Continuing Education

by Nina
The Student by Gwen John
Back in the day when I was an English literature major, I used to feel overwhelmed by all the important classic works of literature I had not yet read. Eventually though I had an insight: wasn’t it wonderful that I would never run out of good things to read? No matter how much time I spent reading, even at the end of my life there would still be undiscovered treasures out there.

These days I’m trying to look at yoga the same way. Even after more than 25 years of practicing, an excellent 500-hour teacher training, numerous special workshops, and ongoing independent studies of yoga history and philosophy, there is still so much I don’t know. And when I crack open a book like Edwin Bryant’s The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, I can feel overwhelmed and insecure because I start to find out that I was mistaken about certain things (though Melitta and I who are reading it together both agreed that at least we were felt ready to read and understand this book—had we read it 15 years ago we wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much out of it). 

Wow, and just the other day when I was researching yoga during the time of Vedas, I went back to Georg Feuerstein’s The Yoga Tradition, which I’ve read cover to cover twice a number of years ago, and found some details that I hadn’t really absorbed the first two times (the part about the three different types of meditation I wrote about it Is Yoga Really 5,000 Years Old). That was rather humbling. I even thought, maybe I should read this book again.

But today I decided that I should look at this the same way I looked at English literature back in the day: how wonderful it is that I can keep on learning new things about yoga on an almost daily basis. After all, I not only learn from research that I do to write posts for you, but because many of the people who write for the blog come from different yoga traditions than I come from (Beth, Jivana, Jill, etc.), when I carefully read the first drafts of their posts—sometimes asking for clarification on certain points so I can understand more thoroughly in order to help them improve their writing—I learn so much! 

As we have learned in The Power of Mental Exercise, Part 1 by Ram continuing education about yoga, whether you’re learning new poses or doing them differently, studying Sanskrit, or digging into yoga philosophy, is excellent for brain health. I love that idea but I think that I'd do it even without that extra motivation because for me learning can be just pure joy. 

So, thanks to all you dear people from whom I've been learning! And thanks to all of you out there for coming on this journey with me!

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