Attachments and Freedom

Freedom.  As an American, I am schooled to believe that freedom is inherent to all humans.  As a yogi, I believe in freedom as deeply and passionately as Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin did.  I believe in freedom from the bevy of sins that steal the soul as well as the life that we see done with such numbing regularity.

But, I have serious doubts as to what the American idea of freedom is.  We are often claiming freedom and love the taste of freedom to do what we do, even as we don chain after chain of debt, because we have to have the latest and greatest thing.  New cell phone, check.  New car, check.  Hot new threads, check.  Then we have to pay – the car note, the house note, the cell phone bill.  We have to work that job that numbs the mind and soul to keep up with what we want.  Then we tie one on during the weekend, recover the next day, and then make our social appearance at church… the list is endless, and we end up trapped, chained to the same stupid cycle week after week, month after month, and year after year, til we retire, look at the stranger next to us, and wonder what the hell happened.

So, what brought us from being free and loving our freedom down?  Attachment.  We are attached to so many things, each other, our image, our social standing, our fashion sense.  We have to live in the right place, and wear the right clothes, and do what that social status tells us is the right things, even if you hate the activity and have to raise a glass with people you find vacuous and boring.

Attachment.  You suffer through what you hate in order to get what you think you want, which isn’t really what you thought it was in the first place.

Does this mean that you should chuck it all, be homeless and glory in the absolute freedom on living freegan on the world?  Not at all, unless you feel your personal path calls for it.  As a yogi in a householder’s tradition, I believe that you have a duty to your progeny, to yourself, to maintain yourself as you think you need to do.  But, we can take some of the chains we have and remove them.

Our lives were meant to be lived free and in a state of harmony.  Chains clanking do not harmonize well.

So, how do we get out of this?  We minimize our chains to maximize our freedom.  I try my best to live with this credo, so this is what I have come up with:

1.  I buy durable, classic fashion.  I have one suit in my closet that I never wear, a couple of match-everything dress shirts, and one set of dress shoes.  The rest are cargo pants, jeans, and pullovers.  Wash and wear, mix and match, permanent press.  I have one set of brown motorcycle boots, and one set of black ones.  One belt.  My closet fits into one suitcase.

2.  I can do most of the repairs on my own motorcycle.  I have the gear to ride it most days, notwithstanding extreme cold days.  The only thing that keeps me from riding my motorcycle 100% of the time is creature comfort.  On cold, wet days, its nice to ride in my wifes’ Chrysler Pacifica and be warm and dry.

3.  My job is deeply fulfilling and pays ok.  I teach motorcycle safety courses and I substitute teach.  I can walk into any classroom and have good control of the class and get the content taught.  I engage the kids well because I genuinely believe that I am helping them.

4.  I budget and try to stay in there.  Extra gets stashed for days that I need extra.

5. If I don’t have the cash for it, I don’t get it, plain and simple.  I had planned on contacts this month, but my budget did not cover it.  thus, no contacts.

Attachments are things that limit your freedom.  Think of the 20 year old who is paying for an apartment, food, and  a good time. S/he is as free as it gets in American society.  S/he can pick up and go if s/he chooses, or stay and work.  S/he can drink and play, or s/he can be cool and keep to him- or herself.  Either way, s/he is free to move and do as s/he chooses.

The first attachment comes with the would ‘should.’  I should have that new car.  I should make more money.  I should settle down.  I should have this and that or the other… and this goes on and on.

Does this mean you should not care, get married, have kids?  Those are decisions between you and your partner, not me.  I’m just a yogi.  I love and care deeply for my kids.  Each of them is like a precious gem, unique and perfect to me.  I chose to have kids, and I take my commitment to them deeply.

In Star Wars, the Jedi are the ultimate in Justice.  They are superpowered people schooled to emotionless objectivity.   Jedi say that they cannot do their work and be attached, that having emotional attachments leads to the dark side, often with tragic consequences. we saw how well that works out, because hiding attachment adds another chain that weighs down.

I have to disagree with the idea that not having an attachment is ideal – its not the attachment that leads to the dark side, it’s the craven need to protect what is ‘ours’, which is really not, because when phones break, clothes tear, and cars die, we discard them.  They were never ‘ours’ because they pass in and out of our lives with nary another thought than to get another.  If it can be upgraded, traded, or discarded, what was so important about it in the first place?

