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    Best of Yoga Philosophy
    Best of Yoga Philosophy
    Best of Yoga Philosophy

    Best of Yoga Philosophy

    Some of the very best Yoga philosophy articles from all over the Web, selected by me, Bob Weisenberg (former Yoga Editor elephant journal). Happy browsing.

    "War and Peace in the Bhagavad Gita" Wendy Doniger, a review of "The Bhagavad Gita: A Biography" by Richard H. Davis

    The Bhagavad Gita on Love | Yoga International "Verses like these resound throughout the middle chapters of the Gita. They are virtually identical to the words of Jesus and other great teachers who also inspired followers on the path of bhakti. They speak with the voice of Light that is aimed at every human heart..."

    Yoga and Feminism: Continuing the Conversation ~ Carol Horton ~ "The more that yoga is sold as a means of entering into a pristine, pastel-colored bubble that will protect us from the world, the more it distances us from our authentic selves, which are connected with all that is. Although this is the opposite of what yoga is really about, it’s a seductive fantasy to buy into during the extraordinarily stressful times that we’re all living through today..."

    Back to Center: Parenting as a Meditation. ~ Natanya Lara ~ "That ‘perfect’ family: in about 4 seconds, the little boy is going to whack his sister, or the baby is going to start crying or the mother is going to start worrying about how much time she’ll have to cook dinner when they get home. There is no perfect, and there’s no getting ‘there.’..."

    Yoga for Cynics: With Blasphemy So Heartfelt ~ Jay Winston ~ "While I respect that some of my views are offensive to many people's deeply held beliefs, and, therefore, generally (though, admittedly, not always) try not to shove said views in said people's faces, I think it's not said enough that the offended might consider respecting that those views they consider so blasphemous may be every bit as deeply held by me..."

    YOGA PH.D. - A Review ~ Hilary Lindsay ~ "But she was an innocent and cerebral guest in her own body until she brought that body to yoga class intent on adding something new to her fitness regime. What ensued was an enthusiastic quest for uncovering the history, the mystery and the totality of yoga..."

    What To Do About Consciousness ~ Mike Trites ~ "I don’t know what souls are made of, but it can’t possibly be anything more miraculous than the matter we encounter in our everyday lives..."

    Why Eckhart Tolle's Evolutionary Activism Won't Save Us - Decolonizing Yoga ~ Be Scofield ~ "Love isn’t progressive, socialist or limited to any political position. People of all ideological persuasions fall in love, make love, experience love and act in love. Is global transformation really based on raising the “love” vibration on the planet?"

    Changing, Fast and Slow--notes on Sam Harris, meditation, spiritual impatience, and the rising sea ~ Matthew Remski ~ "We’re suckers for the big reveal. Suddenly seeing ourselves reflected in the window, we forget that looking at the garden beyond trained us to see at all. We seem hardwired to forget that every moment is equally precious..."

    The Mind of a Loving Translator: Graham Schweig ~ Andrew Deitrik ~ "Schweig sits down and begins to put his dream into words. It was no time for sleep. Schweig had spent several months up to this point puzzled over the translation of the opening verse to the Dance of Divine Love, an ancient Sanskrit text found in India’s sacred Bhagavata Purana, but Schweig finally had a breakthrough ...Feeling quite euphoric, Schweig eventually chiseled out a flowing verse..."

    We Drum Because We Can't Stop our Fingers from Moving. ~ Jerome Burdi ~ "When he’s in the zone, you fall into the zone, riding the wave of rhythm wherever it goes. He can pull you into his wave, and all of a sudden you’re playing better than you thought you could..."

    Since I'm learning Italian, I'm reading the Bhagavad Gita in Italian. Found it free online, and lots of other good stuff at the link at the end of the page. (I know it's a very specialized interest, but I just couldn't resist posting it here, just in case anyone else is interested.)

    Gita in a Nutshell #5: Why Is the Gita So Upsetting At First? ~ "Is it any wonder that many readers stop right there and say, “I don’t need this. I’m going to find something more uplifting to read”?...You’ll be encouraged to know that Arjuna, at the beginning of chapter 3, pretty much says to Krishna, “Are you crazy or something”. He has some of the the same problems we do!"

    If you happen to be in Milwaukee, I'm teaching a six week Bhagavad Gita Workshop starting April 23 at the Kanyakumari Center: "The Bhagavad Gita has a reputation for being difficult, but it doesn't have to be that way. In this workshop you will not only come to understand the "Gita" and its history and background, but you'll develop a close personal relationship with this timeless work, connecting the wisdom of the Gita to your everyday life..." www.kanyakumari.u...

    From Rejection/Assertion to Rejection/Possibility: Remixing Śaṅkara at 30K feet ~ My good friend Matthew seems to think that feeling one with the universe is a rejection of humanness. See my rebuttal and join in the discussion. --Bob W.

