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.


  1. While doing a google search on quotes from Patanjali, a side bar on one of the sites listed the most popular people this week. Topping them all was Michael Jackson, followed by Kanye West. While not (entirely) disparaging contemporary minds, the sad fact is: musical pop stars are above truly brilliant thinkers such as Albert Einstein, Ralph Waldo Emerson, William Shakespeare, Mahatma Gandhi and the President of the United States, Barack Obama. So, my answer to your question is: this is the difference between Western and Eastern thought, how we rank our priorities (now, really -- Michael Jackson?!), who we look to for guidance and inspiration, what is truly important vs. material concerns, celebrity uber alles.
    Going to yoga is an exercise class, living yoga embraces the mind, a lifestyle, the healthy body, an integrated system.
    The Counter-Cultural revolution tried to get there faster and easier through mind-altering drugs. We in the West are, for the most part, still looking for a miracle drug, a magic pill. The journey is the destination, a belief in the possible, a we-centered life, not just me-centered. How do I make the world a better place? Am I just living a life of entertaining myself?

  2. Yes, we do seem to live during a time where the "cult of personality" occupies center stage. And not only performing artists, but also sports figures, too. And, even politicians. Even the occasional yogi.
    So, what is the attraction. The Law of Attraction (Karma) appears to still be active. Perhaps the foundation is values. Not necessarily the values promulgated by a particular religion or political party. Values fostered and sustained by popular media - name, fame and fortune. What about the values promoted by a Patanjali, Vivekenanda or Paramahansa Yogananda. Are we as yet sufficiently informed to debate the merits of each? How can we in the yoga community rise to such an occasion, especially if we are to exercise body and mind, heart and soul?

  3. We are living in an anti-intellectual time (the Dumb & Dumber "ideal") encouraged by the media, the former (illegitimate) President, the dominance of sports and entertainment in the culture. This shift of values is dangerous and coincides, in history, with the rise of right wing politics. There will always be progressives and enlightened thinkers. The yoga community is a small subset within that group. We can study, share, hope to engage a few minds who will, in turn, engage others. But the larger impact on society? I'm more pessimistic than when I was a teenager in a very different America of the 1960s. I've become more practical. Emerson's essay "Circles" replaced easy slogans such as "Make Love, Not War." (Ah, maybe that was Dubya's problem?)

  4. "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." Circles, Emerson

    Although all may not be interested, much less inspired, in such intellectual pursuits, I wonder if it is merely a matter of exposure. To introduce such brilliant and exciting minds to future hungry minds. Are we all made equal?

    Again, I ask, shall we more closely exam what it is that we value individually, socially? As I have the privilege to work with young children in our neighboring elementary school, I see their curiosity, their intense interest in matters of politics, religion and life. I am unwilling to pessimistically surrender, for now.

  5. I don't think there is any question that early and enthusiastic teaching and interaction will sow the seeds of intellectual curiosity, a love of learning and a secure feeling in the young that they are loved and cared for. Morally, yes, we are are "made equal" but we are not all the same, endowed with the same gifts, enjoy the same enlightened viewpoints. To quote RWE again: "Leave the many and hold the few." Do not surrender, remain optimistic and affect what you can, who you can. (those "Circles".)

  6. i found your blog on google.. Im really impressed with the topics you have..
    Ya, Exercise is very important in person's life in order to be physically fit and have a good health. One of this exercise which help us to be physically fit is the yoga. Exercise is one of the besty weapon also against illnesses and depression.

    yoga for beginners