Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Olympics.  I might be the only person in the world who thinks they are celebrating the wrong things.  One commentator tonight said that he heard one of the Russian gymnasts who did not do so well on the balance beam today say something like being callous and cut throat is not a bad thing in sports.  I understand how beautiful it is that these amazingly focused individuals achieve such stunning feats of speed, grace and balance but is this what we should be teaching the youth of the world is the ultimate goal in life?  I want to see a show that celebrates young people helping one another and giving up their chance to be the best in order to make others feel good. How about giving a gold metal to the team who runs the soup kitchen day in and day out?  Or a silver to the people who started http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/ or the Toronto man, Max Sidorov who rounded up $600,000 for the bullied bus monitor, and the bus monitor herself who took the abuse and tried to talk to the immature, nasty children instead of cursing them out?

I was looking online at a friend's Facebook page today and found this:
It does capture how little we know about Yoga in American culture.  I know many of us take classes at a gym and that's fine, but there is so much left out.  My teachers taught me that Yoga was never supposed to be about the body.  The relaxing of the body was a way to prepare for meditation.  There's also the Yamas and Niyamas.  (I've pasted an explanation from Peg Mulqeen's post on ElephantJournal.com.)

The Yamas or do unto others:

1.    Ahimsa:  Be kind to others.  A comprehensive do no harm: not in words, thoughts, nor actions.  This one rule trumps all others, including the next . . .
2.     Satya:  Tell the truth.   “. . . and the truth shall set you free (john 8:32)”
3.    Asteya:  Only take what is yours.  Remember playing in the sandbox? The same rule applies!
4.    Brahmacharya:  Be respectful and reverent.  Though this can sometimes be interpreted as celibacy—and since there is no way for me to clarify with Pantanjali now—I will take some liberty to explain. Brahmacharya is a higher awareness in our relationships—one that transcends the physical one.  Abstinence may result, but this is not the intention.
5.    Aparigraha:  Share.  Anne Frank once said, “no one has ever become poor by giving.”  In fact, it is in giving that we may also receive.

The Niyamas or self observances:

1.    Sauca:  Be pure.  A shower is nice.  Brush your teeth too, please.  But don’t forget, purity also means being cleansed of bad habits and negative emotions.
2.    Santosa:  Practice acceptance.  Contentment—not to be confused with complacency—means we learn to love ourselves with unconditional positive regard.  It means allowing ourselves to seek happiness not from outside of ourselves, but from within.
3.    Tapas:  Do your work.  Sri Pattabhi Jois reminded his students, “practice and all is coming.”  He was referring to a yoga practice, and a meditation practice too.  This doesn’t happen through osmosis: we must do our work and let the benefits unfold in time.
4.    Svadhyaya:  Take time to reflect.  No matter what your field of work, I bet it involved study and years of schooling to become the person of knowledge and expertise you are now.  Become an expert of you. Learn you.
5.    Isvara pranidhana:  Stay humble.  No matter how big you are, how wise or right you are, how powerful you become—recognize you are not the absolute.  With a sincere meekness, know and honor divinity.

Sri Gurudev Swami Satchidananda once said that it was more important for children (in study at Yogaville) to learn to be good people than to learn how to read or write.  I do think the study and practice of Yoga would save the world if everyone practiced it.

And so here's a virtual gold metal for all those who do the right thing, not just the easiest.  Who practice the Yamas and Niyamas even if they've never heard of them.
May we all find unshakeable peace in this lifetime!
--Yoga Girl

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This blog was born through the inspiration and teachings of Rev. Jaganath Carrera and The Yoga Life Society. www.yogalifesociety.com