Mindfulness as a general awareness of the present moment receives a lot of attention these days. This kind of awareness is sometimes labeled "bare attention" or "present moment awareness." Some, however, teach mindfulness as one aspect of a practice that aims to do more. In certain yoga traditions, for instance, the ultimate goal is to still the fluctuations of the mind. Paradoxically, the most effective way to still the mind often requires more than just sitting still, and finding out what methods work requires experimentation. This article explores one method that many people find useful to cultivate mindfulness: the simile of the gatekeeper.
I learned a new word today: "moga." No, I'm not talking about the Sanskrit word for chicken pox, moga, or the video game controller series. I'm referring to the equation Classical Music + Yoga = Moga. If you "combine yoga with a live orchestra" then apparently you can answer affirmatively to the question, "Do you moga?" It's the "latest wellbeing trend to arrive in London," circa 2015. "Moga" has even been featured on the "Trend Hunter" website.
Starting tomorrow, I will be teaching a new "Morning Yoga & Meditation" class (online) at Spirit of the Lake on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:30am to 7:30am Central. No previous experience is required for this class, which includes a 15-20 minute guided mindfulness meditation and a Hatha yoga practice. All aspects of this class support the development of peacefulness and clarity.
In the course of my yoga teacher training we discussed many of the influential yoga texts such as Patañjali's Yoga Sūtras, the Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita. However, our class understandably relied almost entirely on "secondary sources" such as Nicolai Bachman's The Path of the Yoga Sutras and Deborah Adele's The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga's Ethical Practice. I recently finished Eknath Easwaran's translation of The Bhagavad Gita, but it required a lot of commentary for me to begin to appreciate the messages, many of which are connected to war metaphors.
George Boole reportedly said, "A real mathematician ... must be something more than a mere mathematician, he must be also something of a poet." It seems to me that something similar could be said about being a yoga teacher in 2020, and that a successful teacher must be more than a mere yoga teacher. Yoga isn't "just exercise" anymore than it is "mere mathematics." But what else more "must" a yoga teacher be?
Yogis around the world regard Patañjali's Yoga Sūtras as a foundational text. Patañjali offers helpful advice on a wide variety of topics, but this article will focus on just one: loving-kindness.