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December 15, 2006

Yoga Everywhere

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Musician and general rowdyguy Shouting Thomas turns out to be a yoga buff. "I can't live a pain free existence without Yoga," he writes. "If I practice my Yoga religiously, I don't even know I have arthritis."

* Bishwanath Ghosh looks back slyly and amusingly on his own four-year-long experience with Yoga. "Coitus is a form of Yoga, to tell you the truth," he writes, "because sex is a combination of Yoga postures." (Link thanks to Alan Little.)

* Robert Love reviews the history of Yoga in America here. (Link thanks to ALD.)

* You can read an interview I did with the very talented Yoga teacher Margi Young here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four.

My own current thought -- well, musing -- on the topic of Yoga is that it can help you create a much friendlier and kinder relationship with your body. And -- since your body is one of the things in the world closest to you, after all -- that means that Yoga can affect your experience more generally in dramatic ways. You can find yourself rolling with life more cheerfully and positively than you otherwise might. Nice! I don't know about you, but when I'm on bad terms with my body my whole universe turns in on itself. I get crabby.

Of course, what this line of musing suggests is that ... you are not your body. Then what are you?

One of the genius books of Yoga philosophy is Patanjali's "Yoga Sutras," and Patanjali has a lot to say about this "what are you?" question. (Many translations are available. Of the handful I've read, I've especially loved the one by Christopher Isherwood and Swami Prabhavananda.) And in case you're wondering: Indian philosophy is quite the equal of Western philosophy. As far as I'm concerned, Indian philosophy is in fact generally much superior to most of what western philosophy has to offer. Don't look me at me that way: Western-philo biggies Emerson and Schopenhauer thought highly of Indian philosophy too.

I blogged about my discovery of the Indian religion / philosophy known as Vedanta here.



posted by Michael at December 15, 2006


Jack Paar: Do you exercise?

Oscar Levant: I stumble, then fall into a coma.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on December 15, 2006 4:57 PM

What are we?, "this quintessence of dust". We don't have a body, we are a body, but with a spirit.

Posted by: Bradamante on December 16, 2006 11:34 AM

to quote from penn and teller:


Posted by: secret asian man on December 16, 2006 2:49 PM

I would expect Indians to say that we are our body, but we need to work on believing it (perhaps that is what Yoga accomplishes).

Posted by: Douglas Knight on December 16, 2006 3:32 PM

Yoga means oneness with the supreme.Yoga combined with pranayama will make your body and mind perfect.Guru Patanjaly's Yoga Sutra tells you the secrets of your mind and body: you are neither your body nor your mind, but atman.If you want more details on Yoga science and Indian philosophy,contact

Posted by: G.V.Varma on December 17, 2006 7:30 AM

Yoga is the supreme science of mind control.

Posted by: G.V.Varma on December 17, 2006 7:50 AM

The yoga instructors at The Sports Center at Chelsea Pier are great. Then again, I've always found yoga instructors to be eccentric characters. They tend to be middle age hippies. Must remember that the Beatles introduced India mania to the West in the 60s.

Ted is a great instructor for beginners. He does the same routine every class, which is a great thing when you're trying to master the poses. Joan is hands-on. She'll correct your mistakes forcefully. So, once you've mastered Ted's routine, Joan is the next step. Lakshmi is a wild hippie girl, completely unpredictable, but her classes will torture and exhaust you. An hour afterward, after a session in the hot tub, you'll experience near bliss.

Lakshmi lights candles and incense and plays traditional Indian music designed especially for yoga. All that's missing is the black lights and the bong. Don't be fooled by the name. She a Catholic girl from Queens.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on December 17, 2006 8:30 AM

I insist that Vedanta and Buddhism are unquestionably the two best religions ever invented, because they reject dogmatic statements. Christianity has lost its luster since it booted out the Gnostics.

It would be good to think that India's growing influence in the world will give Hinduism's core wisdom, as expressed in the Vedanta, a boost. More likely, though, teenagers will just reject kung fu movies (so '80s!) in favor of Bollywood productions about Shiva the Many Armed Destroyer.

Posted by: Rick Darby on December 18, 2006 5:18 PM

A story in the 1911 Los Angeles Times warned about the dangers of yoga: Yoga, The Times warned, "is a dangerous knowledge to lure any but the best balanced brain. In the pursuit of it, too often the listening devotee is offering her sacrifices even at the altar of her soul." As evidence, The Times cited women who had started to sunbathe nude or "abandoned home and husband and children to join the sun worshippers."

See the archived story at:,1,2530854.story

Posted by: Alec on December 20, 2006 3:59 PM

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