Vijnana yoga is a practice in being present to the deep intelligence of the body – mind – heart. When the mind is quiet, the body relaxed and the breath at ease, then an intuition can surface that guides us through conscious movement, action and thought. Daily sitting, pranayama, asana, and the study of yoga texts offers a path to practice and experience this Self awakening.
As we practice we learn more about the internal space we inhabit – our thinking patterns, mood swings, emotions, and the clarity that exists within and throughout all of these ups and downs. Clarity of being begins to surface more often and with practice becomes the constant state of awareness.
Vijnana yoga is a practice that helps you find balance: between the earth and the sky – groundedness and lightness, between the internal and external experiences.
Yoga in the Vijnana style can be traced back through the lineage of T. Krishnamacharya, B.K.S. Iyengar, Dona Holleman, Orit Sen-Gupta, Gioia Irwin, and from Gioia to many teachers on the west coast of BC. Orit Sen-Gupta is the founder of Vijnana Yoga International; she compiled the Vijnana Yoga Practice Manual and the “seven essential principles” of Vijnana yoga, and she is the author of numerous yoga books. Through her previous experiences with yoga and her dedicated and intense practice of Vijnana yoga, Gioia Irwin has elaborated on her teacher’s contributions with a precise and detailed understanding of energetic and anatomical actions in the body-mind-heart. The Vijnana yoga teachers on the west coast of BC are all students of Gioia Irwin and are eternally honoured and grateful to sit at the feet of this master.
The term “vijnana” is found in the ancient yoga texts of the Upanishads referring to the vijnana-maya kosha and the vijnana-maya purusha. Vijnana is an intuitive knowing, a deep intelligence that surfaces when the body, mind and heart are united as one.
The vijnana-maya kosha is one of the five koshas or sheaths that make up the self. The koshas are the annamaya kosha: the physical body, the pranamaya kosha: the energetic body, the manomaya kosha: the mind of daily thoughts, the vijnanamaya kosha: the deep intelligence, understanding or discernment of the Self, and the anandamaya kosha: the bliss self.