Be free, take that chains that hold you down and cast them off.  Keep the attachments that mean something and hold them, and let the rest go.  Be mindful of that each time you want something new, upgraded, or updated.

Be at peace.  Sat Nam.

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The Original You and Essence of Self

Let’s all tune in and get comfortable.  Are we ready?  Good!  Yoga is the joining of mind and body, higher and lower selves – union, yoking two parts together to make a glorious whole.

But, who is this glorious being that we share every waking moment with?  Our original selves, the being under the various ideas, identities, and illusions that we all have.  We’re moms, dads, bikers, soldiers, and so on.  However, our higher selves don’t have such identities – we are who we are, and we are beautiful and unique.

We will touch on that for this set and kriya.

Meditation – the Original You

1.  In Easy Pose, interlace your fingers in Venus Lock, then turn the mudra so your palms face outward.  Put your arms straight in front, with no bend in the elbow – do not raise or lower the arms once they are out.  Focus on the tip of the nose and breathe in this pattern – inhale for 20 counts, exhale for 20 counts, and hold out for 20 counts.  This should give you a breath a minute.  Continue for 3 minutes.  If you feel like you need to breathe, do so.  You can continue the breathing when you are comfortable again.

2.  Still in same pose, inhale sharply through the nose and forcefully exhale through the mouth with cannon force with your lips in an O shape.  Continue focusing on the tip of the nose.  2 minutes.

3.  Remaining in position, inhale and hold the breath in.  Pump your navel point rhythmically until you need to exhale.  Exhale, then inhale again and hold, pumping the navel point until you need to breathe again.  Continue breathing at your own pace and pumping the navel point vigorously.  Eyes are still focused on the tip of the nose.  3 minutes.

4.  Inhale deeply and push your shoulders and arms forward as far as possible without shifting your back.  Exhale in cannon breath.  Repeat 2 more times.

5.  Extending your Jupiter (index) fingers, lock your thumb atop the other fingers, folded down to the palm.  Move in outward circles vigorously enough to make your body move.  2 minutes, 30 second.  Inhale, exhale, and relax.

Kriya for the Essence of Self

1.  In Easy Pose, extend the arms out and away from you in a V-shape.  Moving in outward circles, start small and gradually increase in size, speed and vigor.  Breath should be deep and long, increasing in power with the power of the circles.  1 to 4 minutes.

2.  Come to Bow Pose.  Rock back and forth rhythmically for one minutes while using Breath of Fire.  Release and rest briefly.

3.  Lie on your back and clasp knees to chest.  Rock rhythmically back and forth along the length of your spine while using Breath of Fire.  One minute.  Release and rest briefly.

Note Bene (Good Note): If you find yourself short of breath, switch to long deep breathing and recover, then rejoin the group.  If you are on your moon cycle, then replace Breath of Fire with long, deep breathing.  BOF will exacerbate symptoms associated with your moon cycle.

4.  Crow Squats.  Stand with hands in Venus Lock atop your head.  Drop in a controlled squat, taking care your knees to do extend past your toes.  Rise back to standing position.  Repeat 26 times.

5.  Repeat Exercise One for 2 minutes.

6.  In Easy Pose, cross hands at heart chakra, palms to chest.  Eyes closed with no particular focus, visualize love and light from your heart chakra lighting your other chakras, flowing up through your crown chakra to connect with the Universe.

7.  Corpse pose for 11 minutes.

The Meditation for the Original You helps you connect with your higher self.  This connection gives you the ability to see things as they really are, to feel and intuit situations and to be able to react with the best intentions.

The Essence of Self moves energy from the body through the heart center, giving you the ability to move from love and with love in your life.  This ability to move from and with love is what allows us to heal our inner scars and wounds and to see and taste the broader reality that is our birthright, not just this narrow world view.  This also releases tension, helps the digestion, and opens the lungs.

A Seed, Needing a Place to Sprout

At some point, we all decide that we have information to give, to teach, to want to share.  I have plenty of knowledge and wisdom to draw from with Kundalini Yoga, and I would love to share it with people.  I have considered the idea of an intensive workshop – a 2 to 4 hour workshop consisting of yoga, some lecture, and a lot of fun and camaraderie.