    “Vedic” Astrology: A Strange and Lovely Art from Time Gone By, Rife with Tender Bullshit Today ~ Matthew Remski ~ "I’ll try to do two things in this article. First, to nail down the hard facts about astrology and how it confounds the intelligence of contemporary yoga...through magical thinking and perverted power dynamics. Then I’ll turn to my personal experience of this archaic art, to help illustrate its seduction, and why it’s dying so hard..."

    Rumi Turns 800 ~ Anna Poplawska ~ "Rumi was born in 1207 in what is now Afghanistan, although he lived most of his life in Turkey. His poems, which are about love, life and God, have been widely translated; and today he is considered the best-selling poet in the U.S. and in the world..."

    Honoring the Feminine Heart - Catherine Ghosh ~ "An open heart is one absorbed in divine love, like Goddess Radha’s, and thus characterizes a person who embodies the Divine Feminine. Radha’s love is so variegated and boundless that it multiplies into innumerable goddesses, called Gopis, each embodying a uniquely personal way of expressing love..."

    Gita in a Nutshell #4: "Each of us is already infinitely wondrous— miraculous, awe-inspiring, unfathomable. Our wondrous nature is the same as the infinite wonder of the universe. We experience this infinite wonder by waking up to reality..."

    Alan Watts Resurrected in "Her". ~ Philip Goldberg ~ "I suspect that Watts would love the idea of facilitating a plot twist in a movie as offbeat as Her, and that he would relish Spike Jonze’s blend of science fiction, Hollywood romance, and cosmic consciousness. I’m sure he would love the Zennish play of mind-boggling ideas, like an operating system whose consciousness evolves in accord with the yogic template he elucidated so well..."

    Arjuna saw the whole universe / enfolded, with its countless billions / of life forms, gathered together in the body of the God of gods. (Bhagavad Gita 11.13) / I see you everywhere, with billions / of arms, eyes, bellies, faces, / without end, middle, or beginning, your body the whole universe, Lord. (BG 11.16)

    Krishna's 10 Definitions of Yoga in the Bhagavad Gita ~ Catherine Ghosh ~ "6. Yoga is a heightened sensitivity and awareness of all life around us and within us, and an outpour of love in reciprocation with life’s wonder and beauty. .."

    Finding the Heart of Yoga in Italy. ~ Brooke Hamblet ~ "This was not just a vacation or a teaching trip; it was the first chapter of my new life, where I could re-discover myself as human, woman, teacher and global contributor, starting with simple conversations next to a lemon tree on the veranda..."

    The Miraculous in the Mundane: Richard Feyman Explains How Rubber Bands Work ~ "Peeling away of the mundane to reveal the magnificent is the greatest gift and most lasting legacy of Richard Feynman — champion of scientific culture, graphic novel hero, crusader for integrity, secret artist..."

    Making a Living, Making a Life. ~ Roseanne Harvey ~ "The truth is that while my practice supports many aspects of my personal and spiritual development, it falls short around issues of money. What I am craving is a real and honest conversation about how we relate to money, and ways to integrate my financial practices into my understanding of my whole self..."

    Threads Of Yoga – An Interview With Matthew Remski ~ "So why has this text been translated and commented upon uncritically as an object of faith for the last 150 years with vanishingly little regard for the paradigm it is encountering currently? Why is an ascetic meditation manual advocating anti-social goals at the heart of the modern postural movement, as if it has anything specific to say about asana?"

    "the universe is born within me, / and within me will be destroyed." (Bhagavad Gita 7.6) Don't miss this marvelous short film about the processes by which mountains are created and eventually destroyed. --Bob W.

    Gita in a Nutshell #3: Focus the Mind ~ "Constantly mastering his mind, / the man of yoga grows peaceful, / attains supreme liberation, / and vanishes into my bliss. (BG 6.15)

    A No Bullshit Exploration of Spirituality ~ John Murphy ~ "He credits a Van Halen concert, with a 20-minute guitar solo, as one amplified gateway into elation. This engagement with the mosh pit and the mass energy of rock, as well as the gentler flow of the Hindu kirtan musical ceremony he favors now, offers a refreshing contrast and a necessary outreach to similarly minded people who love music, loud or soft, as one avenue into the mystic.."

    How Waldo Changed My World ~ Elizabeth Olsen ~ “Standing on the bare ground, — my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, — all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God..."

    Building Inner Peace: Yoga’s transformative effect on peacebuilding efforts in war-torn societies. ~ Simone Datzberger ~ "Practising yoga in Africa not only brings about new challenges but also gains an entirely new dimension..."

