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Why Your Intellect Is An Obstacle In Yoga

Why Your Intellect Is An Obstacle In Yoga

When he trained in yoga Ed lived in silence, practice and service. He soon became aware that yoga is far more than just a series of postures or mental exercises but rather is a way of life that leads to self-realization. He trained at the Bihar School of Yoga in India during the late 1960s, where he became a Swami, a yoga expert. But only when he came back to the west and began to live as a yogi did he see how inclusive and far-reaching yoga really is.

Although it has its roots in Hinduism, yoga transcends the limitations of religion; it stands alone. Yoga means union; it is waking up to the beauty both within ourselves and realizing the sacredness of all life. And it is the expression of love: loving yourself and others, which frees us from a chaotic mind, negativity and neurosis.

In this way we see that true yoga – the very essence of what yoga means – is when we find our freedom, when we open our hearts and love beyond ourselves, when we serve and awaken. For only when we open our hearts can we realize the brilliance of who we are

Many of us are tempted to study the traditional yoga teachings, the texts, sutras and vedas, but in this way we can easily gain an intellectual understanding and miss the direct experience. For none of this, as fantastically wonderful as it is, will ever make us happy or set us free. We learn the greatness of the wise ones but how does it help us? Until we open our heart, look within, and rejoice in the love that is our true nature, all the teachings are just words. They can inspire our intellect but can never enlighten us. We can quote the scriptures, we can even become a learned scholar, but we are not true yogis until the intellect is no longer running the show.

In the western world we worship the intellect – If we have a degree we are highly respected, if we don’t we are considered uneducated. But many of the sadhus of old — the original yoga practitioners — were poor and uneducated, they couldn’t even read or write. Instead, they experienced and realized yoga deep within their hearts and lives, as the truth of yoga is beyond both mind and intellect.

The real experience of yoga is not found through the books or teachings, as helpful and inspirational as they may be. When we are about to die it won’t help to know what page we are meant to be on! Yoga can only be known by embodying it within ourselves. We manage in this world through our senses and mind; we rely on them to function in this complexity of life. But only when we enter the heart is the truth revealed.

What is your experience of yoga? Do comment below.

Related:
Yoga Is Not What You Think
Love Is the Real Yoga
Choosing a Yoga Style

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Read more: Blogs, Ed and Deb, Guidance, Inspiration, Peace, Self-Help, Spirit, Yoga, , ,

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Ed and Deb Shapiro

You can learn more in our book, Be The Change: How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors Marianne Williamson, Jane Fonda, Ram Dass, Byron Katie and others. Our 3 meditation CD’s: Metta—Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi–Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra–Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at: EdandDebShapiro.com

46 comments

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1:12AM PDT on Apr 21, 2013

ty

2:54AM PDT on Mar 27, 2013

Thank you :)

8:06AM PST on Jan 22, 2013

Stupid people are the easiest to rule and that's exploited by most religions and ideologies...

7:21AM PDT on Oct 24, 2012

Thank you

4:21PM PDT on Aug 15, 2012

ty

4:21PM PDT on Aug 15, 2012

ty

7:26AM PDT on Aug 9, 2012

This made me laugh; I know a woman who is a yoga teacher and intellect has never got in her way!

7:55AM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

Interesting. I would love to learn yoga

4:19AM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

true

12:19PM PDT on Aug 6, 2012

I flirted with Tantric yoga way back in the seventies and found it helpful. It is far more about focussing the energy properly than it is about sex as has been popularized here in the West. In my job I am very active and have developed moves from yoga and Tai Chi that I use to move quickly and to move larger objects. Although I don't practice either one in the traditional sense both Tai Chi and Yoga are still at the roots of everything I do as is the basic teachings of the Buddah, the Tao Te Ching and a lot of other things I've experienced over the years. If there was one man apart from Tesla and Einstein I would liked to have met it would have been Ramanujan - born poor and uneducated but the greatest mathematical mind the world has known in a long time. Degrees and education are important but enlightenment is open to us all. Don't fall for the illusion of materialism. You need a certain amount to live in this world. How much one needs is defined by their vision and their level of being. Don't let it limit your your true spiritual self.

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