Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Living in two worlds

Yoga literature speaks often of opposing pairs. In an asana practice you always consider equal and opposing forces. I suppose it's the Newtonian way of looking at Yoga in the U.S. Every action has an equal and opposite re-action. Push your right (back) heel down in Trikonasana and extend your right hand into the air.

Living in India and working for a U.S. company is about as close to balancing opposing pairs as I can imagine. I'm literally half way around the world. I work nights (U.S. Daytime hours) and sleep during the day. They speak english here but it sounds like another language. They drive on the opposite side of the road. Pedestrians do NOT have the right of way. It's a different world.

I read an editorial in the Times of India yesterday about the challenge of balancing the Spiritual with the Material in today's India. Now there's an editorial you won't see very often in U.S. papers. Talk about living in two worlds. Do I live the Spiritual life or the pursuit of Material possessions? The article stated how "Ishvara Pranidhana" (dedicating all efforts to God) is deeply imbued in the Indian psyche. Yet, today's YUCIs (Young Up and Coming Indians) are more interested in the latest cell phones, ipods, automobiles, motorcycles and clothes.

The practice of yoga removes duality in the mind (which, is where all opposites reside). When duality dissolves Reality is perceived. There is only one Reality - not two. We are in the world, but not of it. We are a part of the one globe - no matter what our longitude or latitude.

The practice of meditation (dharana, dhyana, samadhi)is the means by which the real world is perceived - the one place where we all live - within our mind.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Pleasanton to Bangalore - via Singapore

March 19, 2007 - 00:45 a.m. India Standard Time.

I'm in Bangalore, India on a Sunday night. Last night the 70's rock band IRON MAIDEN performed to a packed crowd of "YUCI's" - Young Up-and-Coming Indian's. Men and women in their 20's and 30's who are reaping the economic benefits from the influx of global businesses to Bangalore.

Travel time from SFO to Bangalore Airport was 32 hours. SFO to Hong Kong (13-hour flight with a 2-hour layover) Hong Kong to Singapore (4-hour flight with an 9-hour layover), Singapore to Bangalore (4-hour flight). Total airtime is 21 hours.

Bangalore is 12-and-a-half-hours ahead of Bay Area time. No one really knows where that 1/2-hour comes from. The location for the most part is pretty much half way around the world.

My yoga teacher - Arun H.S. was delighted to see me and I gave him a gift of a Nike Yoga shirt I picked up in Singapore (custom dictates you give your teacher a gift). We had a two-hour restorative back-bend class this morning. After class he invited me into his house for tea and to discuss his upcoming visit to Downtown Yoga, and other parts of the U.S. We're still dealing with getting Arunji's Visa approval. There is a chance we'll need to delay his workshop on 4/7 & 4/8. We'll keep you posted.

There is a partial solar eclipse scheduled for tomorrow in India from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. - about 5 hours from now. New moons bring new beginnings. I plan on watching it (with appropriate eye-protection of course!)

This is summer in Bangalore. By June it will be too hot during the days. Currently it's 70's at night and in the low 90's during the day with clear blue skies. The air in India has a unique smell - a mix of Sandalwood, Incense, Curry, Smoke from cooking fires and Diesel pollution. A bittersweet smell to say the least.


Thursday, March 1, 2007

Kaivalya - the ultimate goal

It seems odd to think of the practice of yoga as having a "goal" - but, it does.

Kaivalya is defined as "ultimate freedom - complete detachment."

Yoga frees us. Most importantly yoga frees us from the prision of the mind. This is the place were all suffering originates.

When the mind is free of worry, doubt and indecision, free of fear, anger, depression and envy, free of greed, lust, sloth and false pride, then the true Self of our being has a chance to shine through.