“Calling our way of practicing Vijñāna Yoga is but giving recognition to something that has always been there, something that is at the core of our discipline: practicing, feeling, understanding – from inside.”
Practicing from Inside
Inner clarity that flows forth from personal experience is central to the practice of Vijnana Yoga. It is a practice of mind and body, which strives for simplicity while seeking precision in posture and breath from a deep inner listening and a clear, wide view.
Our practice is based on four components: sitting, pranayama (breathing exercises), asana (postures) and studying the written tradition of yoga. These elements of practice are carried out with a focus on the seven principles of Vijnana Yoga: relaxation, quieting the mind, intention, rooting, connection, breathing, and expanding.
Focusing on the seven principles allows us to be inwardly attentive, and to see and understand from within in order to act skillfully in the world. Another unique aspect of Vijnana Yoga is the focus on the ten vayus in our practice.
Vijnana Yoga was founded in 2003 by Orit Sen-Gupta, a student of Dona Holleman, in collaboration with longtime yoga teachers, and continues the yogic tradition of Sri Krishnamacharya and his students BKS Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois.
A natural continuation of the long tradition of yoga, Vijnana Yoga is not new: The yogic concept of vijnana – understanding from inside – expresses the spirit of our practice and the principles guiding it. Shankara, the father of the Vedanta school of yogic thought, explains that vijnana is an understanding or knowledge arising not from external information learned from a teacher or tradition, but from an an inner clarity revealed by personal experience. Ramakrishna continues this interpretation by saying that the knowledge and certainty that fire is burning wood is jnana – knowledge. But to cook rice on this fire, to eat the rice, and to be nourished by it, this is vijnana – to know, experience, and understand from inside.