Beyond Words Publishing

The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice

Excerpt from The Heart of Yoga:

The Foundations of Yoga Practice

To explain yoga I shall refer to the ideas expressed in Patañjali’s Yoga Sütra, the guide to yogic practice that I prefer to any other text on yoga. In a certain way the Yoga Sütra is more universal than any other text because it focuses on the mind—what its qualities are and how we can influence it. As defined in the Yoga Sütra, yoga is the ability to direct the mind without distraction or interruption. No one can deny that such a process is beneficial to all people for living a focused and productive life. Other yoga texts talk about God, consciousness, and other such concepts that are not necessarily accepted by or consisent with various philosophies and religions. If I understand yoga as a path that is accessible to every human being, then it seems perfectly natural that my discussion be based on the Yoga Sütra precisely because questions about the qualities of mind are universal ones. Speaking in terms of God or a Supreme Being often disturbs people, regardless of whether they accept or reject the notion. Patañjali’s Yoga Sütra is exceptionally open, which is in part what makes it so profound. The notion of God is neither rejected nor forced on anyone. For this reason I think the Yoga Sütra makes yoga more comprehensible than any other text.

Published: March 1, 1999
ISBN: 978-0892817641
Pages: 244
Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 10 inches
100 b&w photographs and 200 b&w illustrations