What to expect from a Vijñāna Yoga class
There is a saying that goes, “The knowledge and certainty that the fire burns wood is Jñāna-knowledge. But cooking rice on that fire, eating the rice and being nourished by it, that is Vijñāna-knowledge, experience and understanding from inside”.
The yogic concept of Vijñāna is an understanding or knowledge that arises not only from external information learned from a teacher or tradition, but rather from an inner clarity revealed through personal experience. It is a practice of mind and body that strives for simplicity while seeking precision in posture and breath from a deep inner listening and a clear, expansive view.
The practice is based on four components:
We just sit on the mat or on a cushion and notice the body as well as the breath. While sitting, everything is in order. We have no instructions or goals, and therefore it is impossible to “succeed” or “fail”.
Pranayama (breathing exercises)
The literal meaning of the word Pranayama is control of Prana (life energy). Pranayama practice is a subtle but very powerful practice. We observe the cycle of the breath closely and carefully – exhalation, inhalation and the pauses between them. From these observations and insights, techniques for directing and controlling the breath are explored over time.
In our practice we focus on the seven vital principles of Vijñāna Yoga: relaxation, quieting the mind, intention, rooting, connection, breathing, expanding. Focusing on these allows us to be inwardly attentive.
We allow the body to discover the wholeness and uniqueness of each pose through a repeated path leading to it. This helps the mind to stabilize and direct itself. The consequence of a body moving from a place of connection and rooting is a quiet mind.
Studying and applying the written tradition of Yoga
Why do we devote time and space to practice, taking it step by step, with precision and attention? We find the answers in the study of the scriptures, and we try to integrate them into our practice.
For example, Patanjali (an Indian sage often considered the “father of Yoga”) states in his Yoga Sutras: “Yoga is restraining the vrittis [activity] of consciousness.” These are “restrained by practice and non-attachment.” He adds, “But this practice becomes firmly grounded when done intensively, properly, and continuously over a long period.”
Understanding the spiritual, physical, and pranic aspirations of our ancestors is important to understanding the aspirations of today.
Another unique aspect of Vijñāna Yoga is the focus on the practice of the ten vayus (winds). Implementing the vayus in pranayama and asana reconnects body and soul, mind and movement.
If you feel that you would like to practice with me, Feel free to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you!
Let’s practice together!
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