Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Tuesday, Feb. 7: Mindful Yoga, Mindless Yoga

In theory, yoga is about become quiet and still inside. “Yogas chitta vritti nirodah”. That’s the second of the Patanjali yoga sutras. A basic translation: “Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind.” There are a hundred and eighty or so sutras in Patanjali, and 3 are about the body postures.

So what do we have in the West? Lots of body, lots of body pushing, lots of body efforting, lots of yoga for weight loss, yoga for getting in shape ( though all the “get in shape” people drive a car to yoga class, even the ones around town who only live a ten or fifteen minute bike ride away). This is a step up for many of these people from total denial of being in a body, but we have been so trained to confuse pain with awareness, that unless the postures/poses/asanas hurt, we don’t think we are getting anything.

And yoga in the west is all about getting. There is some better shape, and strength and we have to get it. Now, as mentioned in the last chapter, improvement is actually a lot of fun and way cool, but only when we are improving on the wave of learning as fun. When we are efforting to improve so someone will like us more, or we’ll like ourselves more, or – more frequently – hate ourselves less, then the improvement becomes one more mindless task, one more job for our long day.

So you run across them all the time. The “my plate is full” people, who not only talk in clichés, but think in them as well. They are “busy,” indeed, since their life is centered around getting more, living up to others, keeping up with others, doing the right thing, fitting in.

Anything it would seem except being in the moment and experiencing now, just this now. For this, yoga done slowly and with attention is exquisite. Too bad so few take advantage of that.


At 11:03 PM , Blogger Unknown said...


You've an incredibly nice blog. Many people do not fully grasp what mind power can do to one's achievement.

At 12:06 AM , Blogger Unknown said...


You've an incredibly great weblog. To turn out to be a prosperous individual the standard thing is usually to have positive thinking.


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