Jnana Yoga - Yoga of Intellect, wisdom

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By Jigyasu Bhakti Ratna (Kate Woodworth) - Kate is a senior yoga teacher and yoga therapist from Yoga Vidya Gurukul (, she is teaching and practicing yoga for the last 10 years. She is also Resident Officer at Yoga Vidya Gurukul. She is initiated in to Jigyasu Sannayasa by her Guru Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati. 

Who am I? - The Practice of Jnana Yoga

Jnana Yoga, the yoga of knowledge. It is intuitive, enlightening knowledge which is gained from enquiry and insight. It is a process of slowly discovering the nature of our personality with intellectual guidance. There have been many famous Jnana yogis who have defied logic. They gained knowledge through intuition and by seeing something that was not defined by the existing, accepted knowledge of the time.

For those who want to devote their lives to Jnana yoga they need to have a strong desire for knowledge and answers. They need to question everything and be completely absorbed and involved with finding the answers. For many they naturally have a personality like this and are best suited to this path of yoga. Preconceived ideas must be thrown away, anything that you don?t know to be true from past experience. Clean the mind, get rid of the conditionings of the mind and start afresh. This doesn?t mean you shouldn?t believe anything, some things, if experienced by thousands of people should be accepted. If someone tells you that the cobra is deadly and that you shouldn?t touch it, accept it, it makes life easier. But if someone says to you that you have a soul, question it. With most topics you will have to accept as there is no point in testing everything, but when it comes to the subject of reality, here you should clean your mind and question everything. It is easy to believe in something, it is hard to believe in nothing. Personal experience is necessary to be able to change, evolve and understand.

After rejecting we must enquire. Who am I is the most famous question. Remove any definitions you may have on your existence. A Jnana yogi must become obsessed with realising his true nature. Reflection will lead to flashes of intuition which will lead to answers. Reject what others have said, continually enquire.

It is a difficult path, and not for all. But it doesn?t mean that we can?t all practice some Jnana yoga in our lives. There is a simple technique, suitable for all, a technique of enquiry and reflection. When you are preparing to go to sleep think of one thing, what you did that day. Start from the beginning of the day, when you woke up. Take a step back and observe yourself, relive every moment of that day, like it is a film. What were your thoughts, actions, feelings, interactions with others, various interactions that occurred throughout the day, behaviour, attitude etc. How did you react to the different situations that you were faced in? Don?t judge or become upset by the way you were, just accept and move to the next situation. After this make a resolve to be more balanced the next day, to react in a more pleasant, controlled and balanced way. Practice this every night before sleeping and you will find that your interactions with people and the environment will become more and more balanced, as well as giving you a greater and deeper understanding of yourself. It will make you more accepting as well as helping you to deal with difficult situations with an open, accepting and positive mind.

By Jigyasu Bhakti Ratna (Kate Woodworth)

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