So I ask you, the yogis that follow me – what would you like to see?  Currently in the works are Meditation and the Mind, and a mini White Tantra course.  Since my home is small, I would only be able to host a small number of people.  A light snack area would be in place to ward off hunger, and to help ground us after our presentation.

What other topics would you like to see?

First New KY Kriya for Bikers!

Vrrooom.... ommmmmmmmmm!

Everyone can get elevated

Come on, admit it.  You ride and you do yoga.  I do – I can’t be the only one who has been seen riding a motorcycle to yoga class.  I know that people must be out there all dressed to ride with a yoga mat on their back or in their saddlebag, ready to get elevated.

Come on… its ok to admit it.  Honest.  I swear.  Look!

See?   Orlando Bloom was caught with a yoga mat and a bike helmet getting ready to do a yoga workout.  Its really just putting the two things we love together, riding and yoga. 

For those of who are not ready to come out of our secretly-granola closet, I’m developing yoga sets based on Kundalini Yoga for bikers.  Your bike will be an integral part of this system, as bikers and machines are often one and the same.  There will be meditations, yoga sets, and mantras you can do on your own at a rest stop, or in your garage, or even during a gas stop.

A little warning – this is not intended to sub for a doctor or any type of medical care.  Don’t hurt yourself.  If it hurts, quit.  If you are unsure of yourself, don’t do that posture.  This is not intended to be used while riding.  Don’t do anything that might entail you falling off your bike and landing on the floor, or doing anything that may cause the bike to fall on you.

Get the idea?  Good.  Let’s be smart.  Its not my fault if you do something and end up falling  – by following these instructions, you are taking your own safety into your hands.  These instructions are for edification only.

That in mind…

This set is based on the Basic Spinal Energy Series.  Bike is parked with side stand down. 

For Beginners:
Anything marked with 108 repetitions can be cut down to 26.
Take a break if you feel the need for it, then continue when you feel ready, especially the breathing portion.
Don’t do the exercise if it starts hurting.
Root lock is like doing a Kegel – squeeze and tighten the anal and genital area and hold it.
Navel point is three fingertips over your belly button.

1.  In Easy Pose (sitting criss-cross) grasp your ankles.  Inhale as you flex your spine forward while pulling on your ankles.  Exhale and flex the spine back.  Use long, deep breathing and find something to gaze at.  The head remains level and does not flip-flop back and forth.  108 repetitions.

2.  Put feet on your pegs/footboards or ground.  Place hands on your thighs and continue as in Part One.  Mentally vibrate “Sat” (sounds like ‘sought’) as you inhale, and “Naam” (like in “nom nom nom” LOL) as you exhale.  Keep your eyes level.  108 repetitions.

3.  With feet on pegs or ground, grasp your shoulders with same-side hand, fingers in front and thumbs in back.  Twist to the left and inhale, twist right and exhale.  Complete 26 twists.

4.  Feet still on pegs or ground.  Grip your hands in bear lock (fingers locked together, thumbs out) and as you inhale, move your left elbow up.  Exhale and lower left elbow as you raise your right elbow.  The motion should be like a seesaw.  Complete 26 times, then raise over head.  Inhale, pull root lock/Mulbanh and hold for 10 seconds.  Exhale and release.

5.  Return to Easy pose on saddle.  Grasp knees and flex spine forward during inhale, and backwards during exhale.  Eyes and head remain level during motion.  Complete 108 times.

6.  In Easy Pose on saddle.  Place hands on knees and raise shoulders as you inhale, and relax during exhale.  To finish, raise shoulders, hold for 15 seconds, then exhale.

7. Still in Easy Pose on saddle.  Roll the head to the right five times, then the left five times.  Inhale as your head rolls to the front, and exhale as it rolls to the back.  Bring head back to a neutral position, inhale and hold for 15 seconds, then exhale.

8.  Still in Easy Pose on your saddle:
A.   Bear grip in front of your throat.  Inhale, and pull root lock, then release.  Exhale and pull root lock again while you hold your breath out. 
B.  Raise bear grip over your head.  Inhale and hold breath while pulling root lock, then release.  Exhale and hold breath out while you pull root lock again.
Repeat A and B for three cycles total.

9.  Put feet back on pegs or ground. Raise your arms up straight over your head.  Interlace fingers and press index fingers together, pointed straight up.  Arms should be next to your ears.  Say “Sat” as you pull your navel point in, and “Naam’ as you release. Continue for 3 minutes.

