Written by the mysterious Patanjali way back around 250 B.C.E., this cryptic collection of 195 short statements (“sutras” or aphorisms), is by far the closest thing to a common sacred text that we’ve got in the yoga community today.
On one level, I love this. In a culture where knowledge of what happened two months ago regularly gets thrown in the trash bin of forgotten history, it’s exciting to discover that so many people care about a truly ancient text.
More often than not, I find myself irritated by the way that the YS’s treated by American yogis.
Now, I don’t claim to be an expert. But I think that it’s safe to assume that the YS was not written as a feel-good text for more-or-less-normal 21st century Americans like me.
Which is why it gets my goat when I keep running across smarmy paeans to “how-the-Yoga-Sutra-can-help-you-be-the-best-healthy-and-happy-you!” (Perhaps accompanied by “five easy poses for everlasting bliss” you can do in 15 minutes or less . . . )
OK, I’m being snarky. But consider how articles such as the tellingly entitled “Paths to Happiness” (published in Yoga Journal) seek to assure us that the YS fits oh-so-comfortably into our contemporary culture:
Centuries ago, the great sage Patanjali laid out a kind of map—one that suggests not just asana and meditation but also attitudes and behaviors—to help you chart your own course to contentment.
At first glance, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra . . . may seem esoteric and impenetrable. But the ancient manual is worth a closer look, because it contains essential advice for daily living. ‘Patanjali has offered us guidelines that will allow us to have enhanced emotional and mental well-being and a more fulfilling and meaningful life . . . The Yoga Sutra is specifically designed to lead to greater happiness and spiritual fulfillment for you and everyone around you.’
Um, really? That’s funny, because I thought that the YS was about realizing Samadhi, or “assimilation with pure Being.”
But wait, you may say – what’s the difference? Isn’t Samadhi just another term for “happiness”? Like that blissful feeling I get seeing an amazing sunset or playing with my cute puppy in the garden?
Not to be a party pooper, but . . . really, I don’t think so.
Like many ‘yoga’ categories these days, there are now a wide range of conferences (and price tags), luckily there are some a la carte options so that you can enjoy a little taste of everything.
The Splurge: This year is the first Yoga Journal Conference to hit NYC (May 15-May 18). While some big wigs in the yoga world fill the schedule, it is still rather spendy for most yogis (it could very well be the whole piggybank), however it is still cheaper than traveling to another city if you are a New York yogi.
Here are some worthy freebean-recommended happenings:
The Steal: After a weekend of YJC splurging, your wallet and asana will craving the low-budget yoga fix NY Yoga & Raw Food Expo (May 29-May 31) promises to offer. For a mere $20/day ($15 in advance) or just $35 for all 3 days ($30 in advance) you get full access to the expo and more! Here are some of the highlights:
Please share your findings if you attend – the good, the okay, the uplifting and even the not-so-good!
Yoga Journal celebrity teachers discuss how to stay afloat as a “yoga professional”. Sometimes obvious, sometimes funny, sometimes slightly disturbing, interesting nevertheless…
2009 Yoga Journal San Francisco Conference
Friday, January 16, 2009
With Jason Crandell, Pretzel France, Cyndi Lee, and Rogelio Nunez. Moderated by Terri Kennedy from Yoga Alliance.
2009 Yoga Journal Grand Geneva Conference
Friday, March 27, 2009
Panel Discussion: “The Business of Being a Yoga Teacher”
with Jason Crandell, Debra Hennesy, Cyndi Lee, and David Swenson.
Moderated by Tracey Bartos from Yoga Alliance.
posted april 6, 2009 by YogaDork
Today is Macho Monday apparently…
Should Men Do Yoga? Yoga Journal’s Buzz Blog re-posits askmen.com’s rather absurd debate of why and why not, to a call for true stories of “how”. As in, how has yoga positively affected you guys out there? You know, guys who actually practice yoga and aren’t too insecure to admit it.
Oh sure they have an Argument FOR Yoga, but frankly it’s just as annoying as the opposition in its explanation of origins and “benefits” tiptoeing around to be sure not to sound too pansy-fied. read more
Interesting . . .
Youtube “sensation” is now an employee of YJ? Or at least their latest web design.
Oh no, wait — Youtube sensation is now an employee of YJ. But “just kidding”. Or something.
Watch an episode here:
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Visit YJ’s website for everything “Inappropriate” and “Yoga”