How does it work?
Jnana yoga is the attainment of knowledge and understanding about who we are and what we’re experiencing. Basically, it’s about looking for the answer to the big question , “what is the meaning of life” – not just your average bendy yoga class. The process is different for everyone, but it should follow a structure along these lines: Sravanam (meaning listening) - a qualified guru will explain the teachings of Brahman – the highest and most supreme God in Hinduism. Mananam (meaning reflecting or contemplating) – a period of reflection about what you’ve learned. This time is often spent in solitude and quiet in order to think about the implications of what has been taught. It’s required to achieve full understanding of the teachings. *Nididhyasana (meaning meditating) – this step is deep and constant meditation focusing on Brahman, leading to enlightenment. During meditation, a technique called neti-neti (meaning “not this, not this”) is encouraged – whereby any distracting thoughts or emotions are patiently set aside until clarity of mind is achieved. The process may only take a few days, or may take much longer - it depends entirely on the individual.
Is it for me?
As this is a meditation-based yoga - and not one asking you to twist into unimaginable poses - it’s suitable for all ages and physical abilities. You won’t have to do any of the yoga poses but just wear something that you feel comfortable in, as meditation requires a lot of sitting still. It’s ideal for those who wish to achieve a deeper knowledge about the experience of life and the power of the Divine, and is usually delivered on a one-to-one basis with your guru. However, if you’re more inclined to view yoga as a way to tone those thighs or you’re prone to giggling in inappropriate silences – best to veer clear of this one.
Good to know
Jnana yoga dates back to the 15th century.