Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Yoga or Yoga-esque?

Okay, so I believe that Yoga improves many things in life but does that mean I have to be led by the effects, like better sex, rather than focus on the practice? And, by the way, what do I believe are the effects of Yoga?

When people begin Yoga, as I did years ago, it is their expectation that will dominate what the perceived effects are for a long time. That is, if they continue. Oh, and for most it means to practice postures, or asana, which is Yoga to most of us in the West.

Our perception of Yoga is pretty much set from outside influences like media, friends or authorities we listen to. Once we are convinced to try Yoga it is against that set of values that we judge 'Yoga Styles.' It's human. We simply try something based on what we think it will do and see if it does it.

Except that Yoga is vast and has no coordinating authority to say what it is and how it shall be taught. Oh, there are some guide books that have been written over the last two thousand years, but nothing everyone agrees on.

And so we have what we've seen in movie fiction for years: True believers and rebels. In Yoga, this is always going on. Yogis are notorious for not conforming - mostly because they tend to be mystics. And mystics are True-believers having found a direct and un-mediated connection with Life, the Universe and Everything!

The rebels today are practicing 'in the style of' yoga, hence yoga-esque. Being non True-believers, of written word or authorities, they are experimenting and finding new ways and variations on the established theme.

In point of fact, to most other humans on Earth they are doing the same things! From a distance, most non-yoga humans don't see much difference.

Indian philosophy talks about actions that appease the pleasure in the body/mind, bhogakala, and actions that appease the spiritual heart/soul, yogakala. The True-believers tend to get angry at Bhogi's because they believe they are missing a great opportunity to use their talents to reach Enlightenment. Bhogi's don't seem to mind looking good, feeling good, but not doing 'good' Yoga!!! But that seems to be the nature of rebel yoga practitioners.

Recently, it has come to light that Yoga as we know it today may really be physical yoga based on european exercise regimes. This would seem to throw a kink in those in the US especially who thought they were True-believers but now may be marginally self-aware rebels because the True True-believers are Vedantic or Raja Yogi's.

What a predicament you've gotten us into now. But this has been the way of Yoga for millennia and we, the practitioners of today, are not exempt from this quandary.

So what's the deal? The deal is to keep doing while awake. The deal is to observe how our expectations sort out our experiences into value groups and how that has an effect on our lives. The deal is to develop a sense of discrimination over time that will help us see all of this clearly. The deal is to do without judgement but with a clear mind and see where it takes us.

And that's all I got because that's all I expect... to see clearly.