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Fresh Air

Yoga Is Not Exercise, and Quicksilver Messenger Service

art by Bill Watterson

Peace be with you,

If you spoke with a historian, they might tell you that we are living in a time where we have known more lasting peace and prosperity than at any other time in human history. Upon hearing this, we might balk at the notion that our lives are prosperous or peaceful in a satisfying way. To shore up our argument, we might look at the recent struggles in South and Central America, the conflict and ongoing strife in the Middle East, the relative instability of the last year and a half of global economy. Certainly, we might conclude that either historians are full of crap, or that our definition of peace and prosperity might need some adjustment. As with most things, the context of a statement helps us understand what is being said.

In an era where information is disseminated at increasingly rapid speed, and context is evaporating in the flood of reactivity and confusion, for us to effectively understand anything, we must make an effort to slow down our process, and investigate more deeply our own point of view, biases, and knowledge gaps.

Thus, I humbly offer you the reminder to use discernment when listening to folks who proffer themselves as experts on spiritual matters, yoga, or esoteric philosophy (including myself) make claims about health, fitness, or wellness. Health, fitness, and wellness have a variety of meanings to a variety of people, and are as culturally relative as they are to the individual at any given time. Furthermore, yoga, is not solely a practice of health, fitness, or strictly physical wellness. In the yoga sutras, the body is only mentioned in relationship with the mind, and the underlying principle of individualized intelligence that is present within body and mind. A practice of yoga that is strictly concerned with physical fitness, health, or well-being is incomplete without acknowledging that more mysterious elements of life that are beyond the physical. I make this statement, not to disparage anyone, or devalue the importance of physical health, fitness, or wellness. I write this only as an encouragement to attempt to contextualize the practice of yoga into the philosophical, historical, and practical sense.

Here are some more thoughts on how yoga is not exercise:

Inspired by Quicksilver Messenger Service - Fresh Air


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