Monday, January 9, 2017

The meaning of yoga in the new year

Yoga, as the title of my blog suggests, means to yolk.  And what might we be yolking?  At it's core, yoga is the business of bringing together opposing forces.  Light and dark, push and pull, transcendence and embodiment.  These opposing forces seem contradictory to hold in mind at the same time: how can we be both strong and easeful at the same time?  Yet such a question is at the heart of yoga practice.

Personally, my inclination is transcendence.  Clear seeing with laser sharp focus.  Intellectually dissecting a concept in order to uncover its essence hidden beneath the surface.  And while clear seeing and transcendence are indeed critical to the practice of yoga, it is only half of the practice.

The practice of embodiment is the "opposite" of transcendence yet must be pursued with the same vigor.   Indeed, the human person will never transcend suffering and experience "oneness" without having embodied the many.  Through what some describe as the feminine side of yoga, we have a direct connection with the source through relationship with the other - not through meditating alone on our yoga mat.

I'm still fumbling a little with this idea ... yet it struck me as important enough to put out into the world. to gentle remind myself that clear seeing must be balanced by calm abiding.  If not, reality will break me.

In the meantime, I continue in a slightly deluded state and pray that the next time reality presents itself to me I am awake and strong enough to recognize this gift ... and not react in the same, predictable, harmful ways.

My kids usually give me this opportunity daily ... we'll see how I fare next time they are late for the bus, won't pick up their toys, or don't like the dinner I put in front of them.