Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Yoga is this: Joining.

Yoga is this: Joining.

Some say it’s “controlling,” controlling the body with the mind or controlling suffering, pain or desire. It’s taking control of your life with discipline. To yoke suffering and ride it out of town, John Wayne style. Samurai style.

And yeah, the classic texts, the yoga sutras and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika are filled with that: abstentions, observations, controlling the breath controlling the mind, controlling the body: no stuff, no wanting, no senses, no sex (yikes!)

I’m sure somebody needs that, but I think I’ve already got enough coercion in my life.

Others say forget the yoke, forget the control, yoga is joy. It’s ananda, samadhi, bliss. So says Steve Ross, and he’s bad-ass. So says Pantanjali and well, he’s the “father of yoga.”

And, I kind of like that: “yoga” as this bubble of love and light where pain and suffering become meaningless. And I don’t doubt that it’s possible. I’ve known people who were there in one fashion or another. And hell, I’m sure yoga can get you there a lot safer than heroin or crack can.

But I’ve got rent to pay. And whether I’m strung out smack or a love and light trip I don’t think you want me driving. Anyway, I don't think that's what Steve Ross wants me to do either.

So that brings me here: Yoga is joining.

Here’s how I take it, whether it’s joining “earth and heaven,” “Ha” (sun) and “tha” (moon, gives you “hatha”) or yin and yang…

for me it’s about finding your balance.

Heaven energy, or sky, or mind can take you anywhere. It can take you on the love and light trip or to a union with god or exploring infinite internal metaphors of creation—and I don’t doubt that they’re every bit as real and meaningful as my thumb is. And there is infinite wisdom there, yes…

but it won’t wash my dishes.

Or feed me, (unless I’m a real scoundrel—there are plenty in the world today who think they can buy wisdom and just as many who are willing to sell it.)

Anyway, paying the rent takes body. It takes earth. It takes learning to recognize a grounded energy that means you’re right here right now. And to me, “yoga’ teaches us to bring that infinite mind into the grounded now, with just the right balance, anytime you need it.

Now that’s wisdom I can use to pay my rent, wash my dishes and feed myself.

Quick, think fast: you’re in warrior 2 pose. Your arms are killing you and your front leg is starting to tremble. Where do you go? Up into your head, into the love and light trip? Do you “deaden the senses” and swim of into a sea of never-ending bliss?

Quick think again: your family is in crisis, a loved one has died, a friend is in danger, you lost your job, your family needs you… Where do you go? Up into the heavens? Union with god? That sea of never ending bliss?

Or do you come back to the mat? Do you explore the infinite inside this moment? You feel the grounded prana (energy) connecting from foot to foot and up your spine, supporting your shoulders, and that red fiery energy of lactic acid buildup warming your muscles? Do you live in that breath, the basic pulse of life and explore that wisdom inherent in the now? Do you bring that creative mind together with the creating energy of body?

And yeah, what you learn from that moment and what you need to learn will be different for everyone, and every moment: sometimes it’s a shot of bliss, others need a pint of control, sometimes it’s a little abandon and others a little discipline but there’s a joining together that means balance and for me that’s “yoga.”

It’s an exotic sounding word for a simple thing: be in your body, right now. Learn.

At least that’s what I’m trying to do.

NOTE: the Perry Ferrel picture is a postcard for sale at gorey details. And yes, it's very cool.

No comments:

!-- Site Meter -->