Joyful Learning Leads to Mastery

Sun, 11/24/2013 - 13:21 -- admin

The Result of Practice & Detachment = Transformation

PatanjaliFollowing from our exploration of YS I, 12-16 in October and November, this week we continue delving into the process of transformation that comes as a result of a committed Yoga practice and cutting away the negative obstacles to that experience of Yoga.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sūtra-s (YS) I-17

Vitarka (basic) vicāra (refined) ānanda (joy) asmitā (strongly linked)-rūpa (what you want to learn) anugamāt (one follows another/step by step) samprajnātaḥ (deep Self-knowledge/wisdom/mastery)

Motivated by the Joy of learning, we will gradually progress from basic to refined levels of understanding until we attain Self-mastery.

Motivated by Joy, We Learn, We Transform

In order to learn anything, we need to love what we are doing. We need to find that Joy to feed the process of transformation. As a teacher, this is a powerful message. My students will be motivated to practice, to learn, to grow, to transform, if I skillfully provide joyful opportunities for learning. The more joyful the experiences, the more motivated we are to go through the process of transformation. More joy equals more learning!

As a student, this means to keep seeking the joyful nugget that keeps us going, especially when the going gets tough. Transformation is often challenging. There doesn’t seem to be much Joy there at times. But then, you discover the jewel, the gold that was hiding in that challenging experience. Reminding ourselves of those jewels along the way can keep us moving towards mastery.


Deep understanding of anything is a gradual process. What seemed difficult yesterday seems easy today, but then, after we surpass the plateau, something happens. We again see another level of complexity that brings us back to a beginner’s mind.

I often say that you know a student is advanced when they are seeking refinement of the basic knowledge that they have already mastered. As a beginner, we are open to learning. We want to learn it all. At some point, we become an intermediate student, when we think that we know it all, and that there is no more to learn. Then, something happens. We realize that there is still more to learn, that we need to examine the basics again and to explore more deeply. At that point, we become advanced students, who are not learning as much new material, but learning what we already know at deeper levels. We are now moving towards mastery.

Yoga Sūtra Questions What are you learning about yourself right now? Can you find the Joy in this experience to keep learning, to keep transforming?