Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Conditions for pure yoga: Shiva Samhita

Here is the list of requirements for the practitioner of  good yoga, according to Shiva Samhita
The ideal yoga student
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The ancient yogic treatise Shiva Samhita   distinguishes between the one who does not know yoga and the one who does:
  • "Yoga is not for those who are fond of learning,
  • lack confidence,
  • fail to pay homage to the teacher, and
  • have numerous concerns and
  • talk deceitfully and harshly.
  • Confident that their efforts will bear fruit is the first sign of success in yoga.
  • The second sign is faith,
  • the third sign of success reverence for the teacher,
  • fourth the state of equanimity,
  • the fifth control of the five senses,
  • sixth moderate diet.
  • There is no seventh."
The rest of the requirements seem fair enough, as requirements GO . But what does this text mean, when it says a good yoga student should not be fond of learning. I think it is talking of the running-hither-thither type of learning -- the DILETTANTE. I have a student like that, running from one yoga school to another, not practising anything but...! She has even done several `graduate level' yoga courses, does regular theory yoga courses. But when it comes to practice, is unable to settle on the mat...That sort of learning is what is meant I suppose.

Also, where the other sort of  learning which can come in the way of the practice and even attempts to stymie the teacher:) ... I had one student, from a famous local school, who had done an eight-month course on yoga theory et al.. but when I tell her how to do the headstand, she  is completely disoriented where the feet are, where the knees are, and does  not even realise she lifts the elbows... and is totallly unaware of her body though she has passed an exam that certifies that she even knows other people's bodies and is fit to teach them.. One day, even landed in class, with a full meal, with a huge dessert to booth... Mmm, an instructor, imagine. That sort of learning which has no value without any practice.. and also, hinders the teacher ... such students, if u allow them, will have a lot of arguments, theories and wish to keep talking in the class-- they want to create a status for themselves as an instructor to instructor, not a practitioner to a practitioner. Blocking not just their learning, but def interfering with the rest of the class...

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