An Evolving Poly- Eco- Yoga Humanifesto, from Pegasus at the Balance
Eleventh Deep Breath
Yogis of the world unite and take your yoga off the mat and into the wider world!!
Last week I attended the Iyengar Yoga Convention in San Diego, California, with Abhijata Iyengar and hundreds of other yoga lovers, yoga teachers and yoga students. It was and has always been for me a nourishing event. One thing the pandemic taught was that it is not necessary for people to gather in the same location for a gathering to happen. There was an option for people to attend the convention classes virtually, which made the “carbon footprint” lighter. This makes me happy, to some degree, though I know that the personal contact that in person attendance allows is not replaceable. Especially in this “post-pandemic period” where so many are still speaking of the grief and loneliness that the lockdown engendered, the personal contact is so welcome and intensely necessary.
Abhi emphasized two themes: the theme of sankalpa or resolve, and the theme of building community. It seems obvious that a resolve to build community would make it happen, but in fact there are actions needed to bring about the miracle. One of the aspects of Iyengar yoga that she has suggested leaving behind is eternal judgmentalness, especially of people newer to yoga. One woman of over 60 testified to the complete change in her life as she has begun to attend yoga classes in San Diego not just once or twice a week, but five times! She has a community, new friends, and a renewed zest for living that showed in her standing posture as she delivered her comments at the microphone.
Interesting that Abhi, in her story of her objection to her grandfather’s commitment to visit a small community in south India near his natal village for a function focused on the youth and their way forward with and through yoga. He had committed to making the journey. In view of his age, however, 92 years old at the time, his granddaughter Abhijata had some reasonable and serious objections to his making it (though she agreed to accompany him if he did). Iyengar explained to her that commitment involves actions, actions formulated and executed with vivekajam jnanam—intellectual discernment. Resolve, however, is on a different level to commitment. Resolve involves recognizing that a vow to accomplish something, anything from hanumanasana to realizing your true dharma, must come from your heart and not from your desire to do something someone else can do. The comparing mind and the jealous mind are intellectual minds, not based in the heart. For example, the young person and the older person may have the following thought patterns: “I’m young and flexible—I should be able to do this.” On the other hand “I am old and inflexible—I can make up my mind to do this whether it is appropriate or not”. IN the former case, the youngster will find a stumbling block in her or his resolve, for the resolve is stemming from a time-bound conception of the self. Likewise, in the example of the older person, there is a resolve coming from a time-bound conception of the adult. In either case, inappropriate action may result in injury and/or pride. In a sense, the yogi lives in the quantum universe where time is simultaneous. Though our bodies are time-bound, our sankalpa, our atma, is not.
On another topic, thanks to Brielle from Pennsylvania for her quick thinking to help us all recycle our convention nametags!
More on the convention to come, please weigh in.