Yoga has become a multibillion dollar industry, owned and operated primarily by women in the Americas. The unique history of this modern phenomenon is a story in itself.
For several years, as I studied and practiced yoga, I would find myself moving from a yoga pose into picking up a dust ball I’d spied while in headstand or transferring the laundry from washer to dryer. My reasoning was that I was “covering the poses and getting in some time on that mat” and clever me — “multi-tasking at the same time!”
BKS Iyengar, the legendary yoga master, in his 93rd year in Pune India, describes prana as the breath of life of all beings in the Universe. We are all born into prana and when we die our individual breath merges with the cosmic breath. But how is one able to approach the invisible and mysterious universal soul?
The fastest growing age-group coming to yoga is mid forties to sixties. Perhaps that is because Iyengar teaches yoga that anyone can do. Maybe you’ve had luck but are now facing the effects of a stiff and aging body and the attendant discomforts.
The Dalai Llama suggests that we do something new every year at the very least. My first spiritual teacher, a fierce Buddhist nun of German heritage, reflected on a life of exploration and taught that our spirits are nurtured by experiencing this beautiful planet as fully as we can.
A friend and fellow yoga practitioner was enjoying a run along the beach in Southern California. She noticed a billboard inviting viewers to come to a yoga class. The sign said No Savasana! No Chanting!
When I began to meditate I had the hope that I could explore some of the inner workings of my mind and find something of interest there. After all; meditation is simple, right? Simple? Yes. Easy? No.
In the heat of revved-up current information barrages, lists make sense. We can scan and absorb them faster than denser prose. I recently visited some of my favourite lists. And I don’t mean the ones for groceries and yard care. No, I mean the ones that give me a thinking tune-up and catch me at mind tricks that don’t serve me well.
In a yoga class more than 2 years ago, while in a deep variation of parsvottanasana, a forward bending pose that takes trunk to forward leg, a student felt the tell-tale tweak of a hamstring injury. Yikes! Immediately I found myself both responding to the pain and likely weeks of rehab as well as the question: ‘Whose fault is it?’
In his autobiography, My Experiments With Truth, Mahatma Gandhi narrates his experience with eating meat, smoking, drinking, stealing and subsequent atonement. Later, in his reformed adult life (he wrote the book in his early 20’s), he gave himself the challenge to practice absolute truthfulness about these behaviours and much else.