Take What You Need

‘Thus hath wisdom, most secret of all secrets, been given to thee by Me. After exhaustively reflecting about it, act as thou desirest.

Bhagavad Gita XVIII, 63.

So Krishna invites Arjuna to come into his yoga practice. Krishna says that yoga is about considering all  the wisdom and beauty in his teachings, but only taking from them what is necessary and useful for yourself. It is completely non-dogmatic. As well as energy saving! Instead of asking Arjuna to invest all his time and energy into completely changing his life and habits according to every yogic principle, Krishna says that Arjuna actually doesn’t need them all! Arjuna learns that everything is a suggestion, everything is an invitation – and each practice is only meant to be taken as needed to help Arjuna live the life he was already living in a more healthy, happy way.

Often as we get more and more involved in our yoga it can be easy to forget this. We think that we should be able to do every pose in class, have the perfect savasana, forget every thought in meditation, practice all the breathing techniques and constantly be chanting. But Krishna reminds us that this is actually not necessary. Not only are not all of these practices necessary for all of us, they are not even appropriate for all of us. There are certain paths that each of us will naturally be drawn to and they reflect our constitutions and personalities. The path of action, for example, will tend to draw those who have a lot of determination and fire (pitta and rajas) and find that doing lots of active asana workouts helps them burn off this energy. The path of knowledge will draw those who tend to spend a lot of time up in their heads (vata and satva), studying, thinking and creating will help these people feel they understand peacefulness on an intellectual or emotional level. The path of devotion might tend towards people who have a great deal of nurturing and caring energy (kapha and tamas) as it helps them express the huge amounts of love they have to give.

Many of the practices developed in yoga are used like prescriptions for the energy systems in the body to restore balance. Considering this it becomes easier to understand how some of the practices may be useful for restoring energies we naturally lack but others may have a negative effect as there is the potential to reinforce already ingrained imbalances. For example, a person with a great deal of pitta (fire) may find that hot yoga asana increases their anger, aggravation and aggression whereas a people with vata (air) may find it grounding, settling and calming and people with kapha (earth) find it invigorating and energising.

The important thing to remember when attending any class, and within a class, is that everything is a suggestion. If you tune into your own intuition, allow yourself the space and presence to ask if it will serve you, then you will soon find that your own body can be your guide. You will never find a more powerful or true guide than yourself.

About karen2202

I am writing my PhD on children's yoga and it's place within mainstream education. I am also a yoga teacher in Sydney, Australia.

Posted on October 18, 2011, in Meditation, Philosophy and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Very true. I love that we are our best guide and this is very empowering for both the teacher and the student.

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