‘Oops, We Did It Again!’ Yoga Journal Is What Co-optation Looks Like — All Things Yoga

Is it possible for companies like Yoga Journal to be body positive when they are built on a for-profit, corporate model that has a legal obligation to sell the practice? Especially when they often sell yoga as an elite luxury good available only to a few?

via ‘Oops, We Did It Again!’ Yoga Journal Is What Co-optation Looks Like — All Things Yoga

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We’re preparing for the Day In Silence – sshhh

Here’s an exercise that will change your life: Spend one day, each month, In Silence.

What happens when you intentionally stop talking? Just for one day? Even half a day?

Many of us have deepened our yoga practices on silent, weeklong meditation retreats. The experiences of intense solitude and quiet self-reflection have left a positive mark on our lives. At NomadYOGI, we know this type of profound experience is not available to everyone. Maybe you have not had the opportunity to spend 10 days in, say, Vipassana, or maybe you think a regular meditation practice takes discipline beyond what you can do.

We understand. But here’s a practice that we all can do once a month: a Day In Silence.

Inspired and influenced by weeks spent in ashrams and monasteries, we created this button which you can pin to your shirt. You can get your Day In Silence button for free in October by filling out this form.

Day In Silence

Once a month, spend a Day In Silence. Just be, without talking. Minimize all external and internal noise and just be, quietly, for just one day each month. You can walk in the park/beach/street or pick a random Sunday after yoga practice. You can do your laundry. You can even go grocery shopping. This is not about cutting yourself off from the world. It’s about being in it, as a silent observer, and just noticing what happens.

What if you have a thought or need to write something down?  No problem.

What thoughts come up when you see this thing or that thing? What thoughts do you have about your thoughts? After you notice these thoughts, can you let them go? Can you come back to this moment? This inhale? This exhale? This rhythm. This silence. This is all it’s about.

Breath – Sounds – Sensations – Silence

This Day In Silence is about turning down the volume on your external and internal stimuli, so try and see if you can pause all communication. Just for one day.

Perhaps you can combine this with a digital detox? One day of no devices? OMG. No Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. No email. No text messages. No Whats app. Just for one day.

Can’t do a full day? Fine. Put your Silence Button on at noon and don’t speak for the rest of the day. Yes. From noon, until you put your head on the pillow, don’t speak.

Can’t do a half day? Fine. Wear your button from 5pm until you go to sleep. When you wake up in the morning, you may begin talking again.

Perhaps this will open the door to a meditation practice, or an “official” meditation, wherein you sit on a cushion for 15, or 30, or 60 minutes on a given day. But it doesn’t have to lead to that. At the very least, you will recognize that, as you spend one day without speaking, you will notice your thoughts (and the quality of your thoughts) with a new clarity. You may notice your breath. You may notice what you look at. You may notice what thoughts pop into your head and when. You may become aware of what you are aware of.

Certainly, on your full Day In Silence, you don’t have to separate yourself in solitude (though that may be easier). If you need to be around others, you can simply point to your button and smile. This is usually enough to prevent verbal interaction. They may be confused at first but, you’ll be surprised how respectful people are once they realize what you’re doing.

Here’s a typical interaction you can expect to have.

“So you’re not talking today?”

You’ll nod.

“Interesting.”

You’ll nod.

“I wish I could do that.”

You’ll smile, nod, point to your button, and continue in silence.

Simple.

It’s not something you’d wear at a cocktail party of course. That is, unless you were trying to be obnoxious by proving to your peers how “Ultra Spiritual” you are. But, then, that’s the point. Even if wearing the button publicly identifies you as participating in a certain spiritual activity, the experience of persistent silence dissolves any ego-driven response or motivation for spiritual competition. You’ll see. As long as you stay silent while wearing the button, you can’t mess it up.

Will You Join Us?

Fill out this form to get your #DayInSilence button. We’ll send you a button and we will enjoy silence, together, on first Sunday of every month, beginning November 1st, 2015.

After, you can share your experiences with us using the hashtag #DayInSilence on social media. Together, we can inspire more people towards quiet self-reflection.

Together, we can slow down and bring our minds to rest.  

Isn’t that the true definition of yoga, after all? Ask Patanjali.

yoga chitta vritti nirodhah

Here’s some inspiration to get you going.

