Purpose of ritual

The purpose of ritual is described in the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali: a farmer need not understand the science of agriculture to perfect their crop if they perfectly perform the rituals of tillage, sowing, cultivation, irrigation, pest management, and harvesting as instructed by agronomists and senior farmers. The sunlight will still be converted into hydrocarbons, even if the farmer does not know what these things are. This said, however, the farmer who would perfect their rituals must learn something of the science they would practice. This is not a "must" in the sense that they are obligated to, but that such knowledge naturally arises after gradually more and more perfect practice.

It is not the farmer who makes their crops grow, nor their rituals. Their rituals are designed by agronomists to permit the conditions necessary to the success of the crop: the field is prepared for the roots, the seed protected from birds and mice, the water provided before the plant grows thirsty (without drowning it), the weeds cut down and the pests defended against, the fruit collected without damage or waste. It is not the farmer who gives the green color to the leaves of their crop!

So too must the Yogi, at first, study and practice ritual, by the guidance of senior Yogis, by the guidance of the Dharma. By such practice perfected will the Yogi harvest the fruit of their effort. By perfecting strength and power the Yogi may manifest true self-control. Then they shall have a new and finer body, mind and heart: such a Yogi shall have become a Brahman. Not by the rituals of Yoga, but by the conditions that the rituals have permitted.

We are fortunate at Loka Hatha Yoga to have so many excellent teachers and students of Yoga. This is the requisite condition for a happy new year.

We encourage you to continue to work together where you have been working together, and to reach out and discover new friends to work with as well. The more that we live and work together the better we shall perfect our Yoga.