a yogi’s lesson in grammar

so, a friend of mine was telling me about this party he went to. of course there was a ton of alcohol and basically everyone was smoking pot. there were people doing coke–maybe harder stuff. married people were making out with other people…who didn’t happen to be their spouses. general debauchery, you could say.

i live in los angeles so, overall, this is a pretty typical scene. only thing is, this wasn’t some wild hollywood party…it was a yoga party.

so you call yourself a yogi and you still think “party” is a verb…?

the practice of yoga is a practice of self-control and personal restraint. that’s great that you can do a handstand in the middle of the room. can you live the life of a yogi? because being a yogi has nothing to do with the gymnastic tricks we affectionately call “asana”. just because it has a cool sanskrit name does not make asana the be-all-and-end-all of yoga. in fact, in patanjali’s “yoga sutra”, the word “asana” is mentioned only twice. once to introduce the concept, once to briefly define it.

ultimately, the goal of yoga is to find samadhi–inner bliss/union with the divine–a process reached through the achievement of personal integrity (yama & niyama) combined with asana (postures), pranayama (breath), pratyahara (sensory control), dharana (awareness), dyana (meditation & devotion).

it never fails to amaze me what an enormous percentage of yoga instructors and practitioners party and smoke pot on regular basis and claim that it brings them closer to god. here’s the problem with that theory: yoga proscribes that it is through disciplined control of the mind and senses that we seek to obtain the divine. when you are taking mind-altering substances, you are not controlling your mind. you are doing just the opposite. you are completely letting it go. it’s like saying that the goal of an academic class is to get 100% on an exam…and then copying someone else’s perfect paper. you may still get the 100% (if you don’t get busted by the teacher…or your own conscience), but it turns out the goal wasn’t to get 100% at all…it was to actually learn the material.

see also http://yogathletica.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/is-john-friend-just-being-a-good-yogi/.



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