Sunday, April 27, 2014
THE IDEA OF INTENSITY is glorified—seen as pushing yourself until you give up enough ego, driven to the point of being exhausted enough, that something breaks through the everyday ritual/routine to open a deeper place to which yoga aspires to enter.
Ashtanga into “Power,” or a more generic “edge” or “pain as information” come to mind.
Power yoga is “power ignorance.” Ashtanga is “half-ignorance.” “Great yoga gurus” [revered to the point of godliness] have taught this to transcend ego. And so have martial practitioners, sports performance folks and others. It is presented as a way to come so deeply out of the everyday routine that one finally “gets it.”
Well, if you want to set a performance “record,” it works. PAIN, Pain, pain, or really, no new record--More weight lifted, faster speed. more miles run and faster. But it fits with all of the erroneous aspects of spiritual practice. Talk some to these “winners,” and you discover anxiety and/or obsessive personality to the point of often taking medication (that the workout tries to replace and that drives continual workout and anxiety if missed), and no real transformation other than they are “better” than someone else.
Authentic intensity does exist.
It is much more of a “middle way.”
Intensity is more of a shift in quality. One might be illiterate and standing in a market and hear some short phrase. But the intensity in that moment was exemplary. No exercise, no meditation, no yoga.
“Bullshido” to those who work and work and get more flexible and faster and even more compassionate and think that they are nearing the goal. Bullshido and more to the damage that this done (not just a little gain or neutrality).
In monasteries of all sorts—Buddhist and Christian—most work hard and very disciplined, and they are the better for it, but almost no one awakens. And so they practice and teach more effort.
Hard work is predominantly yoga today (and likely in the past). “Two more weeks,” and there is a difference, and so, true believers are born. But all of this work is, paradoxically, facile, which is to say “too easy.” Muscles and flex may change but mind may remain rather empty.
You want to see intense flex and strength? Is the ability to turn your feet deeply inward yoga? It was astonishing to me to hear the talk of frequent injury in yoga.
Go to contortionists, gymnasts and cheerleaders.