Surely you are familiar with the figure of speech, ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’. The phrase was in common use as early as the 17th century, and the word ‘Jack’ in those days was a generic term for ‘man’.
‘Jack of all trades,’ was used in reference to a person who spends so much time learning new skills that they couldn’t possibly be an expert in any particular one.
Sayings and terms resembling ‘Jack of all trades’ occur in almost all languages, making it appear that this colloquial piece of wisdom has been gleaned from keen observation of general human behavior the world over.
The yoga industry is no exception, and I believe this same superficial manner of approaching the practice of yoga is becoming a real problem.
In days past a yoga practitioner would spend their entire lifetime mastering (at most) a handful of powerful tools, and it was only through this dedicated relationship that were they able to experience the true essence of the practice. Yogic techniques were guarded like treasured gems and shared cautiously only with earnest seekers who were truly ready to accept the teachings.
Today the doors of the eastern temples have been blown open. Once secret practices are now shared with anyone and everyone with a wifi connection, and yoga teachers sprinkle their classes with tools and techniques that they themselves do not understand.
What, you may ask, could be the possible risk of overexposure to potential paths for self-realization? The answer is simple. If you dabble in too many methods, you achieve depth in none. As a result, nothing happens. The techniques simply won’t work.
With this in mind, perhaps the most abused of all teachings in modern yoga is the art of pranayama, or conscious yogic breathing.
Cautions abound in traditional yogic literature encouraging the wise practitioner to slowly and carefully tame the subtle rhythms of the breath. A high level of posture practice was considered a necessary prerequisite, for just as the tensions in your physical body are but a reflection of deeper currents in your mental and emotional state, the qualities of your breath are an even more direct and immediate means of revealing inner conditions of consciousness.
Mastering the body is hard enough, just ask anyone who has practiced Adamantine® Yoga for some time, but manipulating the breath takes even greater awareness. A few simple techniques could take a lifetime of practice.
I’ve been invited to present a workshop on yogic breathing later this week, and I plan on revealing the inner mechanisms that make pranayama so powerful. In the process of crafting the discipline of Adamantine® Yoga I made conscious choices on which methods I believe are most effective, and I plan on detailing the specifics of my unique approach.
If you wish to discover a simple, progressive method for mastering both your body and your breath, please consider joining me this coming Thursday, March 24th, at 6:15 pm CST, as we broadcast this event live via Periscope. If you’re not already on Periscope, please join us by following Adamantine Yoga and be sure to turn your notifications on to be alerted when we begin.