“If you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got.” 12 step adage
Yogaja Yoga will turn six on January 15. What started organically, and with little forethought, has turned into a journey of great joy for me. I think back to what I knew then, as opposed to what I know now, and the growth in me, and our community, seems immeasurable. It’s true, we’ve increased our knowledge A LOT as it pertains to our asana practice (physical practice), but physical learning is measurable. We can literally see it, and feel it, as our bodies change from our consistent and well-guided practice. The space of immeasurable growth for me has been, and continues to be, in spiritual learning. The more I learn, the more there is to learn!
This month we focus on knowledge. And as with most everything in yoga, we’ll need to adjust our culturally-embedded thought process. We often hear the saying, “Knowledge is power,” commonly referring to a nugget of information you possess that will give you an edge over someone else. What if instead we said, “Universal Knowledge is peace?” Think to a time where you have felt peace in your life… is there any more powerful feeling? But many of us continue a day-to-day life of suffering, because we cling to ignorance and the comfort of complaint, rather than, true knowledge and the limitless possibilities that will come with change.
Here is the definition of knowledge - the sum of what is known: the body of truth, information, and principles acquired by humankind.
As Eckhart Tolle tells us in A New Earth, the body of truth handed down through the wisdom traditions of religion, yoga, twelve steps and alike, is unified with the same underlying, two-pronged message: “The first truth is the realization that the “normal” state of mind of most human beings contains a strong element of what we might call dysfunction or even madness. Certain teachings at the heart of Hinduism perhaps come closest to seeing this dysfunction as a form of collective mental illness. They call it maya, the veil of delusion.” This veil, or maya, that has been cast over us could also be called ignorance or fear. Tolle goes on to say, “You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge. But it can only emerge if something fundamental changes in your state of consciousness.” So, how do we lift the veil and change our state of consciousness? That’s Tolle’s second truth: “the good news of the possibility of a radical transformation of human consciousness.”
In yoga sutra 1.25, Patanjali tells us, “God is the unexcelled seed of all knowledge.” And so it follows that we need to plant this seed, allowing it to root within us, until eventually we have grown to be the bodily manifestation of the knowledge of God, breaking free of the veil. But this knowledge is different than the stuff we are taught in school - this is heart knowledge. In the book Believe, by Desmond Tutu, he explains the concept of Ubuntu, a central tenet of African philosophy which is perfectly captured by the phrase “me we.” Part of Ubuntu is, “...a person who embodies openness, large-heartedness. They share their worth.” In this case “worth,” is not referring to our material wealth, rather it is referring to our wealth of love. Now we see a fundamental shift in how we think; power becomes peace and worth becomes love.
Commit to spending time each day to gain Universal knowledge. Don’t think that a shift will happen because you’re wishing it to. As we said at the beginning, “If you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got.” The time for change is now, today is the day. Embody the knowledge that power is peace and worth is love.
Sutra - Try to commit to memory the Sanskrit or English form. Read other translations. Learn as much as possible about how this sutra could change your perspective.
I.25 Tatra niratiśayam sarvajñabījam.
Tatra = there [in Īśvara]; niratiśayam = unsurpassed manifestation, above the highest; sarvajña = omniscience; bījam = seed”
Translation: God is the unexcelled seed of all knowledge
“In other words, Īśvara is all-knowing and is knowledge itself. The cosmic knowledge is called the Supreme Soul, or Puruṣa. How can we imagine or visualize it? Imagine a circle. You see the space within it and the space outside it. The inner space is finite and the outer is infinite. If you accept the existence of a finite space, automatically you have to accept an infinite one. Without infinite there can be no finite. The moment you say, “I am a man,” there must be a woman. If you say “left,” there must be a right. The thought of one implies the thought of the other. We feel that our minds and knowledge are limited and finite. So, there must be a source of infinite knowledge beyond that.”
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
Sri Swami Satchidananda
Knowledge - the sum of what is known : the body of truth, information, and principles acquired by humankind
Balance poses bc through knowledge we remove ignorance and restore balance.
Nadi shodhana pranayama is a hatha yoga practice that purifies the nadis (energy channels in the subtle body) through alternate-nostril breathing.
Eem Hreem Shreem this mantra harnesses all the forces of spiritual growth behind your intention to evolve.
Jnana mudra, is the mudra of knowledge.
Core Quality: Awakening Clear Seeing.
Created by placing the tips of the thumb and the index together to form a circle with the palms facing up, this mudra actually stimulates an opening effect, allowing for a receiving from the divine source.
In addition, there is great symbolism to this mudra. The thumb represents universal consciousness, while the index finger represents individual consciousness. The unity in this gesture symbolizes the union of the divine self with the individual self, resulting in the transcendence of this world.
-Vinyasa Yoga School