In today’s yoga world, terminology from yogic wisdom is often thrown around without context. In this video, a yoga practitioner asks Paramaguru Sharath Jois if the yamas and niyamas (the central do’s and don’t’s from the yoga sutras) can be taught. Jois’s answer, is complex: These tenets and threads of wisdom can be explained, but in order to really learn them, one must teach herself the yogi path through consistent practice.

Related: The Importance of Yogic Tradition

Unfortunately, he says, yoga teachers today are seemingly required to offer everything to everyone, when in the past, certain elements of the practice were reserved for highly dedicated students. The methodology has been lost through the proliferation of the practice. Jois advocates for working with a teacher. Modifying by your own standards without proper guidance takes a student away from ancient wisdom. If a student wants to really understand the practice, they must abide by the system; it’s not about picking and choosing, but about understanding the methodology fully. Learn more about this perspective by watching the video above.

Photo by Danielle Tsi

Don’t miss your chance to attend class with Ashtanga yoga master Sharath Jois when he visits the U.S. in May 2017! Learn more here.