Monday, December 19, 2011

The Yoga Cynic Speaks of Rivers* (and “Real Yoga”)


It’s comin’ on Christmas, they’re cuttin’ down trees
They’re puttin’ up reindeer, singin’ songs of joy and peace,
Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on...

Joni Mitchell

I am the river, and, therefore, a connecting thread between the living and the dead, just like the stories that speak to us in the night, I take on the likeness of past times and past events too, I am the river. But the river is just the river. Nothing more.
Javier Marías

...was in the café, post-meditation, imbibing that special kinda prana known as coffee...when this guy at the next table started talking about yoga...specifically, real yoga****...

...if you feel the need to brag about your practice, it’s probably nothing to brag about...
Ancient and Revered Yoga Cynic Sutra 451:968

...how great, generally, his practice is...how any real yogi is vegetarian...how much better ashtanga is than other kinds of yoga... how much better ashtanga yoga is than sitting meditation...since, y’know, anybody can sit in a dark room*****....somewhere in there, I turned my headphones back on...(one o’ those yamas or niyamas has gotta say something about eavesdropping)...



* apologies to Langston Hughes...**

** and, yeah, I know, apart from the quotes, the post really doesn’t have anything to do with rivers*** (that’s not even a river in the picture...it’s the Wissahickon Creek...though it did get pretty river-like last summer when it flooded)...

*** or maybe it does....whaddaya want me to do?!...explain my metaphors to you?!...

**** real yoga (noun): the kind of yoga I happen to practice. (antonym: whatever kinda yoga you happen to practice) (courtesy, the Yoga Cynic’s Dictionary)

***** leaving me thinking that, given how much difficulty I’d experienced sitting in a semi-lighted room for forty-five minutes, struggling with drowsiness, a laundry-list of physical discomforts, and a, one might say, river of past, present, and future troubles, a mere hour or so before, I may just barely qualify as anybody...******

****** which, now that I think of it, could mean I’m on the threshold of transcending individuation and a realizing ultimate oneness with the universe....have to look that one up...

9 comments:

Meredith LeBlanc said...

I am the River.

I love that.

And I'd rather sit in a dark room meditating doing the real work. Just sayin', that's how a roll my practice.

Kate said...

I almost wish we could abolish the word "real." Real women, real men, real yoga, blah blah blah. (And by blah blah blah I mean bullshit.) We're all real. None of us has it all figured out. Especially not me -- I guess I'm imaginary!

Love that song, btw. Embarrasing, but I love the Robert Downey Jr. version of it (and bought it on iTunes.)

sarahb said...

Is this the debut of the Yoga Cynic’s Dictionary, or I'm not paying attention. Nice trifecta of 1. footnote(d) 2. definition, followed by 3. YC sutra

the walking man said...

So uhh how was the coffee?

Kim said...

There are too many holidays when that Joni Mitchell song strikes a chord like you wouldn't believe.

There's no such thing as real yoga because there is no such thing as fake yoga. At least, I don't think there is.

LauraX said...

real yoga...hmmm...fully present in one's body, heart, mind? probably real then...just sayin'

earthtoholly said...

....somewhere in there, I turned my headphones back on... This gave me a giggle, drjay, 'cause I often get impatient with similar folks...

And I like that sutra...holds true to any "practice"--yogic or not.

Lydia said...

Wow, I don't have a gizmo with earphones so I'd have been sh__ out of luck if trapped there with my cuppa.

I hope to replace the imaginary yoga I practiced this year with some semblance of a home practice in the new year. I need it.

Your photo of the creek is just beautiful. It immediately reminded me of a marvelous work by Mason Williams titled: Of Time and Rivers Flowing. Just the right mood music for that creek-that-looks-like-a-swift-river.

Mattress store said...

That's wonderful and well-written!