Years ago when I bought my first car, and stepped into full responsibility for vehicle ownership, it necessitated a few other things, especially as it was already slightly older than me. These were a Haynes manual, a comprehensive tool kit and some mentoring.
As I learnt to drive, I also learnt how to repair and maintain the vehicle, I began to understand how I could use it, where I could go, its strengths, its weaknesses, how it could shape my life and also made friends with a few people who could give me tips on how to do all this too.
Over the years I’ve often referred in classes to the Yogic tool kit, and I smiled this week, when one of my teachers referred to the Bhagavad Gita as the ultimate Yogic technical manual, just like those old Haynes manuals.
The Hatha Yoga asanas, pranayamas, kriyas, the Tantric mantras and yantras give you an amazing tool kit to work with, maintain and restore your body, mind, emotions and energy.
A host of texts do too, like I’ve mentioned the Gita gives an astounding overview of the nature of life, karma, dharma and moksha. Texts such as the Yoga Sutras illustrate the structure and the workings of the mind. The Hatha Yoga Pradapika and similar writings on Hatha practices, convey the steps required to create the state of Yoga. Meanwhile, some of the oldest writings on Yoga, contained in the Upanishads and Vedas, provide amazing insight into the nature of the self and reality.
Of course a mentor or teacher is invaluable, just as an apprentice learns the fine details by watching a seasoned practitioner’s subtle attitude to their craft, in Yoga its is no different, and a good teacher helps a student thread their understanding and practice together, and helps answer all those questions that the manual doesn’t.
All of these practices and texts, which range in age from 300 years to 3000 years old, are timeless in their relevance.
So perhaps recognizing your existential reality, as the driver of this vehicle, composed of the body, mind, and emotions, might inspire you to develop or add to a collection of tools, manuals and mentors, so that you may enjoy, and comfortably navigate this grand journey that your on.
Hari Om Tat Sat.