Chances are if you have never done Yoga and your flat-mate repetitively invites you to go with her to her power Yoga class “and you will most definitely feel better about your recent pink slip,” you might start wondering what in the hell is so “good” about Yoga and why 16 million American do it daily.
Well, if that is indeed somewhat similar to what has been happening, you have two options here: Keep wondering and let your flat-mate go her way to “crazy sweat and stretch class” or take a similar approach to the one Nic Rosen chose in “Enlighten Up!,” a new Yoga documentary just out in movie theater in D.C. today.
If you chose the first option, do not read ahead. Go sit on the couch and pup open that beer can you have been waiting for all day long at work and watch some “real” TV. If you decide to go with option two, keep on reading.
You have just seen your flat-mate come back home sweaty and serenely smily holding a roll-up plastic mat, and you have made eye contact with her on the elevator, but she gave you this “funny glare” and then “floated” away in her tight capri pants to her apartment door whispering something that sounder very much like N.E.S.T.L.E, but most likely was N.A.M.A.S.T.E. (a Hindi salute that means “the light in me honors the light within you” and it’s often repeated at the end of each Yoga class).
No, there is nothing wrong with her. She is just “high on Yoga.”
Yeah, that’s right “high.” No drugs involved though, just pure Pranyama breathing and lots of body awareness and mind control.
Sounds like a trick? Well, it kinda is. That’s indeed what happens to the most skeptical when they decide to take a quest to Yogaville and come back empty-handed. Like Mr. Rosen did in “Enlighten Up!” and many of you might do if you decide to “discover” what Yoga really is and start looking for answers outside yourself.
Who am I to know? I am a 26-year old Yoga teacher who has tryed to explain to people what she discovered through Yoga and how this practice helped her change her life objective, but later realized this task is indeed just unexplainable in word, only to be felt by the body and the mind.
Then why am I trying to convince you of such a feeling on a blog? I am not, I am only telling you how you can perfect the knowledge you have of yourself and put it to a better use and possibly discover something you did not know about the inner self. All of this while striking one or two Yoga poses.
Yes, you could indeed do so while sitting on “above mentioned couch,” but when you are tied up into a pretzel somehow you get better body awareness and consequently, better knowledge of the limits your mind impose on you when you have no control on it.
There are no written-in-stones definitions of what Yoga is and what its powers are that can make sense to a newbie of Yoga practice as Mr. Rosen claims to be in the documentary. Many Yoga Gurus have written about the discipline, but their “pompous” words are often “empty in meaning” if not accompanied by the practice itself. Yoga is not a material knowledge and it cannot be learned in one day. It must be absorbed in small doses for years to fully demonstrate it’s potential as a body and mind healer.
Most people who have done Yoga for ages never reach Samadhi, or infinite bliss. Others do. It all depends and it’s unpredictable and unknown when and where and how you will reach Nirvana. But you should be along for the ride and risk for it no matter what letting go the restrains of the controlling mind that chains you down to the need to “know what is” in simple terms and immediately.
But, what’s most important and often fails to be told, is that Yoga is not just ASANA (body postures) and PRANYAMA (breath), but it’s a combo of those and other life-lasting philosophies that MUST be brought outside of the mat in the every-day life. A Yogis begins his path to self awareness by learning the Yamas (precepts of social disciplines, such as: non stealing, not hurting human or animal beings and being truthful with their words) and Nyamas (precepts of personal discipline, such as: austerity, self-study, cleanliness and humbleness to God) as guidance for her action toward the world outside and toward respecting herself. Then comes the physical practice of the Yoga poses. It’s not the other way around. Yoga is not just sweating and twisting in a crowded room while breathing deeply. Yoga is a behavior, a life choice, a discipline of self-control.
I know, I know. I promised I was not going to let myself get caught up into so much Yogi jargon and evanescent explanations of non-materialistic things, so, let’s just get to the point.
Yoga has many interpretations. So does the happiness that results from Yoga practice. Yoga is subjective to its practitioner and to the intensity of her practice. There is not tool-kit to explain how to master Yoga and become the next blissful Guru in the house. One just has to try over and over and see what comes of it. But, one has to do it the right way, bringing not only the Yoga asanas to the table, but turning to a Yogi lifestyle. That does not mean you have to become a vegetarian and stop having sex. You should just become more aware of what you do, why you do it and what is that you feel while doing. Being more present for you and to you is Yoga. Being constantly aware of the beauty that surrounds you and embrace the truth and the falsity that comes to you and accept only what is for its short-lasting nature and do not get to attached to it because it will soon be gone. This is also Yoga. Yoga is knowing yourself. Whichever way you do so (meditating on a lonely stone in a forest, rock climbing, running, biking, walking, sitting in a room full of people, etc..) it’s up to you as far as you are present in the process and aware of the changes within. You are doing Yoga. You are living Yoga even if you are not striking any Yoga poses.
See, everything is Yoga then. Yoga is the way you interpret things.
In reference to Mr. Rosen’s journey in “Enlighten Up!” he wanted answers and proofs, but there is nothing that will show him better than trying to let go finding out what Yoga “really” is. Yet, I think he fails to understand this throughout the movie. The fact that Mr. Rosen travels to Yoga retreats and take bunch of Yoga classes here and there does not help his cause, but only makes his self-discovery harder because he is looking for answer elsewhere rather than in himself. This brings a whole bunch of insecurity about Yoga and it’s origins (since every Guru or Yoga teacher Mr. Rosen meets, has a slightly different view about when Yoga was first invented and why). His venture in the unknown world of Yogaville becomes a struggle to find answers to unanswerable questions and this only causes more frustration and less excitement to keep going.
This is not to say that the documentary isn’t great. I found it excellent actually, especially because it represents reality and leads to “unexpected” conclusion. Mr. Rosen does not fail to find his Yoga path. He gains from the whole experience, understanding his Yoga could be indeed rock climbing and making climbing videos in Boulder, CO and there is nothing wrong with it as far as he is happy to do it and knows why he does it.
There is not right and wrong way in Yoga. There is infinite possibilities. You just have to know how to find the one that suits you best. The knowledge of self and the “spirituality” of it all will come with time and with letting go having to know right away.
No, I do not know it all. I just know what Yoga works for me and why. I used to asked many questions and await couriousily for answers. When, suddenly, I stopped asking and started feeling. That’s when I realized Yoga is everywhere. We just have to learn to listen to its vibration without defining it.