Notes on this set:
Age is measured by the flexibility of the spine; to stay young, stay flexible. This series works systematically from the base of the spine to the top. All 26 vertebrae receive stimulation and all the chakras receive a burst of energy. 

Many people report greater mental clarity and alacrity after regular practice of this kriya. A contributing factor is the increased circulation of the spinal fluid, which is crucially linked to having a good memory

Cursing, Foul Language, and Negativity

Wisdom comes at times you least expect it.  Yesterday was not a good day for me.  I was supposed to get my eye exam and new contacts.  That didn’t happen.  My wife got her bladder scoped, which led to other complications like pain and misery that I wasn’t aware that she was suffering.  Arguments ensued. 

Then, after a long fun run in the mud with the kidgets, I find my new puppy Fluffy (this puppy is not fluffy, but I offered the kidgets a choice between the names Hondo and Fluffy, and they picked Fluffy) has his tie-out line wrapped around the base of a set of shrubs.  This set of shrubs was supposed to be taken down at a later time, but ended up getting put off since my chainsaw had died and my Jason mask was not to be found.

Fun and games with a chainsaw and a hockey mask

chop chop

So, now I had to get my folks electric chainsaw (gag, retch) in the middle of the night in order to chop down some wood to get Fluffy out of his mess.  So, without my saw (it’s family, you know 🙂  ) and no mask, I was in the dark chainsawing through dense shrubbery to find my puppy.

My foul mood lifted, and not because of the shrub massacre.  I was doing what needed to be done to help a life that I was responsible for.  No one else was there, it was dark, just me and a saw and a little puppy who couldn’t get out.  I was able to shear off the shrubs at the base of the bush to be able to get the shrub out without getting too close to Fluffy.

Fluffy is currently enjoying his Iams puppy food and lounging in the sunshine, safe.  He’s probably wound around something else out there, now, but that is another story for another time.

 The other shrubs went down on general principle. 

So, what does this have to do with cursing, foul language, or negativity?  Let me explain.

In my head, I was cursing at the way things had gone.  They could have been better.  Appending curse words to the players involved in this drama extended the negative feelings, shaping the remaining part of the day.  As things went wrong, the more I used foul language, the worse things got.  I don’t mean the genial foul language that we employ with our friends and in knocking off, I mean the genuine I’m-upset-and-loading-this-with-all-my-anger cursing we do when we are pissed off.

By focusing and giving voice to my negativity, it created within me a negative expectation which in turn brought more negativity.  The more I voiced my negativity, the stronger it became.  It even lingered enough to poison a conversation this morning that should have cleared the air between my wife and I.  This is what happens when you feed the negative, it becomes stronger.

Be mindful, then, of what you say.  “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names with never hurt me.”  is just wrong.  Words can and do hurt – they are intention given energy and direction.   Be mindful of where you send that energy.

Sorry for the Delay

Yes, even yogis have problems maintaining.  In my life, between maintaining my family, work, plus the fact that being Hispanic means seeing the extended family, feeling utterly neglectful of the fact that I don’t see my grands but once a month in town and annually for the one out of town… it gets to be something much.  Add in the holidays, birthdays, Christmas, Twelfth Night… and – yeah.

So… I’m back.  I hate taking these enforced holidays because I have more work then I care to do when I take them.

Forgive me for not posting up over the holidays.  Now that the madness is over I can get back to my yoga.

Sickness, Wellness, and How to Get There

A decade ago, I worked at the Marharishi Ayurveda Products International in Colorado Springs, CO.  I thought they were full of crap then.  Stop drinking, right…. Stop smoking, right…. no meat?  What do you mean, no meat! What kind of hippie crap were they selling?  I would never give up my burnt, smoking, tasty meat and cold beer… along with a smoke.  That business relationship was doomed to fail, especially as they tried to fix my ADD, my nervous energy, and take my coffee away.

Well, I ended up leaving.  I worked telemarketing for a while.  Soulless, mindless work.  Worked for me, as I was not interested in anything deeper than a coat of paint.  I wanted simplicity.  Work, drink, eat.  That also got old.  And then I moved into Hippieville, the community at Manitou Springs, Co.  I liked it, the beer was cheap, the mountains were near for hiking, and life was good.  I spent some time there, in the mellowness of Manitou Springs, CO.  I learned a few things about life from the bikers who lived there, the hippies who smoked pot on the balustrade on Saturdays, and the die-hard residents who loved the free spirit of the place.

