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  #16  
Old 03-17-2013
caronis caronis is offline
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caronis
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I will add another post at some point that will be more concrete in what I want to say about my Yoga practice, but for now I want to add more spice to the spiritual dish we've been having.

I believe Yoga is riddled with contradiction and with that "spirit" my comments will be both complimentary and critical.

For one thing, Yoga seems to encourage stretching and exerting yourself beyond limits to get a point where you can be relaxed and release yourself into the Pose. Somehow, I think I understand this, yet it is contradictory. It emphasizes getting to a point of great flexibility before you can truly benefit from Yoga.

Also, there have been many examples of Yogis coming to the US and behaving in a way that is contradictory to the ideal. Yoga seems to have a goal of being without ego, yet many of these Yogis get seduced by power, sex, and money. I can't fault them too much because temptation is a tough drug to kick. I find it so ironic,though, that people in all different types of religions are so much into sex.

I am going to read this book about Bikram who is the one who does the Hot style of Hatha Yoga. He is so egotistical that it's cartoonish. He also, like many other men who teach Yoga, take liberties with their female followers.

Also....years ago I saw this documentary that was about Iyengar. It was so interesting that in New York City students were literally lining up to kiss this man's feet. This one woman was saying how she didn't feel comfortable doing that. I really applauded her because she was sticking true to her values without succumbing to the pressure.

Anyway, another point of contradiction is that Yoga, as it was originally practiced, was to improve the physical and mental health not as a goal unto itself, but because it was felt that a healthy mind and body are more conducive to spiritual growth.....Yet ironically, the ultimate goal seems to be in liberating the spirit from the body, regardless of it's health.

I find the murky mystique in which Yoga operates to be annoying, but I do have several complimentary things to say about it.

For one thing, it does seem to do something very positive to the body, whether research has shown this or not. Perhaps it lubricates the joints, particularly in the spine. There is no blood supply to the discs and lifting in the spine, twisting, etc. seems like it's a way to get "juices" to that area. People who are accomplished in Yoga really have good bodies. Now, is it the Yoga that creates the good body? Or is it that the good body tends to do good in Yoga. I think it's the Yoga.

Also....as far as the Hinduism roots of Yoga. I respect it because it incorporates a physicality and there is also a very aesthetic aura to it with the incense, art, music, etc. Religions tend not to respect the body. It's as though spirituality is supposed to be completely distinct and separate from the physical. Yoga, ultimately wants a release from the body, but at least it values being in fit shape. I'm an athlete. I get immense pleasure from physical pursuits and don't think there is anything wrong with that. It's like the way some people get a spiritual lift from playing music; all the power to them.

I want to say, though, that I do believe that it is important to have enough of a "spiritual" sense or whatever, to not be too trapped within the body. I will give a very concrete example of this....There are numerous examples of people who have been crippled that end up committing suicide. Offhand, I can think of some guy who did BMX Extreme Sports that ended up injuring himself to the point of being confined to a wheelchair. He ended up ultimately killing himself. This is what happens when people can only value life through physical means. They have a limited capacity to fully enjoy a "WHOLEsome" life. If Yoga can allow people to reach a high spiritual plane, or better yet, just to be happy, then that's a great goal to have.
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