Aadil Palkhivala, former student of BKS Iyengar and founder of Purna Yoga, always manages to distill the essence of yoga eloquently and passionately. Recently, I asked this master teacher a few questions about his new book, Fire of Love: For Students of Life, For Teachers of Yoga.
Q: You've said that "yoga is not to be performed: Yoga is to be lived." What does this mean?
A: Performing yoga is aggrandizing the ego. When yoga is done for perfection of posture, it is done for somebody else, the show, the façade, the appearance. When we live yoga we are working for the very reason our spirits took birth in human form. Therefore, performance is a waste of time. Living yoga alone is meaningful.
Q: As yogis, how can we bring what we learn onto the mat into our lives?
A: While practicing asana on the yoga mat, we learn how to focus, how to be nonviolent, how not to cheat one part of our body to favor another part. We learn how to do the bandhas to control our sexual energy, how to be content with what we can do today and not be forever greedy. These are the lessons of the yamas. Bringing these lessons into our life makes the practice on the mat meaningful.
Q: Can you explain the title of your book, "Fire of Love?"
A: During deep meditation, when I look inside myself, I see several fires burning. They include the fire of creativity, of passion, of power, of expression, of thought. To me, the most sacred of these is the one that burns in my Heart Center, the Fire of Love. Hence, the name of my book.