I had the “karma” to spend the last week studying with a Buddhist Lama, my friend and teacher Geshe Tenzing Tamding. We met 5 years ago. We became friends, he became my teacher.
For 8 days, several hours a day, I studied with my teacher. These hours, were spent sitting on the floor, with legs crossed, in easy pose (sukhasana), reading sacred texts, meditating, practicing pranayama (breathwork), learning mudras, receiving blessings, listening to Buddhist wisdom, and reciting sacred mantra. Sitting in “Easy Pose” for many hours, is not easy.
My teacher shared many stories of “Yogis” but he was not referring to handstands, or arm balances, or celebrity yoga teachers. He was speaking of awakened masters, mystics, soul shamans. He was speaking of followers of the Dharma.
People started practicing asana (the physical poses), to get the body and mind prepared for long periods of seated meditation. I practice yoga everyday, but there I was studying with my teacher, sitting with a small pillow under me, legs falling asleep, needing to stretch, body and mind exhausted. Even with my yoga practice, my body is not well trained to sit for long periods of time. And my mind is not well trained to study for long periods of time. Breath by breath..
In the Western world we tend to think of yoga as a physical practice, but in reality, yoga is far more. There are four main paths of yoga, Bhakti, Karma, Raja, and Jnana. During those 8 days with my teacher, I was challenged to practice Jnana yoga.The Yoga of Wisdom. The most difficult path of Yoga. Intellectual study. Trying to use the mind to transcend the mind.
I have been a yoga student and teacher for many years now, (practicing mainly Raja Yoga), but the study and practice of yoga is so immense, that I am truly a beginner.
I am grateful and humbled by the teachings and wisdom.