May 10, 2014

Reevaluating “Constitution”: A Challenge to Popular Ayurveda

Ayurveda today is more properly regarded as an interpersonal, intersubjective art form, with great potential for fostering an appreciation for embodied difference. Nowhere is this potential skill more called upon than in the practice of considering “constitution”: the individual’s unique psychosomatic profile, known as prakṛti. And in no other area is the promise of Ayurveda more confused and oversold. I would like to argue that the principle of constitution as popularly practiced is an ideal lens through which we can see both the shortcomings of an old medicine that has not yet exposed itself to the epistemological rigours of our time, and also the potential Ayurveda has to model therapeutic intimacy in an increasingly data-driven world.
March 17, 2014

“Vedic” Astrology: A Strange and Lovely Art from Time Gone By, Rife with Tender Bullshit Today

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 -- which seems to be the only global subculture at present that tolerates it as a kind of adjunct discipline. Then I'll turn to my personal experience of this archaic art, to help illustrate its seduction, and why it's dying so hard.
August 11, 2013

Deepak Chopra muddles words like “consciousness” and “quantum”, but that doesn’t make him a charlatan

If we're going to critique Chopra as an interloper into science, let's keep it clean of the ad hominem, and not feed this projection beast. Critique the material only; force ever greater transparency about the distinctions between science, spirituality, and poetry. Don't allow him to perpetuate a transcultural and transhistorical language error that confuses scientific terms with religious terms. Allow for the possibility that like everyone he is less a manipulator than one manipulated by history.
May 21, 2013

Ayurveda and the accusation of pseudoscience

These days, when I sit with clients as an ayurvedic practitioner, I know that I’m a time traveller to the future. I’m looking at people’s energies, habits and uniqueness through the very old lens I’ve cobbled together from multiple teachers, threads, and fascinations. This old lens is not pseudoscientific in itself, because it arises in a pre-scientific age -- but it will become pseudoscience if it forgets its heritage, and believes it should compete with biomedicine.