By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
If you are deciding which Yoga book to buy for your collection, choose a book that will captivate your imagination, and suit your needs. On the subject of reading books: It has been a life long passion for some of us. Yet, it is not the number of books you read, but how you apply them to your life and the lives of others around you, which makes a difference.
The practical application of what you learn is more important than the quantity of books you read. So, the question is: How will you put the knowledge you learn to good use? To take an extreme view: If a homeless man reads personal finance magazines every day, he has educated himself, but he has not applied any of the advice.
You would be surprised what the homeless know. I knew a man who was homeless, yet he was very familiar with the “ups and downs” of the stock market. How did he learn so much? He pulled the Wall Street Journal from the trash and mentally absorbed it. Unfortunately, he never applied the knowledge he learned.
This is a critical point to understand. Knowledge is like a bank savings account – You have to save, but you also have to put your savings to good use. In the words of Andrew Carnegie, “I resolved to stop accumulating and begin the infinitely more serious and difficult task of wise distribution.”
To learn knowledge, without applying it to life, is a waste. It is not intentional, in most cases, but what a shame it is to know so much and not be able to help anyone with it. An example would be a student with 1000 hours of yoga teacher training, who practices alone and never shares his or her knowledge. In fact, the proliferation of books has caused students to share Yogic knowledge amongst each other and created the growth of yoga instructor training courses.
Within Yoga, today, are so many good books to read, which were not accessible to many of us a few decades ago. Some texts have been in existence for thousands of years, but local libraries did not have much on the topic of Yoga. At that time, we did not have video recorders, DVDs, Internet access, eBooks, MP3 Downloads, smart phones, or Yoga audio books. Yoga teacher training was a a much slower process without the learning tools we have today.
So, what did Yoga teachers do? When we acquired a book, we analyzed it by hand, and read a little. We made sure it would suit our needs, before we checked it out of the library, or purchased it from a book store. The reason is simple – If we buy or borrow any kind of a book, the value of our time is magnified by our complete comprehension and the ability to put it to practical use.
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