Today we eased into the Vinyasa Yoga Book Club idea, picking words of wisdom from the introduction and forward. So for those of you who have yet to pick up your copy of Judith Lasater's "Living Your Yoga" won't be left in the dust. And of course, if you don't plan on following along, still come. Like any good book club, you don't have to read the book to have a great time. Same rules apply at Eyes of the World Yoga Studio 8:15 AM every Saturday for the next couple of months.
With 21 chapters, we most likely won't speak to every one (that would take over six months!) but rather, plan to read two-to-three chapters per week - culminating in a book discussion during a Sunday evening in February (TBA). The book chapters are short, well-written gems on yoga philosophy and asana (postures) that will surely show up in your daily life off the yoga mat (and isn't that what we're here for?).
Georg Fuerstein, a must-know himself in the yoga community, insists in his first line of the book's forward that the goal of yoga is happiness (ananda), yet he closes his forward emphasizing bravery, courage and discipline to discover that happiness.
He writes, "the path toward yoga's lofty goal of Self-realization (atma-jnana) is not in the least glamorous. On the contrary, it is quite humbling. For we must constantly, bravely, and compassionately face our limitations in order to realize our unlimited potential as spiritual beings."
Is this a classic 'Catch 22'? Not really. Yoga itself relies on the concept of union of opposites to achieve opening, release and ultimately happiness. It suits this ancient practice that Fuerstein opens in this way - and so lays the groundwork for our inquiry.
Lasater in her introduction suggests that if we are to truly live yogicly we must consider every moment, every thought a pose. An opportunity to practice, which she defines as the "consistent willingness to open to life in all of its joy and pain." That our practice off the mat is an exercise in paying "attention to your whole life: your thoughts, your bodily sensations, and your speech and our actions. ... Each moment of your life is a moment of potential practice."
Beyond the physical fitness we may enjoy as a result of our yoga practice, we also learn to "respond to life less from patterns of defense and more from integrity." And in order to explore the potential yoga has to offer, we must at a minimum consider removing "layers of doubt, fear, and denial that keep you from experiencing connection with your own wholeness."
Consider preparing for next Saturday January 12th class by reading chapters 1 - 3. And if you don't get to it, still come! You'll get a summary and a good stretch.
May you discover ananda in this moment.