Guruji and the Depth of Practice

17.5.10

"I don’t think what he’s imparting can be said. But I think there’s nothing
else really worth talking about, because he is teaching a kind of openness
of the mind and the heart which is so stunning that, at least at times, you
don’t know what to say, you are awestruck and can’t put it into words.
That’s why there is such an art, I think, to teaching. Krishnamacharya
once made a comment to a friend of mine: yoga is not mechanical. I
think Guruji is always teaching that through a very formal system. You
have to follow the form very carefully, in fact you have to pour your being
into it with intensity to create tapas, internal heat. But then you have to
be completely not attached to it. And somewhere in that changeover,
where you are able to follow form precisely but then not identify with it,
the real yoga comes out."

Is it a spiritual practice?

"Yeah, I think it’s spiritual in the way most people use that word. You
could also say it’s beyond spiritual. If someone has a concept of spirituality,
this is much more interesting than anything they could imagine. But
it’s definitely a totally spiritual practice. However, if someone comes to it
and has no interest in what they believe spirituality to be, if they just take
up the practice for improving their health or fixing some biomechanical
problem in the body, it’ll prove effective but it will also put them in touch
with their core feelings. And just by touching those core feelings they
will start inquiring into what is real. They’ll start to ask: “Why am I suffering
all the time?” “What is true?” And so they’ve come to the right
place. And so yoga in a sense is like a fountain. People will go to it, for
many different reasons but because they’ve gone to the source they start
to get a taste for it, and they might not really understand why they like it
but they’ll keep coming back to the source and eventually they’ll just
jump right back in."

It is spiritual in the sense that the Atman, the soul, is revealed, but at the
same time there is a methodology as well, so is it somehow a fusion of those
two things?

"Exactly. If we say that what is of most interest to the open mind, to the
open heart, is beyond expression, beyond words, also therefore beyond
technique, our first reaction is “I won’t do anything.” But the fascinating
thing about practice is that what is manifesting as the body and the mind
is composed of strings and strings of techniques, and so yoga is actually
the art of using techniques with incredible skill and through that one
naturally arrives at a place where there is no technique anymore but freedom.
This is one of the major themes of the Bhagavad Gita, one of the
extremely illusive themes, that the truth is ultimately formless because it
generates all forms. How can it be approached? How can you realize it?
It’s actually through seeing forms with an open mind and allowing the
body and the mind to complete their natural tendencies to complete
their forms, and in that you release form." 

(Richard Freeman)

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