Tuesday, September 23, 2008

i joined a cult

i did .... i joined a cult. and today i admitted it. out loud. in front of people. not people i want to recruit or anything like that, it's not that sort of cult. if i were to haul out my british ancestry i'd call it a 'proper' cult. not the uppity high-tea sort, rather something distinguished in its simplicity. its flexibility.

i wish i could say it's a cult that anyone could join. you actually have to have a bit of money to invest - a bit of a downside for many of us as the cost of living increases and our incomes remain the same (or diminish. we all ought to be able to invest in our health. luckily, the branch of the 'cult' (as some would describe it) is a not-for-profit society that offers bursaries and scholarships for those who are otherwise financially unable to participate in the hugely addictive practice of yoga.

several days later, she writes ......

i'm starting to get worried about it. seriously. sometimes, as i'm contemplating my day, i'll ponder a decision i made. it might be a tiny decision, something seemingly insignificant, or it might be something more life threatening - like, can i feel confident that car isn't going to suddenly turn right in front of me without signalling, or bringing to light the difficulty i have translating the iyengar (and presumably other yogic) texts into gender (and therefore spiritually) neutral language. i suppose it's not exactly life threatening to raise concerns about gender neutral language, as we proceed into the 21st century, or think too deeply about moving from darkness into light and how that affects people of colour, but it is a big decision, i think, to ponder the significance of our language and sometimes it's just difficult to persist in requesting a move forward for the gender and the races and the species.

most often, it seems lately, i'm thankful for yoga. in the evenings i wonder what influence yoga had in decisions i made earlier in the day. and it's tough to define what i mean by 'yoga' ..... it's a sneaky cult that way. the word 'yoga' incorporates so much.

and i'm thankful that it's not really a cult, just that i have a cult-like draw towards it. it's good that it's not perfect, perhaps, but then again .....

i find i could wish myself the opportunity to do nothing aside from yoga. pranayama, asanas, restorative asanas, and sleep ... what better way to pass the days. but then i remember - the yamas and niyamas. i'm not terribly sure of the spelling of those, but it's about how you live your life in relation to yourself and to the world around you. it's not enough just to live your own life, 'yoga' reminds us, it's also about considering those who are unable to find the peace or the security or the knowledge or the personal space to practice yoga. capitalists would suggest those are the 'recruitable,' as the free market dictates. but what capitalism forgets, or is too stupid to figure out, is that keeping the poor poor means they remain unrecruitable because they are unable to participate in local or global economies.

i'm glad yoga's not really a cult. and i'm glad it fits with my own personal philosophy. especially the 'ahimsa' part. now, if i can just delicately inspire sensitive and caring people (yoga-inspired or otherwise) to think and talk about 'humankind' rather than 'mankind' .... and maybe ponder what it means to dark skinned people to constantly be encouraged to move away from the darkness into the light ... perhaps we can move from the 'heaviness' into the light, or does that insult heavy people?

it's a challenging world.