Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Totally Boring Post Where I Talk Seriously About Yoga & Stuff #1

...somebody made a remark about a recent post to the effect of hey, it actually has something to do with yoga! He had a point, and it's one that strikes me at times, particularly when, having just written another post about David Bowie albums and naked hot tub parties, I see Yoga for Cynics listed under the heading of Yoga Blogs on the sites of some of its erudite and strikingly good looking yoga-blogging readers....then, to me, writing this stuff is yoga...in the sense that it's part of an ongoing attempt to be more open...positive...peaceful...all that crap....then, actually, what I don’t write...or at least don’t post...might be more significant in that regard....hell, I could spew bile all day long...and, in fact, it’s awfully tempting to spend hours every morning ranting to the wireless multitudes about everybody and everything that pisses me off...which is exactly why I don’t do that...except, of course, in the form of comments on other peoples’ blogs....

There is no one here but us chickens and so it has always been: a people busy and powerful, knowledgeable, ambivalent, important, fearful, and self-aware; a people who scheme, promote, deceive, and conquer; who pray for their loved ones, and long to flee misery and skip death.... There never was a more holy age than ours, and never a less.
Annie Dillard

Then, it’s pretty evident that yoga freaks tend to fill out a pretty broad spectrum...with what could be termed yoga fundamentalists at one end (am I getting myself in trouble yet? Probably...), with literal Hindu beliefs, hardcore vegetarianism, celibacy, and reams and reams of ancient dogma...and, at the other, people for whom yoga is a competitive sport and an excuse to buy lots of expensive and fashionable products...with the one end perhaps seeing the other as offering a badly corrupted and diluted version of a pure spiritual product coming out of the mists of a far more pure and spiritual time and place...to which those on that end might reply that they’re freeing useful practices from a tradition bogged down with myth, superstition, and outmoded ideas, as well as enhancing those practices with all the modern world has to offer....when you’re dealing with an ancient discipline that focuses on the here and now, some tug-of-war is probably inevitable...

believe it if you need it; if you don’t just pass it on...
Robert Hunter

Personally, I’ve never believed in an Indian garden of Eden that got ruined by the Western snake...nor do I get all fuzzily spiritual when surrounded with the unprecedented array of designer products now available at the local overpriced yoga boutique...neither tradition nor innovation is inherently good or bad...and the wisdom to be found in ancient texts is no more inherently valid or invalid than that found in the latest magazines...though, admittedly, both are more reliable than anything you’re likely to read in blogs....

13 comments:

Aggie said...

And I thought Yoga was a sport for contortionists!

svasti said...

For someone who accuses others of that big fat R word... Recycling... all I can say is, Ahem!!

But yeah... time for you to apply some more of what you've been learning in yoga class and via reading to yer blog, thanks!

Yoga, being a word meaning union - and Hatha (Ha + tha) meaning sun & moon... so, union of the sun & moon = left/right, male/female, inner/outer... any other pairs of opposites you care to name.

To which, then you could say - bringing the opposite aspects of your nature/personality together... so, sure. Its all kinda yoga.

My Guru suggests staying away from extremes, aiming for a middle path. Emotionally, points of view, physically, esoterically, and in all other aspects of life really.

Not sure I agree with your last comment about ancient texts, magazines and blogs.

Magazines are there to sell and be understood by the punters... ancient texts were not. However, they were/are there to be studied in depth and in context - which many western aspirants lack the time to do properly and so, the 'snapshot' version of such wisdom arises, easily digested over coffee or lunch.

Note, I'm not sayin' the content of ancient texts are more valid or anything of the sort! But often much of it is, even if some of the dogma and cultural references can be left behind.

And blogs? Well, ummm... sure, people can write anything they like but no one's paying them and yet - if a post grabs someone's attention, gets them to consider looking more deeply at a topic - more power to the bloggers, I say...

Mark said...

My son criticized me for wasting time writing a blog, but I told him it was cheap therapy. Better to try to make sense of the world than to bottle it up or just complain about it.

I've been fortunate to have yoga teachers who are at neither end of the spectrum you describe, though they might appear to be at the one when you look at them or hear them talk with one another. These ashram members make yoga accessible to people like me, which is all I need. I can take as much or as little as I want.

Can't bring myself to go to one of the closer yoga studios, which are not only more expensive, but also have people dressed in all the current garb. I want to *not* be destracted by the tangible evidence of money and the beautiful bodies in skintight clothing while I am doing yoga.

Speaking of which, it is time to work out a new schedule for the winter.

Seeing Eye Chick said...

I have encountered the phenom [or is it venom] you speak of in other venues. Its all good in a world of crutches and handbags.

Brooks Hall said...

People oriented in different ways do use the same word "yoga" to talk about or express different things, be it extreme athleticism, competitiveness, materialism, spirituality, philanthropy, writing, art, cologne, supplements, escape, life, etc.

I like to go back to translations of the ancient texts, and see myself reflected there.

Why put yourself down, Dr. Jay? Talk away...

Peace.

Mista Jaycee said...

Hey Good Morning,
I dig your blog, so rant on.
Jaycee

Tara S. Dickherber, M.Ed, CPC said...

Yoga is what you want from it. I was drawn by the title of your blog and remain a reader because you are real about you and your yoga! More power to you Dr. Jay

RBV said...

I am a person that uses my blog to rant about everything that bothers me. Instead of yoga, I agree with Mark, it's my form of therapy.

Being able to release my id in an over-the-top ridiculously exaggerated and humorous way seems to be entertaining for lots of people, and at the very least, I get it out of my system so that I can be better human being in the real world.

Seeing Eye Chick said...

You have been Tagged Dr Jay! Blogging allows me to ask lots of questions. Sometimes my questions are interesting enough that others get involved in the discussion, and even then, if not---like the others, its cheap therapy.

Ruby Isabella said...

I do yoga everyday. I stick to downward facing dog and upwarding facing dog. While I am doing this, I am not thinking about ancient indian texts or expensive products. If you are in the moment, where you come in the spectrum is irrelevant.

I see blogging as a creative outlet. Creating rather than just consuming what the mass media serves up. Blog on!

Drowsey Monkey said...

"spend hours every morning ranting to the wireless multitudes about everybody and everything that pisses me off" I'd read that blog. Seriously.

I remember one of my university classes where we were studying writings from the 2nd century. On the first day of class the Prof asked us why we assign more credibility to things written in antiquity. Excellent question. He then spent the rest of the semester proving to us that people back then were just as idiotic as people now.

Comforting, really.

RBV said...

Hey Drowsey Monkey, there are some ranters that attempt to achieve something a bit more a la "A Modest Proposal" by Swift. Sometimes the ranters are actually attempting to highlight the ignorance and shallowness of thought characteristic of so many in this day and age.

I admit, my particular blog seems ridiculous, but at most times I'm ranting in order to shine a light on society's shortcomings through satire. Try not to be so judgmental without the attempt to even discern the point.

And yes, your professor is probably right...but one of the reasons that we lend credibility to ancient texts is BECAUSE they withstood the test of time. Ergo, OBVIOUSLY someone found within them enough importance to pass them along to other people and therefore generations.

Interesting that you read a blog by someone that not only quotes but respects the great literature masters but still seem to have an issue with finding relevance within their writing.

Janet said...

Doc~ the Yoga which has been most profound for me is a dedicated practice of the 5 Tibetan Rites. It is such a wonderful integration of breath movement and structure that seems to promote well-being on many levels.

I enjoy your rants regardless of whether they're overtly concerning yoga or only in a subliminal fashion.