To learn: to gain knowledge or skill by studying, practicing, being taught, or experiencing something: to cause (something) to be in your memory by studying it: to hear or be told (something) : to find out (something).
How do we learn yoga?
By going to class?
By practicing a sequence of poses?
By following instruction?
By achieving the pose?
By remembering the postures from one class to the next?
Sure, these are all part of it. But in the alignment-based technique, we are asked to progressively refine and deepen our capacity to learn over time. This means we become students by not only showing up to learn and “do” yoga, but also by learning how to learn it.
Learning how to learn yoga requires willingness, openness, curiosity, humility, persistence and much more. It asks that we let go of what we think we know about our selves and the subject for the sake of investigation and inquiry. It takes focus and willpower to bring the mind into the body, reining in the energy of the senses and becoming ever more sensitive and present along the way.
In doing all this, of course, we can’t help but meet our selves and bump up against our resistances and limitations. We learn how to meet our reactions with patience, compassion, courage, humility, steadfastness and a host of other virtues that serve us so well in living a more conscious life.
In learning how to learn we open the door to shifting our practice from a physical regime to a path of evolution and self-development. The gifts, of course, are precious, varied and perhaps beyond what we might have expected. They include a deeper sense of self-knowledge that allows us to move beyond limiting patterns and an inner richness and fulfillment that gets reflected in our outer experience of life.