Coming from a construction background, I so appreciate the efficiency of prefabrication.
You can build a whole structure in pieces in a controlled environment, then ship it to its destination.
On site, the pieces are ready waiting for you, you just need to assemble them like a puzzle
Unfortunately, Yoga doesn’t work this way. No one, not even a Yoga teacher, can offer you your puzzle pieces.
While a teacher can offer a rough blueprint of milestones, it’s up to you to construct your own unique house of liberation, whose pieces arise as a result of your practice.
The 8 Limbs of Yoga themselves are not even directives, they are training wheels that describe some landmark experiences that you may encounter over the course of your practice.
For example, āsana – the third limb of Yoga – doesn’t traditionally refer to the postural practice of yoga we are familiar with in the west.
This postural practice that we are familiar with falls more accurately within the practice of the niyamas – the second limb of Yoga – and specifically within tapas (unconservativism/austerities/penance).
Āsana actually refers to a posture/state of being that is both still and pleasant (unlike tapas, which is often uncomfortable and modern classes which involve movement) (YS II.46). Beyond this, āsana is characterized by continuous effort and endless relaxation (YS II.47).
Therefore, we can see here that the limbs of Yoga are not directives! Patañjali – compiler of the Yoga Sūtras – isn’t telling you to go to a ‘yoga class’ and do sun salutations in order to achieve liberation. He is saying that as you advance in your personal practice, āsana might be something that you experience.
Even Patanjali isn’t giving you your puzzle pieces.
And any translation of the Yoga Sūtra that says he is is an interpretation by the Western Tradition of thought (aka colonized).]
find out more about what yoga really is here
Your practice of Yoga (right procedure causes good outcome) as your dharma (the way you make decisions about the right and the good, aka moral philosophy) is COMPLETELY YOUR OWN.
Examples of prefabricated dharma include:
a) Looking to what other people are doing/have done and doing that,
b) Acting based on what objectives you are trying to achieve, or
c) Listening to what you’ve been told to do/following the rules.
For the Yogi, none of these apply. You are the space in between; the ether.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FOUR BASIC ETHICAL THEORIES HERE THROUGH THE WORK OF DR. SHYAM RANGANATHAN, MA, MA, PHD.
The construction industry (driven by capitalism, a by-product of white supremacist delusion) is moving more and more towards prefabrication because of its efficiency.
Similarly, humans (the vast majority of which have been conditioned to be driven by capitalism, a by-product of white supremacist delusion) are attracted to it also.
Well folks, this is the bottom line: in the Yoga Sūtra, Patañjali provides only one way to increase your efficiency. That is,
तीव्रसंवेगानामासन्नः (YS I.21)
मृदुमध्याधिमात्रत्वात् ततोऽपि विशेषः (YS I.22)
International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration:
tīvra-saṃvegānām-āsannaḥ (YS I.21)
mṛdu-madhyādhimātratvā-tato’pi viśeṣaḥ (YS I.22)
“(Success in Yoga is) near for those who are intense (YS I.21) and is also proportional to the degree of intensity: feeble, moderate or above measure (YS I.22).”
Efficiency is not about having your puzzle pieces handed to you.
It is about the vigor with which you choose to practice discovering them.
So be intense about your practice!
Be intense about interrupting systems of harm, finding truths that come from that harm interruption and determining your values based on those truths.
Be intense about embracing the friction that comes with change as you practice being the explanation of your life.
Be intense about owning your values and continuing self-study, normalizing fluidity and flexibility as you grow and claim your space.
Be intense about your devotion to the Sovereignty of people – not just human people – but all beings that thrive when given (a) the chance to let go of their inherited limitations and (b) the freedom to make decisions about their future.
Be intense about your practice, and find efficiency.
You don’t need a prefabricated solution to your problems. You just need your practice. The rest will unfold from there.
With love and above measure intensity,
This post is inspired by the work of: