Monday, November 23, 2009

Competitive Yoga? Olympics?

Read this recently published NY Times story and see the included video.

What do you think? Should Yoga become an Olympics event?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Patanjali's Sutras - Unplugged and Deconstructed

Although more than familiar with the 196 sutras of Patanjali's these past 25 years, of most immediate interest is the different ways in which they connect (and disconnect).

First, select 3-5 different translations and commentaries.
Then, read and reflect on the translations themselves.
Only then, consider the commentaries.
Next, perform a comparative study, referencing and cross-referencing.

What did you learn?

My sense is that we, as sincere students and practitioners of Yoga (Yuj/Union), have an obligation to ourselves and each other to balance "holy writ" with life practice. I have come to believe that Yoga practice (and philosophical study) can be indispensable instruments for not only coping, but succeeding in realizing a transformative and transcendent life experience.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gandhiji Appears on Google

Not since the appearance of modern India's other beloved transformative figure, Rabindrinath Tagore, has Google included a representative from South Central Asia in their icon.

As cultural icons, how do you think the two compare? One as a key political figure in the liberation of India; the other as a recipient of the Nobel Peace Price in Literature?

What similar historical figures existed for you in the 20th century US?

What can we learn from Gandhiji and how can we apply it to the 21st century?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bandhas/Mula Bandha

Over the past several weeks, we have been integrating Bandha practice into our Asana/Pranayama practice. First, we started with the Mula (Root) Bandha and then have worked our way upward through the body, including Uddayani, Jihva and Jalandhara Bandha. There has also been an emphasis on Ujjayi Pranayama.

As requested, I am posting one of many articles that may be found online regarding Bandha practice. I especially want to recommend the last paragraph. In particular, please consider the two concepts of Antara and Bahya Sadhana.

The link to the article is

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Life and Music/Alan Watts

Life and Music, From Recordings of Alan Watts

Does this seem strangely familiar?

Thanks J!

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Samadhi, the eighth of eight limbs (of the tree) of Patanjali's Yoga, is defined by Georg Feurstein in the Encyclopedic Dictionary of Yoga as "the final 'limb' (anga) of the yogic path."

Does this imply or infer that there is a necessary sequence in the limbs of yoga, as one might ascend a tree from below to above? For instance, is the practitioner advised to practice the 5 Yamas and Niyamas prior to moving forward into the practice of Asanas and Pranayama? And then, only then, move into Samyama (Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi)? And, of course, do not forget Pratyahara.

What was Patanjali's intent as he constructed the 196 aphorisms? And, on what basis do you support your thesis?

Maybe, we are existentially prone to enter the path to Samadhi on one of three arbitrary, yet categorical, sets of activity - Yama/Niyama, Asana/Pranayama, Pratyahara/Dharana/Dhyana.
Perhaps Patanjali constructed a sequentially efficient and systematic approach to Kaivalya (Freedom).

What do you think?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Traditional Knowledge Digital Library, India

As promised, here is the link to the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library, India.

Thanks to all for the lively and informative discussion regarding Western notions of treating Yoga knowledge as legally defensible intellectual property.

What do you think? Should it be legally defensible? Especially in the West? What do you think the Indian government's motives were in going to such an expense in neutralizing other's ability to profit from their cultural and medicinal heritage?

Thanks T. for introducing us to the database!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

Yoga Practice/Asana Practice

During our weekend classes, the relationship of Yoga Practice to Asana Practice arose.

Are Asana Practices necessarily Yoga Practices? Are Yoga Practices necessarily Asana Practices? Are most of us truly going to a Yoga Class, or are some of us simply attending an Asana Practice? Does it matter?

Maybe it does matter. Whether one is more beneficial to a practitioner is dependent on what the objectives for attendance may be. Success can be measured by the amount one realizes their objectives in any given activity.

What is our objective(s) in the practice? At times are we teachers simply fitness instructors? I identified myself as a fitness instructor earlier today and a colleague looked at me disapprovingly. Who is to say that we are not only physical fitness instructors, as well as mental fitness instructors and spiritual fitness instructors.

Is it necessary to draw deep lines of distinction between our perspectives on this subject? Clearly, no. Afterall, it is all yoga! Or, is it?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Guru - Dispeller of Darkness

During a recent conversation with a yoga teacher, the question of Guru, Swami and Rishi arose. What are the historical differences between each title?

Today, during another conversation with a different teacher, the topic of the selection process in choosing a teacher, guru, swami, etc. came up. What do you think? For instance, if a guru has traditionally been considered a "dispeller of darkness," what associations cast a light upon otherwise dark corners of one's psyche? What are the benefits of becoming a devotee? Is this notion more prevalent in the East than the West? Why?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Dhyana, Focused Concentration, Meditation...Mastery

According to Patanjali, Dhyana (Focused Concentration/Meditation) is the seventh rung of an eight rung ladder of a life practice that leads to Samadhi.

Where does Meditation fit in your overall Yoga practice?
Do you believe that it is necessary for Enlightenment?
Does it matter?

This morning, we had 17 children visit us. This is a weekly visit that involves a little Asana/Pranayama and a little philosophical discussion around the practical matters of life. Upon witnessing several of the children executing the Lotus Pose, the open discussion evolved into the issue of "Mastery". How is it that we can become a Master? What have we Mastered before? By the way, one girl said a song on the piano. We then discussed how it feels to Master some activity. Finally, we talked about what it means to Master ourselves. And, how life might be different if we acquired greater Mastery within, rather than attempting to change the outside world.

What have you Mastered? How did it feel? What place does Yoga occupy in your attempts to Master yourself?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


As is eternity to the temporal, so is infinity to the spatial.

What is mentally required of us to break free from the confines of space-time? Naturally.

When do you last recall escaping life's vice grip hold on you?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Body/Mind, Inseperable?

Is the body and the mind seperate?

Can they be, really?

As of late, I have been reflecting upon the idea of a body-mind. Especially during asana practice.

After hearing for so many years that we are all energy, I think that I finally understand. In as much as we are all layers of vibrational energy, body systems are just different frequencies of energy just as different minerals, plants and animals are different expressions of consciousness. Regardless, we still coexist in the infinite and eternal cosmic soup. All contributing to a beautiful, delicious and nutritious divine meal.

So, we are a body-mind. And, as a body-mind, we coexist (inseperably) within and without, with ourselves and each other.

More later...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Yuj, Yoga, Yoke, Unite...

Apparently, yoga was once much more than just another approach to physical fitness.

Yoga was an opportunity to yoke the "little self" inorder to free the "big self." Yet, in the West, it seems that when ever we are "going to yoga" we are going to an asana/pranayama practice.

How can we better ascend the ladder of Patanjali (the voice of the ancients), especially all 8 rungs of the ladder?

How can we ascend to Satchidananda (Bliss-Conscious-Existence) discussed by our predecessors in the East? What was once often referred to as Unity Consciousness/Cosmic Consciousness during the Counter Cultural Revolution in the 1950's, 60's and 70's.

Friday, July 31, 2009