So here it is, feel free to dismiss it as a rant.
Something has been bugging me all week. I mentioned that I was exploring the old 'Yogi's eat once a day' adage and the response was basically questioning if this was healthy! There's this assumption that yoga is about health. Not surprising I guess, the whole health, fitness happiness thing. Is that then all this is about? really? Just getting healthy and having a better quality of life?
I started yoga/ashtanga to gain some mental clarity, some peace after being burgled, a response to rage. I'm fitter and healthier as a result but surely that's just a byproduct. Sure, yoga can help you get healthier and if that's what your after then fine, it'll do it. It'll make you think about your diet and your general outlook on life, it may well lead to an improved state of well being but is that all yoga is about really? getting healthy?
Yoga is terrifying. And so it should be. Isn't it about questioning everything you think you are, a rejection of everything you are, a denial of all that you are or at least what you believe you are?It's a confrontation. The discipline, and it's a harsh, cruel, discipline, is a preparation for that confrontation. The asana is a discipline, the pranayama is a discipline, the meditation a discipline and yes, so is the diet, the yamas, the niyamas and for my money, most of all, the pratyaharas, all discipline.
You can practice some asana to lose a little weight, to get fitter, a little healthier, such that you can go about your life a little more comfortably but yoga, surely, is a rejection, a tearing up, a destruction, denial, rejection of life itself, an attempt to transcend not just who you are but what you are, it's ontological damn it.
We know this, we've read the sutras, Upanishads, we've studied our Gita, what we're we thinking, that we could just play with asana? Just visit?
* told you it was a bit of a rant but don't take it personally, it's directed as much at myself as anyone else, It's saying Grimmly, did you think it was just about the pretty asana.
* Oh and despite the rant, I did appreciated the concern for my health and well being in the comments to the 'The Pandava's, like the yogi's, ate once a day' post