Journal Posts | iHanuman


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Journal Posts

A survey of opinions on whether yoga is a religion offers a range of answers to suit any predisposition or bias. Passionate, polarized debates on 'what yoga is' surface time and again in books, on websites, and during awkward discussions with family members or friends trying to understand what it is that has drawn their loved one to this mysterious ancient practice. Is it religion masquerading as exercise? Eastern mysticism? A fitness regimen? Applied Hinduistic theism? A sister tradition to Buddhism? Pantheist philosophy? An atheist doctrine bent on sabotaging Christian beliefs? The answer-or at least a template for diagnosing the sources of conflicting viewpoints-lies in a nuanced understanding of yoga's complex history and an appreciation of the underpinnings of the word 'religion' itself.
Employing yoga's broadest definition - any act aimed at self-surrender to merge with truth - it is able simultaneously to embrace, to entirely bypass, or to strengthen religion.
Is yoga religion? Yoga practitioners and teachers show up on different sides of...

posted: 11 years 6 months ago
posted: 6/11/12
Believe me, I get it - what we hear about the dreadful price that yoga has paid for coming West. The apparent absence of its spiritual element in classes, teacher certifications that take a weekend to procure, peculiar fusions with fill-in-the-blank-fad-exercise regimens, yoga pose competitions, overemphasis on the physical elements of the practice, the ubiquitous growth of yoga accessories, yada yada yada. Yoga Incorporated. I get it, I promise. I'm not immune to rolling my own eyes at all this. My ego gets a delectable little thrill when I badmouth some of the sillier trends dreamed up...
posted: 6/11/12
Maybe it's an inevitable, vital, phase for anyone who first shows curiosity about starting a meditation practice. Reading a slew of books on how to meditate, attending group meditation classes, experimenting with different ways to still the mind, and listening attentively to teachers guide you through this or that technique. It's marvelous to get exposure to different techniques for sliding into the fertile void of clarity-rich silence so that you can learn what works for you. But it can also be overwhelming. For me? I reached a point a few years back of Technique Overload....
posted: 6/11/12
Shazzam! Fit Yoga magazine's August 2008 issue has an article on cultivating a freeform yoga practice authored by yours truly. Check it out! If nothing else, it has one of the sweetest photos ever of iHanuman teacher Erich Schiffmann.

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