Yoga’s Magic? Part 1
I’ll keep asking~ What Are We Actually Doing In Asana~ fitness or magic? Spirit or body? Unleashing, unlocking, awakening or striving for a press up handstand? Can we do both/all? Do we even want to? Is it nap time, a surrogate mother, a simple stretch, or a deep dive into metaphysical metaspiritual existence?
My student did a yoga and shamanism training a couple of years ago and this past Sunday as we were talking, she described her teacher who traveled to Peru in search of healing from late stage kidney cancer. He arrived at the village and was waiting to see the shaman and every day he would do his yoga posture practice, watched by a gentleman who, it turned out, was the shaman. Shaman was curious, and given his ability to see energy fields and other invisible mysteries, informed him that this practice was indeed moving energy around his body, expanding his luminous field. This affirmed what he hoped; that already knew one way to heal. I asked if she thinks there is something unique about yoga movement as a means of expansion, shifting and healing or could this be achieved with other movement practices? This has always puzzled me: do people believe there’s some unique magical quality to these asanas or is this an extension of a mystical curiosity the likes of which is seen in early 20th century Theosophy, Transcendentalism and Orientalism? Is it part of a search for generic spiritual meaning beyond the tedious and mundane? Is it a projection? This is where we talk about winds and energies and meridians and nadis and auras and unlocking blockages; where we talk about invisible forces, subtle bodies, wheels and vortexes. This is where I get a little lost. Then there’s the fitness end of the spectrum. Where does modern postural yoga fit in?