November 16, 2014

WAWADIA: Six Lenses for Studying MPY (draft excerpt)

In the process of this study, I’ve reached out for as much theoretical help as I can find, and tried to view the scene through as many lenses as possible. I’ll describe some of these lenses here, briefly, to give a sense of what’s going on behind the curtain, and the concerns that have driven my questioning technique in the interviewing process. All of these lenses have limitations, which means that I don’t apply any of them exclusively or rigidly. I’m actually interested in their flaws as much as their strengths, because the flaws show me where more study and more humility are required. Each lens can only hold a part of the story about how we hurt and heal through yoga.
November 14, 2014

WAWADIA Update #19: Thomas Myers Misdefines Pain. But Why?

To speak of pain that “goes into” and “leaves the body” resonates not only with the psychotherapeutic literature that saturates our entire self-help zeitgeist, but with a very old metaphysics from which we can’t seem to release ourselves, no matter how firm our philosophical foam-rollers are. It’s a belief system that may even be more attractive to Myers’ followers than his specific claims about tissue health.
November 12, 2014

WAWADIA Update #18: One Hundred Years of Yoga in One Big Apple Day

So we have the stonecutter, and the baby-whisperer. The values of the entire last century of modern postural yoga would seem to oscillate between these two icons. On one end of the mālā-string, a harsh discipline seeks to reconstruct the person into a worthy vehicle of devotion. On the other end, we’re encouraged to release every discipline and habit that has obscured the original ease and pleasure of movement. Modern yogis slide back and forth on that string, like beads, in constant dialogue between the desire for a new self and a primal memory.
November 11, 2014

WAWADIA /// My Left Hand: I Am That (draft excerpt)

At the age of 30, I went to a yoga class in Manhattan, trying to pull myself out of depression. It was at Alan Finger’s old place. The instructor was a woman my age who seemed charmed in a way that both irritated and attracted me. Like she had some pleasurable secret. Smiling, she said: “Today we’ll try to see if we can join the small self to the larger self.” The words jostled some memory of the Arjuna story, but they didn’t help my mood.