Notes to Self
Two items caught my eye on fb this week, I didn't bother to read either but the headlines have played on my mind. The first was I think attributed to a minister in the Indian government who supposedly argued that Yoga was 'Indian' and the other article suggesting that yoga would continue to evolve.
Yoga has evolved?
It's Indian, really?
Because I suspect, and I'm going to go out on a limb here ( see what I did there) and suggest that if I take for a moment the purusha/prakriti model, then my purusha probably doesn't have brown skin or white or any other colour or cultural identity for that matter but then I'm rusty on my Samkhya.
And as for Yoga evolving, Patanjali pretty much sketched out the below right, which could and lets face it has applied and continues to apply to any culture at any time.
Assuming one is a thinking thing with the capacity to self reflect then all the man in the snake skin skin boots has suggested is... take a minute.
Sometimes we just need reminding and it sounds cooler coming from somebody other than out mother. And India, well hey, it's India.
1. Reflect on and seek to practice the moral code of your culture.
2. Work on your self discipline.
3. Do some exercise of a non competitive nature to improve your health and flexibility if necessary (you might have a physical outdoorsy job for example).
4. Calm your breathing (unless you have stress free outdoorsy job ).
5. Turn inwards.
6. Focus your attention on something worthy.
7. Contemplate it and then contemplate what is contemplating what.
8. See what happens next.
Of course if you don't have the luxury of time to practice much of that and are having to work every minute, falling into bed at the end of the day exhausted, then carrying the divine around with you throughout your day may do the job just as well.
But please if you know of a culture that's been around for any length of time that doesn't have a moral code and that's not a million miles away from the yama/niyamas or has no tradition of contemplation in it's history then please, let me know.
Everything else, in whichever culture, might be considered window dressing, experimentation ( although often interesting and worthy of exploring ourselves if we have some free time not taken up by 4-7)... and team bonding. Oh and some nicely worded treatments of the above, love me some beautiful poetry and prose (especially about number 8), uplifting but really, after a bit, put the book down....
and take a minute,
or eight, or eighty.
So I'm running with the Yoga is Universal camp on this and suggesting it's hardwired into us, the manual just comes in every language ever spoken or chanted.
But perhaps I'm over complicating the matter, better to keep it simple and lose ourselves in texts and esoteric practices and cultures other than our own rather than actually....
See now I know my Ashtanga friends are getting excited, nodding their heads and muttering "1% theory, 99% practice", he gets it. Well yeah maybe but that 1% can still give us a lot of beautiful and worthy texts, our own, India's and other cultures beside that are wonderful sources of inspiration and even possible guidance, at times... And that 99%, well asana should probably be around.... well, at what percentage does it become a distraction rather than preparation?