Okay I admit it. Sometimes I succumb to my ego and feel very important/”enlightened” because I own several books on ancient yoga philosophy. I felt a surge of (fake) superiority when I bought a copy of the Bhagavad Gita from some dude on campus last year.
When I think with my ego, I take myself to be someone who connects to yoga more deeply than others (ha!), hence my desire to amass several texts on yoga theory. Yet have I even read them? Not a one. Sure, I’ve tried to read them and study the philosophy that I assumed would
advance enhance my own practice. But in reality, slogging through the complicated Sanskrit terms that forced me to refer to a translation guide every few seconds, along with the completely abstract teachings of ancient gurus left me feeling bored, frustrated, and disconnected from my practice.
J. Brown, founder of Abhyasa Yoga Center in Brooklyn, NY addresses this very topic. Through his experience discussing the non-physical aspects of yoga, he contends that:
While the ancient texts are valuable and interesting, too often they are presented in a way that seems to confuse and confound rather than be of any practical use. Going about the activities of one’s daily life is a spiritual practice. Engaging asana or studying ancient texts is only so good as it helps us in the effort of living. Reality is spirituality. (Read more)
Preach it like you teach it, J. Brown! Seriously, this guy gets it. Yoga is in the real, concrete stuff we do on a regular basis. We cannot find yoga by viewing it as something esoteric, or something from which we are removed, as many texts on ancient yoga philosphy would have us believe. Yoga consists of us participating in life, in us paying attention to how our bodies feel.
Brown’s video might clear this up a bit:
Feelin me, college kids?