Wednesday, December 30, 2009


"Vyadhi: It will be noticed that the very first obstacle is ill-health or sickness. To the yogi his body is the prime instrument of attainment. If his vehicle breaks down, the traveller cannot go far. If the body is broken by ill-health, the aspirant can achieve little. Physical health is important for mental development, as normally the mind functions through the nervous system. When the body is sick or the nervous system is affected, the mind becomes restless or dull and inert and concentration or meditation become impossible."
-B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Yoga, 34th paragraph of the Introduction.

Sickness can be seen as an obstacle or distraction to Yoga. And Yoga can also be the medicine for Body, Mind and Spirit.

"Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured."
-B.K.S. Iyengar

The thing is that we all bring our imperfections to Yoga. I see Yoga as welcoming what is. Yoga is a spiritual methodology for working with Obstacles. So here is an obstacle: Sickness.

Mr. Iyengar had sickness as a child that he brought to Yoga. And he was able to overcome it through dedication to his Practice.

My Yoga revealed a sickness I didn't even know I had. My heart was totally denied. The world I experienced up to the time I started to get to know the Chicago Yoga Community didn't include the heart in important decisions. My heart was tuned out. It was hidden. I knew fear. I knew ruthless survival. I knew competition. Even though my life was comfortable, somehow my attitude was mostly geared toward getting what I want according to what I had learned from others, like I was trying to get the best deal out of a situation, or something. I hadn't encountered heart joy or richness until I learned to know myself through Yoga.

I said at the time that I went to yoga to get a "hot body." I thought my boyfriend might appreciate my body more. I didn't know of myself as much more than that. I was a hungry body with needs and desires.

Now I wonder how I can expand my contribution to wellness. It's not just about my body and possessions, it's more about my heart, humanity and compassionate connections.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


YogaforCynics said...

Beautiful post, Brooks.

Sickness was certainly was brought me to yoga: more particularly, depression, addiction, and chronic tension headaches. While I can't say I didn't know I had these sicknesses, I was so alienated from my body--seeing it not so much as something to serve someone else's pleasure, as it sounds like you did, but as something I simply didn't like and wished would stop bothering me with all of its problems--I really wasn't able to separate myself from them enough to understand where they were coming from or what I could do about them (other than taking drugs to deaden the pain). Ultimately, it seems to me that mental development is important for physical health, as well...

Word verification "comin"--yoga helps us to comin to our bodies in a far more conscious way...

Eco Yogini said...

yep- perfect.

yoga played a part in my recognizing unhealthy relationships, within myself and others.

but then- physical health is always directly related to emotional, mental health- the brain is connected to the rest of our body. :)

I think it's wonderful that you're finding balance through the Sun! and perhaps that's why I love the Moon, because I tend to vacillate towards the Sun....

Anonymous said...

Which is EXACTLY why I tell people that we CANNOT judge the reasons or the ways that others do their yoga. I will always maintain that yoga changes your insides -- whether you want it to or not.

All those people going for great butts!? GREAT! Because eventually, inevitably, the yoga will move from their asses to their hearts.

Period. :)

I started simply to deal with stress and overall body aches. And, wow, what a journey it has turned out to be.