1.  Everything can be medicine or poison – the difference is amount and intent.
2.  Everything matters.
3.  You can’t take back anything you do, no matter how bad you want to.

With that, I started a new journey.  I went back home, I got a degree, and I started teaching.  Still drank, still smoked, still ate a LOT of meat.

After the birth of my son, 26 weeks along and weighing 14 ounces at birth, he spent 4 months in the NICU.  I couldn’t smoke prior to entry because of the high sensitivity of the younglings’ undeveloped lungs.  So, I ended up quitting.  It wasn’t easy.  Lord knows that it wasn’t easy.  I was fit to beat someone up for a while there.  I needed to quit, for his sake.  Everything matters.

Now, I barely drink.  I had two beers one night with a friend playing Rock Band 3 and I was hung over like no one’s business.  So, drinking is down to a few rare nights, like once in forever.  Maybe.  I just don’t like the nasty vibrating feeling and the sick feelings afterward.  Getting sick the next day while running home from the gym does not constitute cardiovascular training.  That day, I wish I hadn’t been drinking, but you can’t take it back, no matter how bad you want to.

So, this leads me to another thing – eating.  For those who never saw it, there was an article on this lady’s 6-month-old Happy Meal she put on a plate and left out.  It got hard and shiny and never molded, completely desiccated, or any of that.  If you heated it, it would probably end up looking it was just out of the restaurant.  Can we all do it on three, please?  1…2…3!  Ewwwwwwwww….  If it doesn’t break down, its not food, its poison.  I can’t eat crap anymore.  I mean, I can if I want to spend an afternoon being ill in the restroom (TMI, I’m sure) and feeling nasty for a day or two.  None of this is conducive for living, since its hard to do anything when your stomach is protesting at the way you treated it the night before.  I’m serious – the more I try and train myself back into some kind of shape (other than round) the more my stomach likes simple foods.  Greens.  Baked chicken breast.  Light on the starches.  I think I may go back to lacto-ovo eating.  If it makes you feel bad, it’s not food, it’s poison.

So, what does this mean?  Food is medicine, as I am learning. What you put in your mouth directly affects how you feel and how you perform.  I should thank my friend Michael Pleasants for it, AKA Montanha, commonly referred to as Mo… he once told me, “I don’t eat stupid.” in reference to a Saturday post-capoeira meal at Freddy’s Steakburger.  I finally get it, Mo.

So, eating is medicine.  If you eat vegetarian, then good for you.  A good place to get an idea of how you are doing and what your body needs for ayurvedic balance, check out Joyful Belly. If not, then keep it clean.  If beef is hard to eat, skip it.  Same for pork.  Same for any flesh that does not agree with you.

Yoga is also another good step.  Whether you want health club yoga, hot yoga, nude yoga, or tantra, its all good.  Yoga is a sanskrit work for yoking – to yoke together your physical self and spiritual self.  Its also about learning who you are, since so much of our emotional and mental lives are tied up in our physicality.  Its gentle nature is good for people who are unable to sustain the impacts and strain of traditional workouts, as covered here on CNN.  In the western world, we tie so many things into discrete little packages, and ignore the relationships in between. But things aren’t discrete packages of data, irrelevant to each other.  Everything is connected.  At the quantum level, each place is also everyplace else.

We can’t ignore our own selves in regards to maintaining this earthly vessel.  Our duties to God, our higher selves, whatever-you-adhere-to, dictates that we are luminous being inside this flesh, and in order to be truly ourselves, we have to not only live in the physical world, but also in our spiritual world.  We can’t ignore one over the other.

Eat.  Pray.  Love.  Its a movie, I know.  I think that we all should, though.  Eat the things that are good for you.  Pray and keep yourself holy, in whatever context is appropriate.  Love like you’ve never been hurt. 

 

Sat Nam – there is only one God, and he is Truth. 

11/29/2010

Sat Nam everyone!

