... years have gone by 'like a flash of lightning in a summer storm', ransacking Vancouver's venerable Banyen Books, ploughing through enough spiritual, philosophical, psychological, metaphysical and quantum physics literature to stock a shelf or two in Kafka's Castle. I justify this addiction to the printed arcane & esoteric word by insisting it's a form of Raja or Jnana Yoga, romantically viewing myself trekking up the Mountain of Knowing in quest of 'more light.'... Goethe's last words, btw, "More Light!" Capitalized in his case. Then I took up Hatha Yoga and met a teacher named Peter who opened other doors in ways that wonderfully complemented and enhanced my bookish obsessions. So, a short essay on Peterji's Yoga Sutras:
Peter enriched his asana instructions with spiritual insights that made his sessions far more meaningful than the calisthenic, paint-by-numbers Yoga I had experienced all too often with the millennial generation's Lululemon clad rediscovery of Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Peter saw Hatha practice as a platform for depth, to be pursued with the kind of discipline that parses out the effortless core of all effort. Each of his Dharma laden pronouncements was scooped up by my significance-addled mind, rolodexed through comparisons with snippets of Advaitin, Tibetan Buddhist and Kashmir Shaivite profundity, leaving me pondering and cross referencing in the middle of downward dogging, painfully aware of how distanced I had become from my own experience by always formulating concepts about it.
Hatha Yoga, skillfully taught, has a way of getting you out of your head and into an unpremeditated attention that proves far more revelatory than does knowing things intellectually. The intellect is not abandoned in the process, but rather integrated into a fuller appreciation of what is actually going on. The movements and the breathing awaken proprioceptive sensitivities and nurture the emergence of an extensive, participative consciousness as opposed to the largely intensive, ruminative self that thinks it is in a head thinking about thinking outside that head.
In a memorable class, Peter talked poetry. After class, I did my limited memory best to scribble down what he said on the back of a grocery bill:
"This Yoga is about being present.
Eventually, you won't be moving at all
Not because the Yoga's getting softer
It's getting more advanced.
We're all going home.
We're all walking each other home.
Allow this place to be home."
"I won't ask you to meditate. I know a lot of you have said you have trouble meditating -- mind too busy, not enough time. Instead, please notice how when you stop doing everything; stop chasing ideas, stop planning a next move, stop reaching for this or that... when you really stop, that feels like home. So I won't tell you to meditate. Instead, STOP NOT MEDITATING."
Unstiffen your supple body.
Unshatter your quiet mind.
Unchain your free heart.
... his insights assisting the realization that our suffering is principally effected by what we have super-added or imposed upon our original supple, quiet, free nature.
In this context, consider yogini, Sharon Gannon's insight, "You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state.”