Welcome Hૐ

On Wednesday, I wrote that poses aren’t yoga like a hammer isn’t a house.

Yesterday, I wrote that yoga is a common, ordinary, everyday experience.  Those last two words were the original inspiration for the name of this blog.  Everyday (common, ordinary) yoga.

If yoga is a common, ordinary, everyday experience then why isn’t everyone enlightened and why do we need yoga classes of any kind?

Enlightenment, It’s Not What You Think

It’s impossible to become enlightened.  If the Self is unchanging, universal and timeless then how can that change?  It’s unchanging!  That means you are already enlightened but it also means you might not be.  Swami Kripalu, I call him Bapuji, put it this way:

The question arises, who can be called a self-possessed person?  In general it may be said that every human being is “self-possessed”, except the one who does not know the answer to the question “who am I?”  In this stanza, Lord Krsna has called a self-realized yogi “self-possessed”.  In fact, the real practice of yoga begins only after self-realization.

Swami Kripalu, The Science of Meditation
Available at www dot NATURALMEDITATION dot net!

Notice he doesn’t say that self-realization is something that can be developed; rather, he says it’s simply being able to answer the question, “who am I?”  Ask yourself that question and if the answer changes or would be different for you than it would be for your neighbor, it’s possible that you can’t quite answer that question yet.

Self-realization is revealed and not developed.  That is enlightenment.  If something is to be revealed then that something must already be present, waiting to be revealed.  You are already enlightened but until you have that revelation (and just reading my words or anyone else’s words won’t do it) yourself, you also aren’t enlightened.

Here’s the real kicker, did you catch the bit where Bapuji wrote, “In fact, the real practice of yoga begins only after self-realization.”  What?!  The real practice of yoga begins only after self-realization/enlightenment?  I thought that was the PURPOSE of yoga?  Nope but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The Entryway

What’s the point of all these yoga classes and doing postures and stuff?

Yogi Amrit Desai, Gurudev as I call him, says that postures are the entry into yoga.  I often say that postures are a place to experience yoga.  Yesterday I said that postures are a tool or technique of yoga.  What does any of that mean?

Postures give us a place to notice that something is happening, the posture, and something is aware of that happening, I.  What is the nature or quality of this I?  We explore the question that Bapuji poses, “who am I?”  At the same time, we can care for the body but that is a secondary purpose.

Popular yoga has made the body the primary purpose of yoga with the investigation of “who am I” being a secondary or even accidental purpose.  This is one reason why it’s common to believe that only “enlightened masters” living in some remote cave experience enlightenment while the rest of us just do the best we can.  It’s also the reason there are so many yoga instructors and yoga teachers but so few yogis.  Doesn’t sound very common, ordinary or everyday, does it?

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Transform Your Practice Into Sadhana

How can you transform your daily yoga practice into yoga sadhana, the exploration of “who am I?”  Start with these two steps:

Slow Down

Slow your practice.  Move slowly into each posture and hold each posture for 5 – 10 breaths.


Pause between each posture and feel its effects for three or fourth breaths.  See if you can let go of any comments or judgments about the sensations you feel.

I would love to hear what you notice from these two, simple changes.  Try them and leave a comment below!

Jai Bhagwan