I have to apologize for the break in time there.  I was dealing with a few life issues.  I apologize.  However, that part is over, so I am back, happily working on more yoga for you.
Today’s yoga set is designed to build your spiritual strength and to build your reserve energy.  With the advent of the commercial nightmare that is the Christmas season, we will all need a little help.

Meditation for Tremendous Strength

Sit in Easy Pose (legs crisscrossed, back straight) and relax the arms down with the elbows bent.  Draw up your forearms into each other until the hands meet at throat level.  Separate the fingers and thumb of each hand and point the palms at each other with fingers pointed up at the ceiling, like making teepees with your fingers.  Press fingertips together (index to index, middle to middle) and keep thumbs apart.  Long, deep breathing.  Time: up to 8 minutes.

Yogic philosophy: this meditation alters the metaconsciousness of everyday life.  By doing this, you alter your personal magnetic field.  By using long, deep breathing, your energy is calmed and collected, allowing your body to summon more energy in an efficient way – giving you all the strength you need at the time you need it.

Kriya for Reserve Energy

1.  Come into Plank Pose (up part of push-up position) and deeply inhale.  Exhale and sink down to the floor as your lungs empty.  As you inhale, rise back up.  Modify by using Half-Plank Pose (Rise up to your elbows, then sink down).  In the down part, keep your hands under your shoulders.  1 Minute.

2.  Come into Bow Pose. (Lie on stomach, arch both legs back, and grasp ankles with your hands).   Begin Breath of Fire for 30 seconds.  Release and lay face-down, hands at side.  Modify by doing Half-Bow (Grasp one leg with same-side hand, extend other arm and leg outward like Superman) and use strap or towel if you can’t grasp your ankle with your hand.

(Breath of Fire: Find your navel point (3 fingertips over your bellybutton) and from there, expel breath forcefully.  Relax the navel point, and then do it again.  Your lungs fill passively as your relax.  If you feel out of breath, then stop Breath of Fire until you feel able to continue.

3.  Lie on stomach.  Make fists with hands and place them at the crease between torso and leg.  Inhale and raise left leg, exhale and lower leg while raising right leg.  Long, deep breathing.  Time: 2 minutes.

4.  Come into Cobra Pose.  Holding pose, relax into it, heels together with head back.  After a minutes, spread legs and bring hands closer to body, deepening curve.  Turn head left to right slowly, inhaling as you turn right, and exhaling as you turn left.  Modify with Half-Cobra (Rise up on elbows instead of hands).  Time: 2 minutes.

5.  Lie on stomach.  Grasp wrists behind your back.  Roll left and right while grasping wrists with legs and heels together.  1 Minute.

6.  Release and lie on stomach, chin on ground.  Long, deep breathing.  5 minutes.

7.  Lie on back, hands on side.  Roll to stomach and back without bending arms or legs.

8.  Come to Corpse Pose, flat on back, with palms up.  Long, deep breathing for ten minutes.

Yogic Philosophy: Exercise 1 taps the kundalini energy at the base of your spine.  From there, 2 and 3 move that energy to the navel point and 4 moves it up the spine, promoting thyroid production in order to liberate sucrose to the brain.  5 moves the energy to the brain, stimulating clear thinking and allows the electromagnetic field of the body to intensify with the clarity of thinking.  6 and 7 unify and draw your spiritual and physical resources into a usable and more stable form of energy to be utilized when you are tired.

Clear and calm thinking

The Motorcycle Yogi

Concerning Christianity and Yoga

Doctor R. Albert Mohler is the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the primary seminary and theological backbone of the Southern Baptist Convention.  He wrote an essay on www.albertmohler.com discussing Stephanie Syman’s book The Subtle Body: the Story of Yoga in America in which he makes a pretty dramatic statement.

“When Christians practice yoga, they must either deny the reality of what yoga represents or fail to see the contradictions between their Christian commitments and their embrace of yoga.” Dr. Mohler brings this conclusion due to a number of fallacious yet deeply-held assumptions within his own Southern Baptist culture that need to be addressed from a yogi who comes from that same tradition.

Let’s look at his argument, shall we?

