Sunday, August 28, 2005

various amusing yoga topics

"yoga is steadiness, not speed. . ."

i certainly hope to be doing some of these poses when i'm 80! however, the "confounding" belly motion mentioned in the article is, i think, the trusty old nauli.

when i first started this blog, dear readers, i would on occasion get cranky email from various religious people warning me that yoga was pagan evil that would surely destroy america. of course, these souls were completely ignorant of the strong genre of christian yoga.

a very nice lady minister, nancy roth, wrote a wonderful book about it; and i'm glad to see that it's catching on.

hey -- do your yoga however it best appeals to you! patanjali writes in the yoga sutras that the object of your meditation in yoga can be anything that calls to you individually (pada 1, sutra 39).

it could be ganesh, jesus, chocolate chip cookies, or the mathematical beauty of the universe. whatever: it's all up to you, since patanjali makes clear that the practice of yoga has no inherent religious content.

his sutras pretty much assume that a "vibration" or "consciousness" in a "higher plane" is a fundamental human intuition, but patanjali doesn't say who or what that might be. it could be the quantum energy in the 10th dimension of string theory, you know?

it's true that most english translations use the word "god" for some of patanjali's terms -- even so, i remain confused that christians would object to this or to the term "surya namaskar" (the sun salutation, surya being the name of the traditional hindu sun deity). if there's only one god, as they believe, does it matter what a person might call him or her in their particular language?

in hinduism itself, surya is often considered a "person" or "aspect" of the main deity, as the individual understands that. to draw a parallel with christian thinking, this is like discussing the holy spirit as a "person" of god.

(actually for those who enjoy this kind of philosophical discussion, an interesting conversation could be had on the subtle similarities and differences of the notions of atman and the holy spirit, actually. but you know me -- in general, i prefer to talk about coffee. . .)

i remain constantly astonished that otherwise well-educated people don't seem to understand that hinduism -- not that i'm a hindu, not at all -- is an enormous and beautiful philosophical system that encompasses the notion of monotheism in terms such as "brahman" and the "atman."

so i think the "controversy" in the time article above is pretty meaningless. everybody has to do their own yoga, end of story.

posted by fortune | 2:36 PM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 0 comments

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