I have another book review for you. A dear yogi friend gave me ’The Great Work Of Your Life by Stephen Cope for my birthday. I’ve mentioned Cope before and his previous book, Yoga and the Quest for the True Self.
This book helps us understand the Bhagavad Gita, that cornerstone of yoga literature. Also called ‘The Song of God’, it teaches how to access the true self (God realisation) with the practice of Yoga. Cope says: ‘Yoga tradition is almost entirely concerned – obsessed, really – with the problem of living a fulfilled life. The yoga tradition is a virtual catalogue of the various methods human beings have discovered over the past 3,000 years to function on all cylinders’.
If you’ve ever wondered about the ability of yoga to pull you over to a better version of yourself, to a feeling of authenticity, here’s why: ‘The yoga tradition is very, very interested in the idea of an inner possibility harboured within every human soul’. Alternatively, we are blinded by the ‘false self’ – a collection of ideas about who we should be’. ‘Our capacity to see the world clearly is thwarted’ when those ideas are so strong that they override who we actually are. (Yoga’s theory of Koshas repeats the same idea.)
This is a lovely book about naming your inner gift and tapping into its power. Cope says that it’s better to fail in the pursuit of our own calling than live the fake life of the false self. That brings “extreme spiritual peril” says Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. If you bring forth what is within you it will save you. If you do not, it will destroy you.
All kinds of alternatives were found this week to incorporate the usual sprinkling of twinge-prone backs, problematic hips, giddying dizziness, killjoy cramp; anxiety and all its attendants. There’s plenty of room in class next week. And if you come for a private class, perhaps you’ll have time for coffee after in the Grove’s Greek inspired coffee shop. See attached for class availability.
For tomorrow I’ve booked to attend The Practice Of Yoga + Meditation According To The Principles Of Ayurveda. It’s at Triyoga Camden, 8.00 – 17.30, and it’s totally free. The schedule is: 08:00–09:00 Talk on ayurveda, yoga and Pranayama; 09:00–10:00 Practice of yoga and pranayama (by Dr N G Kostopoulos); 10:00–11:00 Discussion and practice of pranayama and meditation (Vaidya A Barot); 14:30–17.30 Lecture on ayurveda, yoga and meditation. It’s free! Come with me!
Yoga in the News
The Times has an advertorial telling us: How to be more flexible as you get older. The average drop in flexibility of hip and shoulder joints means they can move about six degrees less in any direction each decade from a person’s mid-fifties. “Lack of flexibility affects posture and the way we move, which can then affect breathing and digestion”.
The Tablet has: Bishop bans yoga for being 'unchristian'. ‘The Bishop also referred to a homily given by Pope Francis in 2015 in which he said: “Practices like yoga are not capable of opening our hearts up to God.” The Pope continued: “You can take a million courses in spirituality, a million courses in yoga, Zen and all these things but all of this will never be able to give you freedom.”’
Have a Zen weekend.