At some recent point, the word Asana, (postures) became synonomous with Yoga.
Asana is a powerful vehicle for transformation, but without the framework of Yoga, it's exercise, and the benefits are fleeting.
Asana is third on the eight limbed path of Yoga. It comes after the ethical and purifying principles of the Yamas and Niyamas. Ways for a society to live together in harmony.
You see, Yoga is much much more than the postures. It's a path, a way of life handed down from the ancients. It's a carefully mapped out way to end suffering and find liberation in our lives.
John Philp was kind enough to send me a copy of his documentary Yoga, Inc. to review for you all. John's film addresses the sideshow that our national Yoga scene has become, Yoga (asana) competitions, lawsuits, franchises, infideliity and sexual misconduct. Here's a short clip:
Major players have pulled Asana from the context of Yoga to stand alone as a way to make tremendous amounts of Money. Many of these major 'stars' of Yoga mean very well, but some have lost their way. How can you tell? look at their actions, and how they treat others.
Thanks John, for making the film Yoga Inc.
It has become okay in some circles to abandon principle, call anything Yoga and peddle it as a means to make money.
Last year a heavily promoted, major "yoga" charity events headlining sponsor was a Factory Farm. The factory farms are major polluters, users of energy, and they wreak unmeasurable suffering on all involved. The tagline of the event "Come do Yoga to save Mother Earth!" Huh?
Am I the only one who sees the emperor has no clothes? Do we sidestep the teachings, and the idea of Karma when there's money involved?
Money is pure potential, what matters is how you got it, and what you do with it. Are these teachers at fault, or are they giving us what we want?
We don't have to go to these events.
The means do not justify the ends. Each and every dollar you spend is a vote for the world you'd like to live in. Who are your teachers, what do they stand for? How do their students act?
if you are a 'Yoga' teacher, what are you teaching? are your actions and words inline? Are your students getting more than buff?
Live your Yamas and Niyamas:
Yamas: Ahimsa – Satya – Asteya – Bramachyra – Aparigraha
Niyamas: Saucha – Santosha – Tapas – Swadyaya – IshvaraPranidad
I'm doing my best to live in Yoga, I've come a long way, and have a long way to go.
In gratitude for this path.
p.s. Many thanks for all the inspiring emails and stories for the Testimonials page. I love to hear how Yoga has been showing up in your lives.