Excerpt from the interview part of the book Guruji by Guy Donahue.

Graeme Northfield

What is the value of daily practice, day in day out, for ten years, twenty years, thirty years? What kind of inner quality is produced by long-term practice?

If we work intelligently, with daily practice we can start to understand not only what’s going on in the body, but also the fluctuations of the mind.We can start to see whether we’re lazy, if the mind is lazy or if it’s really in the body. Something that you do regularly gives us a base to work with and that continuity gives us more experience of it.Which isn’t to say that you have to practice everyday, because I also believe that somebody can practice once a week. That’s better than not practicing at all.

Do you have a sense that one is progressively going deeper as time goes by with repeated practice?

It depends on the practitioner, the intention, and how we practice.

So daily practice without a particular attitude is not going to take you deeper.


What would you say the required attitude would be?

At first it’s a letting go, a softening of our attitude. In the beginning we’re striving and working towards achieving more asanas. But one needs to completely let go of that, let go of this whole goal-oriented practice. Then we need to see our condition as we are, here and now. The next step is to actually be at peace with that, to actually accept our condition as we are here and now. And from that point, practice with feeling and connection, integrating the whole body and the breath.

Practice with feeling.What do you mean by that?

To actually feel our body, to have a sensation in our body. We can see in each asana that there is a connection from the tips of the fingers down to the tips of the toes. We can feel every part of our body and know what it is doing. That means that we are actually integrating and coming into our bodies. Westerners tend to be in their minds. It’s important that we transform from being in our heads to being in our bodies in a feeling way.

Presumably, ultimately you want to get back to the mind.

No, you want to get out of your mind.



What happens when you’ve explored the body to its fullest extent? Where does the yoga take you after that?

Oh, there’s always more.

To stay out of the mind, you have to stay in the body. We want to get out of the mind so that we can connect with the feeling in the heart.

How does that happen?

By staying out of the mind.

So by fully experiencing the body, the heart then opens?

We need to give the heart attention to start to then become conscious of the feeling in the heart.

Are there any techniques, or how is that linked in the asana practice withawareness of the body?

Letting go of the chitter-chatter (of the mind).

And then just becoming aware of what is actually being experienced in the heart.

Yes, in the body then in the heart.

Once you’re experiencing what’s in the heart, is that the end, or the beginning of another journey?

I don’t know, but I feel it’s just the beginning. Within the heart, it’s a feeling of acceptance, of non-judgment, of being present and connecting to the joy in the heart.