Brain Pickings

January 11, 2013 § 4 Comments

While I was sick last week I had a lot of time to dive into the rabbit hole of the Internet, following link after link after link on one yoga article to another. If talking about one’s practice is a worse sin than not practicing, where does reading fit in I wonder? Here are a few of the items that really piqued my interest – happy moon day.

“At that moment I have realized what makes one practice spiritual. I have understood that meditations, prays, asanas are just the tool. And this tool can be used to plough the soil and to make it fertile. This is what practice does – it makes the soil fertile. If a person fulfils difficult asanas or prays constantly it does not mean yet that this person is spiritual. It simply means that inside him there is a fertile soil. And what the person plants into this soil will grow. Therefore, the more intensively we practice, the more cautious we should be. If you plant an ego into this fertile soil it will grow up much more, than an ego of a usual person. Therefore spirituality is not defined by practice. Spirituality is defined by concentration, intention and actions of a practitioner.”
(emphasis mine)

Transcript of a talk at a workshop in Moscow in 2010. Lots of gems in this piece and familiar stuff as well (the story of how he began in yoga), if you’ve read Guruji. The part in bold really stood out for me. It answers the question (somewhat) of why is it that some of the most intolerant and judgemental people I know seem to be those who are deeply religious. It helps to explain the biggest contradictions I saw while growing up – the most frequent and devout church-goers also seemed to be the most self-righteous a**holes I had ever met.

A short-lived (nine months) magazine featuring contributions from various Ashtangis about the practice and life in Mysore. I thoroughly enjoyed ploughing through all nine issues (told you I had a lot of time!), like this interview with Saraswati, one with Joseph Dunham, Russell Case‘s irreverent, slightly academic voice on everything from popping joints to Snoop Dogg’s marketing tactics and a series of practice reflections from different people.

  • Life is easy. Why do we make it hard?

This is not yoga-related – well, not asana-related – but totally worth sharing. Jon Jandai runs Pun Pun, a sustainable living and learning center, seed-saver, organic farm and permaculture center just outside Chiang Mai in the North of Thailand. In this video he shares his philosophy and story of how he rejected modern notions of “success” and forged his own path.



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§ 4 Responses to Brain Pickings

  • globie says:

    Thanks Danielle, I have weeks of not being able to practice boredom time ahead.

    • D says:

      😦 No asana practice, perhaps, but there are other types of practice you can do. I did my practice mentally, visualizing the sequence and breathing in rhythm. Did about 5 Surya As before the cough and stuffy nose caught up.

  • mariavlong says:

    Fertile soil will feed anything you plant in it. WOW. Let’s think about that frequently shall we? Why do we want to do what we are doing, huh. Thanks D

    • D says:

      Wise words from a wise yogi 🙂 To me it also speaks to the importance of setting one’s intention and refining that intention regularly.

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