently and intelligently choose, adapt and ultimately self-develop and self-refine our personal Yoga Sādhana.
“The more you are able to practice,
the more you feel able to practice.
The less you are able to practice,
the less you feel able to practice.”
This can be compared to learning to embrace and cultivate a relationship with any Art, such as learning the piano. Here our relationship with the art also depends on both cultivating the skill of making time on the mat, or in this case stool, alongside making time for learning the theory of how to play the piano and learning the theory of music itself.
“Cultivating a home Yoga practice
presents an obstacle to a solution.
Maintaining a home Yoga practice
presents a solution to an obstacle.”
With a commitment to a relationship with both aspects of Yoga practice and theory our personal skill and practice independence can truly bloom. Also, as our personal practice evolves, it impacts on our self-esteem and self confidence within other areas of our being with its many layers ranging over food, energy, mind and emotions.
This implies that we need to initiate and establish a consistent, personalised and developmental home Yoga practice rather than just relying on attending a Yoga Studio generalised, multi-level, multi-styled, teacher led, often palliative, sometimes pushy, group class seeking a Yoga experience.
“Our Yoga practice needs to evolve,
amongst other longer term unfoldings,
towards a live-in personalised relationship,
rather than just a go-out group class affair.”
For this process to become grounded and bloom the support of a personal teacher is invaluable. Here time can be given to exploring your needs and develop a practice appropriate to your personal interests, current lifestyle, future potentials and ongoing and changing commitments.
This means we need to engage with the issues that could get in the way of making time to actually put into practice what we have learnt. Otherwise it would be like having piano lessons and then not doing any practice between lessons, where eventually every meeting becomes as if week one, albeit with slight variations.
“Yoga Sādhana is about what grows out of
practising alone amidst the inside at home, rather
than practising with others amidst the outside in class.”
I feel personally these are factors which can often drive students to look for stimulus from the latest new Yoga studio, or a new variety of class, or style, or even teacher, rather than engage with the issues which can drive us to search without rather than look within for resolution of the issues, or perhaps life anxieties that can underpin the issues that brought us to Yoga in the first place.
“In its beginning stages it’s about
our practice supporting our life.
In its maturing stages it’s about
our life supporting our practice.”
Inevitably, as with learning the piano, our interest and development could become stymied, if not stagnant, if we do not engage with the internal processes that inhibit us from realising what we had wanted from taking up the practice of Yoga. This is the true meaning of Sādhana, how to find the means to intervene, whatever the obstacles.
“The viniyoga of Yoga describes a process
rather than just a collection of techniques.”