"You do not need to leave your room.
Remain sitting at your table and listen.
Do not even listen, simply wait.
Be quiet, still and solitary.
The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked.
It has no choice.
It will roll in ecstasy at your feet." ■
[ source ]
I liked this quote long before I knew how cool it really was. Something about it spoke to me .. almost daring me.
And when it dawned on me .. what they were saying [.. I liked this quote without ever understanding why the yoga people embraced it, quoted it ] .. I was surprised ..
And I remember being surprised .. that anyone else could access such deep [ almost mystical? ] insights. Yes, sometimes my ego surprises even me. =)
How much self-control can such a person possess? How much discipline?
Notice how the end of the final paragraph of this article on California's Sacred Retreats says »
"A place to do what is hardest, which is nothing at all. It’s the kind of experience you’d pay anything for. You might say, in the end, that it’s priceless." ]
Naturally, I can't help but notice similar patterns with Christianity, and I found far more than I ever expected. [ Perhaps I will outline these similarities in a future entry, when I am better prepared to discuss in detail ]
But generally speaking .. yoga (the physical / stretching part) is really about the spirit, the inner-you (or God, if you like, who is IN you). In other words, yoga is really about (improving) » the meditation part.
It's a mindful thing .. where you practice the simplicity of observing thoughts as they enter and leave your consciousness .. observing without judgment. Without reacting. Simply observing. A great practice, especially for those with a critical bent.
If you fancy it a trifle, give it a try. "What? It's only been two minutes? No way! Can't be. Feels like I've been sitting here for twenty minutes."
Maria was always on the run, sun-up to sundown and well into the night. But she had a knack for being there for her friends .. whenever they really needed her.
Notice in this travel article, which takes you to the "world's best destination spa," set in the foothills of the Himalayas .. where Amanda writes » "But I'm the least likely person to come here, which is why I need it, according to my friend Susan Burks."
Pneumatic tools are AIR tools. Breath is air that we take into our lungs, which keeps us alive. So it should not surprise anybody that the word for breath and the word for spirit .. are the same word.
If you conclude (like I did) that yoga is about the body .. you're missing the whole point. Because yoga is about "sync'ing" (for lack of a better word) the spirit with the mind and body.
It took me a long time to 'get' this. That little loop-de-doo there (with the breath) is the very thing that makes yoga different from weight-lifting and even running (.. where you suck much air).
This realization of the importance of the breath should not seem farfetched .. since it is the primary indicator of life. [ "Can he fog a mirror?" ] Your breath is the #1 thing that separates you from all those folks residing at the cemetery.
Long as you can keep breathing, you can stay in your body. But when you can no longer breathe, you must leave (.. or be hooked up to a machine that breathes for you). So the breath seems important.
Well, it doesnt do this articficially. No. It actually (really) removes your ability to beathe air. Try it sometimes and you'll see what I mean.
Notice that this verse from Proverbs seems to suggest that God enlightens us and guides us thru our spirits.
Notice also that the word used there rendered and translated » 'spirit' is actually the word 'breath' in the original language.
Notice how you cannot be conscious tomorrow. And you cannot be conscious yesterday. No, you can only be conscious in the present-now.
I have a pocket daily devotional .. that I use in conjunction with my yoga sessions. Yoga a word that means JOIN or UNITE or LINK WITH. That thing-with-which we join or unite is » God. So, for me, yoga is very much about » fellowship.
If you have the Spirit of God Himself residing on the inside of you, then connecting to, and listening to, this Inner Diety should be a good thing. No?
Jesus said, "When you pray, go into you closet, close the door, and pray in secret." Notice the parallels with meditation » quiet, alone, still. Which makes it easier to hear God.
No, you don't "empty yourself" while meditating, rather you allow the chatter in your mind to quiet down ..
[ Update - here is an article that addresses the question directly, quite nicely. Expertly, even » Is yoga a religion? (San Diego Reader) ]
I find this farfetched, but a valid concern nenetheless. For those so inclined, to relate to this concern, I would suggest that they stretch mindful of the verse which tells the Christian to "glorify God in your body."
Scriptures says that the christian is to "exercise self-control in all things" .. or they risk being "disqualified". So, who would you reckon more 'qualified' ?? .. the out-of-shape person who calls himself a 'christian' ..
.. or the obviously-fit person who stretches their body is a series of poses that resemble a discipline some call » yoga? Think about it.
Note that you will also find this quote on page 46 (hard cover) of Sophy's book » For Writer's Only .. in the chapter titled » "Waiting, Spinning, Drifting". I feel grateful to Sophy for writing this book.
» No Going Back
The more yoga I do, the less it seems to be about the body (fitness) ..
Which is more difficult than you might think.
Check out these enlightening sentences from this excellent article (LATimes):
"Yoga is a range of practices that focus on controlling the body and breath as a means of stilling the mind. These practices were developed around 500-200 BC by various wandering ascetics."
For more along these lines, here's a Google search preconfigured for the query » franz kafka quotes