To Obtain the Benefits of Yoga Requires More than Just Putting on the Garb of a Yogi

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Yoga teaching New Yorker photo

I’m re-reading Yoga Mala by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and rediscovered this gem on p. 5, which I love because it motivates and reminds us that true understanding of yoga only comes through diligent practice:

We now have to ask whether it is possible to realize the true nature of yoga simply by understanding its meaning as a word. By the mere study of texts on yoga, by the mere grasp of yoga’s meaning as a word, by a mere discussion of the pros and cons of this intellectual grasp, one cannot have a thorough knowledge of yoga. For, just as a good knowledge of culinary science does not satisfy hunger, neither will the benefits of yoga be realized fully by a mere understanding of the science of its practice. Thus, the scriptures only show us the right path. It is left to us to understand them and to put them into practice. By the strength gained through this practice, we can come to know the method for bringing the mind and sense organs under control. Thus can we achieve yoga. For it is only through the control of the mind and sense organs that we come to know our true nature, and not through intellectual knowledge, or by putting on the garb of a yogi.

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