Vijnana Yoga is a practice of mind and body that strives for simplicity while seeking precision in posture and breath from a deep inner listening and a clear, wide view.
Our practice is based on four elements: sitting, pranayama (breathing exercises), asana (postures), and studying the written tradition of yoga. These elements of practice are carried out with a focus on the seven principles of Vijnana Yoga: relaxation, quieting the mind, intention, rooting, connection, breathing, and expanding.
Focusing on the seven principles allows us to be inwardly attentive and to see and understand from within in order to act skillfully in the world. Another unique aspect of Vijnana Yoga is the practice of the ten vayus, which developed out of the careful study of ancient texts on pranayama.
Vijnana Yoga was founded in 2003 by Orit Sen Gupta, a student of Dona Holleman, in collaboration with longtime yoga teachers. Vijnana Yoga continues the yogic tradition of Sri Krishnamacharya and his students BKS Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois.
A natural continuation of the long tradition of yoga, Vijnana Yoga is not new: The yogic concept of vijnana– understanding from inside – expresses the spirit of our practice and guiding principles. Shankara, the father of the Vedanta school of yogic thought, explains that vijnana is the understanding or knowledge arising not from external information learned from a teacher or tradition but from inner clarity revealed by personal experience. Ramakrishna reinforces this interpretation by saying that the knowledge and certainty that fire is burning wood is jnana – knowledge. But to cook rice on this fire, to eat the rice, and to be nourished by it, is vijnana – to know, experience, and understand from inside.