I think 99 times and find nothing. I stop thinking, swim in the silence, and the truth comes to me. ~ Albert Einstein

It’s no problem to have thoughts, but do not overlook how, many times a day, the mind is in rest. What is left if the mind is at rest?  Life, itself. And this is all that counts. ~ Dolano

In the gap between one thought and another, a well of silence abides. In this place, the thoughts and the thinker of the thoughts are seen for what they are: a fiction.  What remains? Presence. A poised, powerful presence whose very nature is love.  You are this. Just abide here, in the silence in the gap between thoughts. ~ From Conversations with Plato

Rediscover how to be silent and still. Only then will you actually be able to listen and hear. ~ LazyYogi

time and silencethe quieter you becomesilence is better than bullshitsilence can never be misquoted

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Bikram on wrong end of major court ruling

A three-person panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against Bikram Choudhury in a case involving his attempt to copyright his yoga sequence. The news is out there at various outlets. Here’s Time: Bikram Choudhury, the self-styled creator of Bikram yoga, has for years threatened to sue practitioners that he feels […]

http://theconfluencecountdown.com/2015/10/09/bikram-on-wrong-end-of-major-court-ruling/

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Have Ashtanga, will travel

Two different sounding positions for an Ashtanga teacher are out there, via the October newsletter at Ashtanga.com: Announcements 1. Ashtanga Teacher Wanted – Basel, Switzerland Looking for a qualified teacher to cover my evening classes (Mysore and 2x led class) in Dec 2015 (up to Dec 22) atAshtanga Yoga Basel, Switzerland. Housing next to the shala and […]

http://theconfluencecountdown.com/2015/10/05/have-ashtanga-will-travel/

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Making yoga accessible to the people who need it

I don’t think there’s a whole lot of argument that there is a lot not to like about how yoga continues to grow in the West. There may be a lot of argument about what, specifically, to dislike, but from conversations I have with yoga practitioners (not to mention not-yogis), everyone seems to have some concern […]

http://theconfluencecountdown.com/2015/10/04/making-yoga-accessible-to-the-people-who-need-it/

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What if you have a brilliant idea while meditating?

First, before I answer your question, know that it’s okay. Thoughts come and go during meditation, just as they do during other activities. No problem. Don’t listen to anyone telling you that you’re not doing it right. That’s nonsense.

Second, before I answer your question, it’s important to notice what’s happening in your mind. Where does the thought come from? Have you investigated that?

Where, really, does any thought come from?

How does it arise?
And where will it go?

To where?

Are you afraid that, if you don’t get up and write it down, it will be gone forever? Really, where will the thought go? Is it not you, talking to yourself, creating a thought, which your conscious mind can now hear because you are quiet enough to listen?

Third, before I answer your question, let’s examine the sensation that urges you to get up. Isn’t this urge do something very similar to any other internal or external stimuli that you, ordinarily, compulsively, reflexively, react to? Like an itch? Like a shift in your position when you feel discomfort/tension in your knee/low back/shoulder?

Now, to answer your question, you can scratch the itch, you can shift your position. Scratching can be very satisfying; shifting can bring necessary relief to an uncomfortable pain. You can get up and write down a thought. You can do so. It is allowed!

Now, knowing this, you may decide that whatever impulse you felt to get up or scratch or shift or otherwise do something, is not actually worth reacting to. You may even enjoy ignoring the impulse and continuing to sit still. I don’t want to tell you too much about the outcomes though. Otherwise, you may try to focus on my words, rather than figuring out the rest for yourself.

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So, how’s your laundry?

On the joy of washing my clothes in a bucket from Goa, India. 

Let me explain:  I put maybe 5 or 6 items in each load. This means I wash garments every 2 or 3 days. I fill up a bucket with water from the shower, estimate how much powder to drop out of the 40g bag of detergent, and soak my clothes for 20-25 minutes (longer, if I forget what I was doing, which happens, but more on that later). Every 10 minutes or so, I return to the bathroom to agitate the water and gently rub my pants against my shirts. Then, I rinse. And, since there’s no way to get my soap-usage-per-article-of-clothing-estimation perfect, the number of times I rinse depends on how the fabric feels. I have made the mistake, many times, of not rinsing enough, only to find out that, after my clothes are dry, they don’t feel, uh, quite right. 

Speaking of drying, that’s my favorite part. That’s where I go up on the roof, or to a line of rope tied between palm trees, to squeeze out excess water and hang my clothes while listening to birds, the wind blowing through the leaves, the neighbors’ children playing, and traffic in the distance. 

And this is where I my tone must become dramatic.

My Dear Friends, you are missing out. Your technology has stolen your peace. Yes, the robots. But, I’m not talking about your computer devices and your connectivity to the World Wide Web. At least, not right now (just kidding Internet, I would never; I love you). No, right now, I’m referring to your sprinkler system, your dish washer, and your time-operated coffee maker. I blame your washing machines and clothes dryers, especially, for taking something sacred away from you: the mundane. Indeed, it is this sheer ordinariness that you have traded for much-lauded convenience and you have allowed the robots to take care of these things for you, so you could go off and do something else

But you are missing out. You are stacking activities on top of activities in an endless search for efficiency, for fun, for fulfillment. And you are missing out. 

