There is a woman I would like to thank, although I will probably never meet her. To be honest, I have never even seen her. I wouldn’t know who she was if she knocked on my door. My mother came home from spending a day with her sister. They had gone to a local place that has saunas and hot pools and cold pools and people misting scented water into your face. It’s the kind of place one might go to attempt to wring the stress right out of them.Read More
“There’s nothing we could know about ourselves or another that could solve the problem that other people actually exist and we are utterly depend on them.” ~ Adam Phillips
When I first began practicing yoga with others, I used to walk from my university residence to the studio in another part of town, my yoga mat bag slung over my shoulder. I would go to a class just about every day (the freedom of being a student!) and attempted to be discrete about the whole thing. “What are you carrying in the bag?” I would sometimes get asked. “An instrument?”, “A fishing rod?”, “A gun?”. “A yoga mat,” I’d say and quickly carry on away from the stranger with a perplexed look on their face.Read More
There are ten values to living yoga in our daily life – the 5 yamas and the 5 niyamas. Some of these, like non-violence and truth, are easy to agree upon. We know that a lie will agitate the mind. Inflicting violence on someone will reverberate in our bodies and will likely be followed by a torturing regret. So, while not always straight forward to follow, it’s easy to get on board the theory.
The niyama that I have had a little more resistance to is ishvara pranidhana. This is often translated as 'surrendering to god'. This word, god, brings up resistance in many of us whether we were raised with a concept of god or not. It is a word that names some thing that is, by many interpretations, unnamable, yet w know that these differences are not always easily allowed. Even within the recorded history of yoga, this niyama has been interpreted in various ways. But, there is no denying that the appearance of this term orientates some forms of yoga as theistic traditions, although much common practice and discourse nowadays abstain from this notion.Read More
Over the past couple months, I have been teaching philosophy as part of a yoga teacher training. One of the topics last week was dharana, which is a Sanskrit word that is part of the 8-fold path of yoga. Dharana is translated as attention, focus, or holding steady. This is my favorite, I said when I introduced this word, which means to say that this is an idea I am holding closely lately. Each word learned in this system is worth getting to know with more intimacy. This is the only way any sort of understanding can come.Read More
Some choices are easy to make like choosing oatmeal for breakfast or, if possible, choosing to avoid the highway during rush hour. Honey or maple syrup? Whatever is on hand, I guess. These are small and straight forward choices but bigger ones might be easy to make too. Life changing ones like where to live, who to love, what to pursue for work can be so clear to us that there’s no option of anything or anyone else.Read More