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Individual Practice

I want to say a few words about individual practice. About how important it is.

If you want to start doing yoga, then yes, you can come to the nearest yoga center and they will teach you some basics. You will practice twice a week and gradually master some sets of asanas. But until you start practicing on your own, at home, daily (or almost daily), it would be an exaggeration to say that you practice yoga. Because yoga is an individual practice, it is your own work on yourself.

Classes in a group can give you a skill, an example, some necessary tools for this work. But you need to use these tools on your own, at your own pace. At least find this rhythm! See how the practice of yoga fits in with the rest of your life, it doesn't have to be something separate. A person who starts practicing on his own, at home, is simply forced to start changing – at first to change the daily routine, to free up time and space for practice. He begins to explore, to study – himself and yoga. It is then that yoga slowly begins to come into his life until at one fine moment he suddenly notices that his whole life is yoga. After all, classes in yoga-studios create a false impression that yoga is asanas on a mat before or after work. But yoga is much more than that. Something that fundamentally changes the point of view on your life, on how and what you do, and how you see yourself.

Yoga is the path of knowing one's true (i.e. real) essence, without the admixture of social husks, patterns and ideas, the path that ultimately leads to the experience of unity or eternal connection with the Higher nature of everything that exists. Yoga, after all, is translated like union, connection. How you will come to this is a secondary question, and it is hardly a matter of asanas. In the doctrine of yoga, there are many methods for working with all aspects of our being – and all of them are only for this main goal. And these are not only methods related to the body or breathing, there are also those that need to be applied, for example, in your work, or – let's say – at every moment of life. And only independent practice and study make it possible to realize the need for such yoga, the need for an integral approach – when you combine different yoga methods depending on the circumstances and your condition, perform different practices, but you feel in them a single basis, that very state of yoga.

Of course, I should say that competent guidance is needed. I would be lying if I didn't say so. Let it be, if not a Guru (a Guru is ideal, but a Western person often has problems with this), then at least an experienced practitioner, that is, a person who has really practiced a lot and for a long time. Someone who can advise and guide you, who shows new horizons. Unfortunately, there are not plenty of such people, and even often yoga teachers are not practicing in the full sense of the word (and therefore they cannot answer many questions).

If you met such a teacher – you are, of course, lucky – but again, you need to work on your own, because no one really can do it for you. It is impossible to know the Atman instead of another person.


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