Welcome, salutations, and namaste my fellow yogis -
This seems as appropriate a way as any other to welcome you to the beginning of an exploration of one young man upon the Path - a journey and open soliloquay, if you will - into the sublime and seemingly unfathomable world of yoga. Its clouded and ancient past as well as its new home as we find it today in our country: an ancient psycho-spiritual practice of transformation and liberation finding its place in a modern, technological, fast paced, western capitalist country. And this place has by no means been found thus far.
Perhaps a bit about myself to give the journey some context:
Although spending the last 14 years studying music and eventually teaching and playing guitar professionally, my interest in studying meditation and eastern thought began roughly around the age of 8 or 9 through studying Japanese history and Zen Buddhism. This was the gateway into an entirely new world of thought, feeling, and possibility that somehow felt strangely familiar and very much like home. Along with practicing meditation for many years, my curiosity and insatiable love of reading led me by the hand to any area I thought would aid in my understanding of the transformational process I seemed to have been drawn into since those quiet beginnings as a young boy reading about his beloved samurai: eastern philosophy, western philosophy, science, comparative religion, mythology, literature, sociology, anthropology, psychology, history, economics, politics. Eventually, my journey brought me face to face with that most imaginative, perplexing, and towering megalith of the east - Hinduism. Specifically, the study of various kinds of yoga.
So here I find myself today - a 27 year old man beginning the next great phase of life with an entire change in lifestyle and career in which the practice and study of yoga has already proven to be a great spoke in the wheel of Life. And its place becomes more important and foundational with each passing day. My deep hope is that this blog shall serve as a fruitful ground for exploring and sharing my thoughts and experiences as I delve deeper into the practice, study, and teaching of yoga. And, if luck is on my side, it will also prove to be a catalyst of thought and growth for others exploring the same Path.
It doesn't take much involvement in our society's hatha yoga community to see a basic rift that lies at it's heart - is yoga just a physical pursuit or is it inherently a spiritual practice? The growth of yoga's popularity shows no sign of slowing down and it's commodification as a product for economic gain will concurrently arise along with it.
Where does that leave a practice that historically has been fueled by the desire to transcend the obsessive pursuit of "worldy" desires to achieve liberation and union with the Divine in this life?
How does our history as a capitalist country affect the practice of yoga and are these effects inevitable?
What does modern western science and medicine have to say about the practice of yoga and it's benefits?
Does the growth of psychology and psychotherapy over the last century and a half have parallels in the practice of yoga and how can these two inform each other in our modern world?
Can yoga provide some kind of antidote to the anxiety, fear, and uncertainty in a modern world that moves ever faster?
Does a deeper practice and study of yoga change the way we see ourselves and the world around us? And what are the effects if it does?
With an average ratio of about 6 to 1, how does a predominantly female community look through the eyes of 27 year old male?
How does an enormous amount of variety in age and body type change the practice of yoga? How can we minimize the risk and maximaze the benefits in our practice physically, mentally and emotionally?
These questions, along with hopefully many others, are what I hope to explore in this blog. Not answer but at least engaging the mind, heart, and body into new realms of yoga through their exploration. And, as all great questions inevitably do, they will most likely leave us with only more questions at the end of each inquiry.
Along with these, I hope to also share basic observations and experiences involving the physical aspects of the practice, pranayama, and any other aspect of the practice that may not be mentioned here.
So, in the hopes of creating an auspicious beginning for this journey, allow me to set an intention as one would at the beginning of any practice of yoga -
"May I be in the World as I am in my practice - steady, joyful, courageous, and compassionate.
May my practice contribute to the liberation and joy of all beings."
Until the next time,
Namaste and godspeed to you all!