• Don’t Fool Yourself: This is Real Yoga, MANTRA YOGA + HEALTH MAGAZINE, DECEMBER 2013

    Posted in Articles by Eric Shaw

    michael_franti_side_mantra41

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Read it at Mantra Yoga + Health Magazine

    Full Text: 

     

    Don’t Fool Yourself. This is Real Yoga.

    Know who you are. Know who you’re not

     

    By Eric Shaw, MA.RS, MA.SE, MA.AS, E-RYT 500

    .

    .

    I have spent 28 years in alternative religious communities and as yoga sinks roots into US soil, I have seen how it imitates the mainline faiths now woven into culture.  

    .

    Like Christianity and Buddhism, yoga is primarily an otherworldly tradition.  

    .

    Following the footsteps of its sister traditions, it’s now a worldly one.

    .

    In yoga we learn to take care of our health, to feel good about personal development, and to connect with a social circle.  That’s worldly practice.  

    .

    We come and go as we please, we pay attention to the wisdom teachings or we don’t, and we have no guru lording it over us. 

    This is exoteric practice.  The mysterious auras of esoteric knowledge and practice styles hover over exoteric yoga, and inform its shallower teachings.  They lend it charisma.  Ninety percent of yoga in America is “religion lite” or “self-transformation lite” like going to church on Sundays, sitting in a pew to sing songs, and hearing a homily is, too.  

    .

    Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not complaining.  I’m sitting in my corner of the yoga world clapping my hands, jumping from my seat and waving my arms.  I’m stoked that yoga has become exoteric, mainstream, public, orthodox, and available to all. 

    Arguments crowd the blogosphere over what’s authentic, what’s traditional and what “real” yoga “should” be.  That’s all eyewash from where I sit.  What you’re getting at your neighborhood studio is real yoga.

    .

    This is the new tradition.  We’re here.  We’re square.  Get used to it.

    .

    I have taught yoga in India and learned from Indian gurus. I have spent decades studying the textual tradition in academic settings.   I’m not trying to fool you or me.

    .

    The yoga of guru-diksha (complete surrender to a teacher) and daily, full-body practice in which the pleasures of sex and social prestige and the distractions of movies, ice-cream, water-skiing, and brew parties at the beach are forsaken is utterly alien to Modern Postural Yoga.  I respect and honor those who are authentically sacrificing kama (pleasure) for moksha (liberation). 

    .

    At the end of the day, let’s not confuse ourselves that we are practicing that when we are not.  Accept your lot and your limits and your choices in this lifetime to bypass spiritual practice for worldly practice, or—if you really want to find a guru and do the real deal—bypass worldly practice for spiritual practice. 

    .

    We’ll all get there in the end.

    .

    Next lifetime, maybe it will be different. 

    .

    Respect your limits in this incarnation.

    . 

    Respect yoga and all its beautiful forms.  Love life and its lovely options.  Love.  Respect. And make getting to happiness, wellness and freedom from suffering a whole hell of alot easier.

  • There are no responses so far.

    Leave your response

Share This