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Sharath Jois on Being True

A deeper look at the first yogic principle of being true to yourself, others, your practice and spreading knowledge.

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Yoga Master Paramaguru
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Many students should try to know what real yoga is. To do this, the first yogic principle is to be true to yourself, true to others, true to your own practice, true in spreading your knowledge. You can never change these principals. If a yogi has a priority, it is how to increase his or her level of consciousness, and how to increase knowledge towards this. His or her striving is only for that. It’s not the number of students a teacher can attract or how many “likes” on social media they have. A yogi is not worried about that. There is no goal. It’s only when students think about experiencing each step, then the whole perception of this practice will change. The whole perception of the practice will change as you realize each step.

Though we are all human, we are all different. Some are very tall, some are very short. Some are stiff, some are flexible. Though it’s the same asana, there are two different bodies. Someone’s ability might be sharper or more than your abilities, so it’s very difficult to copy one another. However your body structure is, you must be true to yourself. That’s how you approach yoga. If another person is very flexible and you try to copy that person, it’s not possible. You can’t copy his or her body style. But this is what happens. People always try to copy. This copying of others you have to work out. You must practice according to your body and according to your abilities. Your backbend is different than someone else’s backbend. Once you copy, it won’t be the same. You are not true to yourself. You aren’t true to your practice. You won’t be true to spreading your knowledge. You can’t copy.

You have to think in this way. The popularity will come. I’m popular around the world. It just came. It came but not because I wanted that. It naturally happened. I didn’t advertise myself. It’s through my students’ word of mouth. Today, whatever I am, it’s because of that knowledge. People want to study with me. I get thousands of applications. It’s not because I go and advertise anywhere. It’s because they all want to come and learn authentic yoga.


Related: Practice with Paramaguru Sharath Jois During His U.S. Tour!


Yogic knowledge comes from experience and it has to be allowed to grow day-by-day. Books are always references, but they can’t be your experience. If you read chitta vritti nirodha, it doesn’t then happen. For this you need to put effort. You need to do certain things. You have to follow a certain method. It doesn’t come from reading books. You have to create it. You have to develop it over a period of time. You have to put forth the effort and try to learn. Once you put effort, once you’ve dedicated to the practice, showing devotion to the practice, then the knowledge will come. Devotion is not forcefully had. Some religions force devotion. It should be natural. Devotion is compassion. Devotion is love. No one can force you to be compassionate. That’s a process that happens naturally. They are chemical changes within you. So that makes you see this world in a different way. This is the yoga process.

Yoga is about experiencing. This is still growing for me, too. Because we are each different, no one has experienced the asanas like me. Not even anyone in my family has experienced yoga the same. The experience was totally different each time I did it. I started experiencing something different. It was the journey that I saw, and not anyone else’s vision. Whatever asana I did, I totally absorbed myself in it. Whether this was my goal, or not, I was focused on the experience, not on where I was going. I don’t know where I’m going. Everyone thinks yoga is a destination. They’re all looking to go somewhere. But there is no destination other than consciousness. Yoga experience won’t have any goal. It’s just being blissful. To experience the ecstasy, you’re not adapting any external elements. It happens naturally. The ecstasy is in you. People do drugs but it’s artificial ecstasy. Here the whole experience is natural. It’s what yogis look for.

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Sometimes it’s difficult to cultivate lucidity during troubling times. Patanjali Yoga Sūtras offers 4 practices to help keep the mind steady: 
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These four practices are also praised in various Buddhist suttas.
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