“One coco at a time fills a basket”. ˜Jamaican proverb
Here’s the kicker…what I teach in yoga class is not exactly what I practice myself. It doesn’t mean I’m holding out on the students or that there is something untoward happening. This is quite natural actually for a yoga teacher, if they have a disciplined personal practice. Quite simply, I teach others what I have been taught, of course informed by my own experience and personal practice. I know that by saying this, I am talking myself out of a ‘job’ (I have never seen yoga teaching as a job) but I try to give students the same tools that I was given, and hope that some day they will find their own sadhana and the discipline to be able to undertake it without my guidance. Does that make sense?
Sadhana simply put means ‘spiritual practice’. It is highly personalized. My sadhana should be different from yours. A teacher may be able to help me to find my sadhana, but it is only through discipline and practice and introspection that I can determine what sadhana is right for me. In a sense sadhana is what you choose for yourself. Of course, it’s possible to go off track, but that’s part of the beauty of it.
This is why the lineage is important in yoga. If I teach what I have been taught then I know that what I am passing along is pure, untainted by my own ego as much as possible. Consider this, if I decide to teach you the sadhana that I have found for myself, how do I know what is the effect of that sadhana after, say 60 years of practice? I have no way of knowing. I might feel that I have ‘authored’ or ‘developed’ something new. I might call it “Janaki Yoga” and it might become recognized as a ‘new’ style of yoga. I might choose a clever catch phrase for my yoga such as “One coco at a time fills a basket” because this seems true to me, and my students like it when I repeat this. But I really have no way of knowing how I will respond to this sadhana or practice after some years, let alone how anyone else will.
So I try to stick to the path. Sadhana is like a flowering or unfolding that takes place when the conditions are right and there is an element of grace to it. I can’t know all of yoga, or I would be self-realized already! I often tell my students that the longer you practice the less you feel you understand what yoga is. That is because you are constantly surprised by it. I can’t chart my progress, or follow someone else’s path necessarily. I can only be taught tools and then practice those as regularly as possible. Naturally there is an element of faith required. There are no guarantees, and my faith is tested constantly. It’s quite a beautiful process.