My yoga starts when I acknowledge the Western inheritance of the yoga tradition or some blended combination of traditions. Western yoga shares widely in the thread known as hatha, a tradition of opposing forces coming into balance and working together for the yogi’s mental, spiritual, and physical development.
A scholarly treatment of ancient texts or a detailed study of yoga’s historical variations – each with schools, histories, practices, religiosities, and gurus requires intense, academic study in linguistics, theology, sociology, history, medicine, and mythology. This would be the work of a lifetime.
Knowing this opens me to become an incomplete scribe articulating a perspective behind a yoga encounter in matter and consciousness. Yoga is a force which puts an encounter front and center for every yogi. Faced with this, each one responds in their own way. And while I think it’s good to know about tradition – so that we do not claim something as ours that is not ours – like most Western yogis, my practice and study draws from the deep well of yoga’s healing waters.
Yoga and its variations were formed in a complex, multifaceted cultural context that very few Westerners understand. This culture created yoga from its particular situation and in its evolving timeline.
The truth is that yoga has always been and is always changing and the proof is that yoga today in India looks different and is vastly more inclusive than it was just one hundred years ago. And just as yoga has morphed and changed through the Centuries in India, it will also change and evolve in the West.… read more...