I find much of my writing about politics distracting.  I do it because it’s necessary.  I can’t stand by and do nothing while a feral democracy destroys my country, so I have been writing in this blog mostly about political issues.  But I need to spend a little more time getting back to what this blog was originally about, which is spirituality that doesn’t require the belief in prophets or buddahs or christs or any of that other stuff.  I love writing about this kind of stuff because I enjoy learning.  Discussing a topic, whether with the written or spoken word is one of the best ways to learn about it.

One of the topics I’m quite interested in right now is yoga.  I’ve practiced yoga off and on for about the last 10 years.  One of the things I’ve learned is that the yoga videos that teach yoga are crap, at least for beginners.  Real yoga requires a personal teacher.  Interacting with the teacher creates educational experience that cannot come from a video or book or magazine.  Teachers have mindsets.  Students learn the mindset.  You can’t learn mindset from anything except a real living person.  After you have the mindset you can learn some useful mechanics from the videos and books and magazines, and you can get something useful from those.  But the mindset has to come first.

Yoga, I have found, is about movement towards grace.  Not so much physical grace, but inner grace.  You can do yoga mechanically and develop some outer grace while being a rotten person inside.  The most important experience of yoga happens in the heart and mind.

Yoga as I practice it connects the parts.  Not just limbs and torso, but feeling, thought and body.  As I become connected on the inside I find myself closer to grace.  Head, heart, hands and health become connected.  Not only does the left hand know what the right is doing, but the head comes to know what the heart is doing, and the heart comes to know what is happening to the overall health, and the hands understand in their way what the head is thinking.  All the parts have a rudimentary, animalistic connection.  Yoga uses awareness to deepen the connection.

It’s as if we become fragmented inside as we grow up; as if we are born as a solid piece of ice and as we age the ice shatters inside us.  Awareness melts and then refreezes the ice so it becomes whole again.

In grace things go better for me.  I am more aware of what I am thinking and feeling and doing, and being more aware I make better decisions.

For example, as I become more aware of my stomach and hunger I make better food decisions.  I eat healthier, not because I’m forcing some kind of diet on myself.  I just find unhealthy food unappetizing.  As I become more aware of my body I find it harder to consume adult beverages.  If I go a while without practicing yoga I can knock down a six pack, no problem.  If I’m practicing yoga regularly I find it hard to finish a second beer; I don’t like the way it makes me feel.

I’ll write more later on my personal yoga practice.

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