Life is happening, right now. And you are off doing something. Of course, life is happening while you’re trying to get something “more important” done but, doing the mundane is sometimes the most important thing you can do. It is so easy, so effortless, so mindless, and so simple. So amazing. 

What do you normally do laundry day? Do you play with your dog? Do you hang out with your child(ren)? Do you read the paper? Do you clean the kitchen? Do you do your homework? Do you get high and watch TV? How long does your washing machine take to clean your clothes, anyway?

You know, for me, the washing and hanging takes about 30 minutes, but like I said, sometimes I forget what I was doing because I go on to do something else. You know what that something else is? 

You want to know what I do?

Nothing.

Absolutely nothing. 

That’s right. 

N O T H I N G . 

I sit my ass down at the kitchen table, or sometimes right there on the floor outside of the bathroom, and I do nothing. 

Sometimes I close my eyes, sometimes I don’t. 

But mostly, I just sit the fuck down and try not to move. 

I resist urges to get water and, knowing that this is a frequent distraction, I get a glass of water ready before the bucket-soaking commences. I resist urges to answer my phone and, knowing that this is a frequent possibility, I turn it off for 30 minutes. I resist, most of all, the urge to get up and do something I force myself to do NOTHING, to simply wait — to wait 10 minutes before I get up again to swish clothes in a bucket. 

That’s all. 

And yes, often my mind will scatter from one thought to the next. Often, I will hear a song in my head (today it’s Stan Getz’ “Girl from Ipanema” and a couple days ago it was Chris Issac’s “Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing,” which is weird because most of the music I listen to was made on a computer, has no lyrics, and sounds like “untz, untz,” so who knows when the last time was I actually heard those songs but, I digress). Often, I will be reminded of a movie scene I saw recently. Often, I will remember something painful that happened to me. Often, I will feel a little anxious about something I have to do later. Often, I am bothered by all this.

But then, often, I’m not. I sit quietly with random, non-sequitor thoughts, passively flashing in the background of my mind. Arising. Falling away. Arising. Falling away. Disappearing. I don’t do anything. There’s nothing to do I just sit there, waiting for India’s dirt to release its grip on my fabrics. I just sit there, learning to patiently wait, learning to not jump up and do the next thing that pops into my mind.  Learning to find ecstasy in ordinariness.

Could you do this? I wonder if you could do this. I wonder if any of you will reply to this email, 7 days from now, and tell me that you sat, in front of your laundry machine, or at your kitchen table, without a magazine, without your iPhone, without the television, without music, for 30 minutes, while the machine did its job in the other room. Would you do this?

Would you stop for 30 minutes (even 15 minutes?) and deal with your mind screaming about how boring it is to just sit there. I mean, fucking hell, it is Saturday, after all, and you really should wash the car/get the groceries/call so-and-so and make plans for tonight while you have some time to do so.

No. Don’t call so-and-so You won’t have time just yet. You can get the groceries after you put the clothes in the dryer. That’s usually a longer cycle time, anyway. No, with your clothes in the washer, you are going to sit down, place your hands in your lap, relax your back against the chair, and…

…just take break from the endless activity. Just take some time to rest from everything. Sit down for a while and just let it all happen. Do nothing. Take a little vacation from having to do something. 

Just see what happens. 

Have you ever wondered why it’s so hard to sit still? Animals of lesser conscious authority enjoy stillness all the time. Dogs lay down in the sun. Cats spend most of their lives just, laying around, staring out windows. Birds perch on telephone lines, sometimes in groups, just sitting there, taking a break. But for some of you, this will feel like torture. Why?

Listen, don’t worry. Restraining yourself from activity won’t do any damage. Nothing will happen. And that is the point. In fact, nothing is happening right now. It is the most amazing thing. Do nothing and see that your heart is beating, your blood circulating, your food digesting, your lungs breathing, eyes blinking, hormones secreting, without you even trying to do any of it. It’s all just happening For you. For your benefit.

And on your next laundry day, your machines will wash your clothes for you, giving you time to do nothing. To enjoy the fact that, for 30 precious minutes of your busy, busy life, there is nowhere to go, nothing to solve, and nothing to do.

This is the New Year’s gift I’m giving you: nothing. 

Don’t bother thanking me.

It didn’t cost much.

For the start of 2011, I am wishing you nothing, and nothing else.

(Originally emailed from Goa, India in December, 2010.)

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