The Sanskrit word Vidya has been translated as knowledge, education, wisdom. The word Yoga means to join, yoke, to unite.
I have chosen to name Yoga Vidya this path of knowledge that unfolds before us when we start practicing yoga. This knowledge takes many forms.
Initially we learn about yoga postures, alignment, breath, movement, stillness, and how they all interlace to improve our health and well-being. We may sense the opening of energy channels that have been blocked for many years, even at our very first yoga class.
Then with regular and frequent practice we begin to observe our mind, and thus gain new knowledge about our thinking patterns, emotional reactions, and other. We become aware of, and start to connect with the calmness and serenity beneath the turbulences and fluctuations of the mind. This does not mean that we have to be calm persons to be able to practice. All we need to do is be ready to observe whatever presents itself in each moment, including the turbulences and the "non-calmness".
Observation and acceptance can then take us a step further to experiencing the shift in the way we relate to our thoughts and feelings. We may find some old self-burdening or destructive thinking patterns begin to dissolve. Or we may find that some thinking patterns have persisted, but that now we are able to recognise them for what they are - just thoughts - thoughts that do not have such an overwhelming power over us any longer.
As we continue the practice of observation in yoga and meditation, another form of Yoga Vidya may reveal itself to us - the direct knowledge of our true nature. What does this mean?
The core of each of our personal egos lies in the constant struggle of the opposites and the sense of separation. Practicing awareness in yoga and meditation we slowly realise this tendency of the ego to see the world as separate from us, and often as more hostile than it actually is. As various aspects of our existence - physical, emotional, mental, spiritual - start functioning in a more harmonic, integrated way, we start seeing the bigger picture – the interconnectedness of all beings and the one-ness with the universe. Feelings of unity and love can then naturally expand to our relationships with other beings, environment and with the divine.
Beyond the fluctuations of our thoughts and emotions, our true nature is still, peaceful and unobstructed. We do not invent anything new on our Yoga Vidya path. We simply practice connecting with what is already always there.
Yoga Vidya articles are here to share information on various topics, components of a more aware and conscious living, such as health and anatomy issues, tips for sustaining the daily practice, psychology and spirituality issues, and importance of reducing all forms of violence in raising children. The readers and yoga students are welcome to ask questions, and share their opinions and sentiments on all these matters via email or at the studio.