At the heart of the practice of yoga, is the cultivation of awareness. Awareness can be a felt experience, and connected to through the causal or energetic body. Awareness can be gained through the sense organs by truly hearing, truly palpating (as when adjusting), truly seeing, truly smelling.
The more skilfully aware of ourselves and others (physically, mentally and emotionally) we are, the less our vision of ourselves and others is tainted by bias, judgement, preference and pain.
This means we are simply more connected to reality just as it is. This means we can get more shit done, and what we do is more likely to generate a positive response. However, rather than awareness-seeking leading to infinite introspection, yoga is definitively a practice of action, rather than naval gazing. This is the strong message coarsely echoed again and again in the Bhagavad Gita: 'Feel, see, hear, act.. but do not attach to the feelings, vision etc'.
The rich history of yoga's ancient and modern practices and literature, offers many methods of honing our ability to become more aware. We can study anatomy and alignment. We can explore the kleshas, poisonous mental habits and chakra system. We can begin to connect to the body as more than just bones and muscle and see it as five layers of energy: pancha kosha, each with a unique function. We can explore mindfulness from the Buddhist lineage, and body scan meditations. We can practice pure listening, and pure seeing without needing to react or solve straight away.
Essentially we become more intimately aware of ourselves and others as we deepen our practice yoga. This is why practice must come before teaching. We cannot get a head start or a crash course in awareness. Just slowly, through steady committed practice on and off the mat, it builds. It can be very uncomfortable... and very joyful to be with the true nature of things and our self, but this is the heart and the art of the practice,
'Arise great warrior, arise.'