Are paradigms of practice necessary

Picture of Yoga Mandir
Yoga Mandir

In the book Alpha and Omega of Trikonasana Prashant Iyengar names seven paradigms (modes) of practice that can be applied by the sadhaka (aspirant). Prashant makes the observation that Iyengar Yoga students are often caught in a ‘hurricane of doing’. By this he implies that we are busy with our actions, and our intention is to further action (to improve; to go further and progress). But if Yoga is a study of cause and effect within the consciousness then how can we study the outcomes of our actions with the same intensity that we apply to the actions themselves.

If the study of cause and effect were held in the body alone it becomes as study of physics. A study of forces applied to muscles and joints and their outcomes. Yoga however is a study of consciousness; a study conducted within the consciousness; within and by each individual. In her commentary of the Yoga sutras Barbara Stoller Miller makes the following statements

 ‘Patanjali’s yoga offers a set of powerful techniques for countering the tyranny of mental chaos and moral confusion. Personal freedom is the concern normally associated with the private sphere, and morality with the public sphere. But they are inseparable. In the ancient Indian hierarchy of values, a concern with ultimate spiritual freedom is dominant. And yet the discipline that is required to achieve freedom is rooted in moral behaviour, according to Patanjali. Even though proper moral action in the world is not the goal of yoga, a great vow to live by the universal principles of non-violence truthfulness, avoidance of stealing, celibacy and poverty is specified as a precondition for further yogic practice. The cultivation of friendship, compassion, joy and impartiality towards all creatures, a central formula of Buddhist ethics, is also deemed effacious for achieving the absolute tranquillity of yoga. The antiworldly isolation prescribed for certain stages of yoga is not the ultimate yogic state. Periods of solitude are necessary, but one need not renounce the world forever to practice yoga’

Barabra Stoller Miller, Yoga: Discipline of freedom p2

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