I am always encouraged by the sincerity of the many students and colleagues with whom I have the privilege of sharing the experience of yoga. And I have been very fortunate to receive knowledge about the role of devotion on the path of yoga from extraordinary teachers who have instructed me that sharing what I have received is essential to my own progress. In Sanskrit, the act of passing transcendental knowledge forward is called parampara, meaning ‘one after the other’. The idea is that one takes the fruit of knowledge, as it has been transmitted from antiquity, and carefully, without changing the essence of the teaching, hands it to the next person in a manner suitable for their favorable reception.
It is all too easy to be cheated by misguided teachers who tell us what we want to hear, not necessarily for the sake of exploiting our human frailties for personal profit (though that surely happens), but because they are inviting us to participate in an act of self-deception. Having convinced themselves that down is up, fish are birds, and material life is spiritual life, they succeed in convincing others as well. At a time when meaning has been compromised in the interest of inclusivity, there is no shortage of people who are anxious for such misguidance, ready and willing to accept personal truths in place of objective truth and, fearful of feeling bad about themselves for being less than they know they can or should be, eagerly demure from the hard work that substantive transformation requires and that yoga invites us to participate in. [Read More…]
I teach yoga and yoga philosophy in Washington D.C. and vicinity. This is where I offer thoughts and observations on the relevance of traditional yoga scripture to contemporary yoga practice and culture. You can find my teaching schedule here.