    Contemplating Impermanence ~ Frank Jude Boccio ~ "The attempt to "freeze-dry" elements of your life squeezes the vitality out of life. The practice of nonattachment allows you to enjoy life wholeheartedly in its very passing..."

    From Catherine Ghosh: A beautiful soul describing her relationship with music, and the wonderful effect it had on her, even in the horrifying context of a Nazi concentration camp, where her life was spared because she was a pianist: "Everything bad is beautiful. It has to be!…Only when we are old, do we become aware of the beauty in all of life." "Music…gives soul to the Universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, charm, and gaiety to life, and everything!" ~Plato~

    The discovery of the invincible summer within ~ Jeff McMahon ~ "Have you ever noticed that great writers, when they’re great, are sudden yogis?"

    Gita in a Nutshell #2: Experience Infinite Wonder in All Things ~ "He who can understand / the glory of my manifestations / is forever united with me / by his unwavering love." (BG 10.7)

    Why Roger Federer Is My Guru. ~ Eileen Ladd ~ "When Federer, who is just as susceptible to the passage of time as the rest of us, was asked about retirement, he expressed the joy he still derives from playing, even if he is no longer ranked number one in the world. The ability to take the competition seriously without taking himself too seriously ensures that his career is far from over..."

    Toward a Science of Wisdom and Compassion Reflections on the Zen Brain retreat at the Upaya Zen Center ~ Susan Martin ~ "The view of the world as a dynamic, interconnected system challenged my notion of either/or, subject/object, inside/outside. Almost everything is connected to everything else, it seems, and I was humbled by the massive complexity of our brains..."

    Burn Down the Old to Make Way for the New: Practice Yoga to Live Your Authentic Life ~ Susanna Harwood Rubin ~ "The first surprising result of my yoga was that boredom ceased to exist as an experience for me. That may sound trite or silly, but it was actually quite amazing. In the subway, in a doctor's waiting room, on a long airplane ride: I had practices to do and things to think about. Movement. Mantra. Meditation. I learned to carry my universe around with me, and to love being there..."

    LIVE AND ACT WITH LOVE AND PURPOSE, DETACHING EGO FROM RESULTS The Gita contains many powerful passages on this theme, but they are scattered throughout the text. When you read them all together, as below, the main ideas jump off the page with crystalline clarity.

    Smithsonian Yoga Exhibit Lectures Available For Free Online ~ Yogadork ~ "In case you missed it though, or want to relive it, free lectures held on the topics of goddesses, Asana, Tantra, and more during the D.C. run have been posted online for you to tune into at your leisure. Here are a few we found interesting..."

    Melanie Klein on Yoga and Feminism ~ "Many feminists are turned off by yoga culture and the burgeoning yoga industry that reproduces many of the toxic images and messages that the practice itself has the capacity to minimize and silence in their power. And, as a result, the subversive nature of the practice is often discounted and dismissed. It’s unfortunate – yoga practice and yoga culture are not the same thing..."

    The Bhagavad Gita has a reputation for being difficult, but it doesn't have to be that way. I'll broken it all down for you into the powerful major themes. This will help you enjoy the text, and if you don't have time for the full text right now, you'll still have a good idea of what the Gita is all about.

    “Making Music with Breath & Body”: An Interview with Photographer Sarit Z. Rogers. ~ Carol Horton ~ " I photograph a lot of musicians...yogis make music with their bodies and breath. Capturing that has been exhilarating...

    Under the Spell of Yoga ~ William Dalrymple ~ Fascinating New York Times article about Yoga history, as represented in the recent Smithsonian Yoga Art exhibit.

    What’s the Difference Between Darkness & Light? ~ Eric Klein ~ "Will Meditation Remove the Obstacles In My life?"

    “Yoga Ruins Your Life” In a Good Way. {Video} ~ Erica Leibrandt ~ "I watched in helpless bewilderment as Mario suggested all yogis switch to Pilates, because doing yoga is actually making a pact with the devil and “yoking us” to the idolatrous worship of false Hindu deities, which will result in our eternal damnation..."

    NASA Video Showcases Sun’s Stunning Variability ~ I love this video. "Look: the sun gods, the gods of fire, dawn, sky, wind, storm, / wonders that no mortal has every beheld. Look! Look. Arjuna! / The whole universe, all things / animate or inanimate, / are gathered here—look!—enfolded / inside my infinite body." (BG 11.6-7)

    Still Life: The Practice of Staying. ~ Susan Currie ~ "The masters, the inventors, the champions, the ones who keep at it—they mostly don’t live for the applause. What happens when we take a cue from their heightened discipline and level of patience and we (re)consider our process?"

    Let's Be Mindful About Mindfulness ~ Phil Goldberg ~ "Mainstream reporting about the subject is only slightly less careless than it was 40 years ago. Reporters still fail to make crucial distinctions..."