In my humble opinion, this all derives from his understanding of kundalini.  Kundalini is, as we all know, the basic primal life-energy that resides at the base of the spine and is channeled into higher energy so we can reconnect to the Divine/Universe.  Its a deeply spiritual yet non-religious path.  This, I think, is where Dr. Mohler gets lost.  The good doctor feels like this channeling of kundalini (which is also called sexual energy because its also generative energy, what makes new life through sex) is just using sex to raise our consciousness, conflating red tantra (which uses explicit sex to raise and hold energy) with other yoga paths.  What this practice actually does is transmute the primal energy into more etheric energies, to better connect with the higher Power/Universe.  Think of prayer – connecting to God – and know that this is just another means. 

Dr. Mohler, you can’t conflate one path into every yoga path’s methodology.  That would be like claiming that all theological leaders are gay because Bishop Eddie Long was playing with boys in his spiritual retreat.  Is that unfair to conflate one leader’s activities with the whole?  Yes, it is.  Therefore Dr. Mohler should not conflate one path with the whole.  Shame on you, sir.

Let’s move on, shall we? 

Let’s look at meditating.  Meditation, according to Dr. Mohler, is when the mind is empty and looking inward for answers.  However, this is not meditating in a yogic sense.  In yoga, the silence we achieve is to create a mental space to rest and be at peace.  In this peace, we can find the answers, but they don’t necessarily come from within.  Take the Biblical example of Elijah – he looked for God in the hurricane, the earthquake, and finally heard God in the quiet breeze (I Kings 19:12).  So, in this, In yoga, we make space to hear that quiet breeze when we meditate. 

So, I call bullshit on you, Dr. Mohler.  You can’t tell people something that meditation contradicts the Bible, or you are wrong.  You are being hypocritical at worst, or blissfully ignorant at best, in telling people that God does not talk to us in the quiet of our minds.  Its also somewhat hypocritical to practice dwelling in the presence of God, as Kevin Martineau discusses here, when Martineau is in essence telling his people how to meditate and feel the presence of the Divine.

I guess its a matter of DADT, right?  If you don’t ask, we don’t tell you that you are meditating…

So, let’s talk about the other thing, the thing that scares Christians.  Sex… that insidious beast that thunders in our loins and drives us to greatness, recklessness, and the need to marry.  We lust after beauty, we desire to sate our lust and bring ourselves to ecstacy.  We are human, rooted in a body that desires these things in order to perpetuate the human race.  Christianity’s fear of this primal energy can be traced to Paul of Tarsus, who apparently had an issue with women in general.  Pauline Christianity – which is an appropriate designation for most forms of Christianity – takes Paul’s teachings as amplifications and clarifications of Jesus of Nazareth’s teachings… which contradicts Dr. Mohler’s primary belief – Jesus’ divinity.  If Jesus was God, then why does His teaching need clarification. Can’t God talk clearly to everyone?

Therefore, the paradox exists – either deny Jesus his divinity, or accept that Paul was an undue influence in Christianity and either reject his influence… tough choice for people who have internalized their rejection of their own appetites. 

Look, we get that you are struggling with – how to maintain this elevated discourse with God while wanting to take your mate and give her some hot love… do these have to be separate?  God gave you a mate to slake that heat and taste the bliss involved when you and your mate quit being two and become one for that split second of incredible pleasure.  God gave that hot, torrid embrace to taste what ecstacy is like so you can share it with your partner forever. 

To take that and transmute it into something that elevates you spiritually to God should be something you would want – imagine instead of stroking furtively in the dark, that energy was focused into communion with God… why again do you not find that desirable?  It’s bound to be better than endless stained sheets and other clothing. Besides, I guess no one pointed out to Dr. Mohler that meditating is good for the brain.

To finish this response, Dr. Mohler concludes with ” Christians who practice yoga are embracing, or at minimum flirting with, a spiritual practice that threatens to transform their own spiritual lives into a “post-Christian, spiritually polyglot” reality.”  In this, Dr. Mohler feels that Christians are at risk of becoming something that he doesn’t recognize, and therefore is not really Christian.Yet more bullshit.  This fallacy occurs because Dr. Mohler thinks he is an authority of what Christian is… and the only thing he really has expertise is in being a Southern Baptist.  This is like saying all tires are Michelin because Michelin makes tires.  Christians will never stop being Christians because of yoga because yoga is not a conversion.  It’s just a practice that helps clarify the person’s connection to the Universe/God/Divine.  the polyglot part applies to those who don’t subscribe to Christianity, though, and this will give them another tool in a vast chest to find God.

Maybe, Dr. Mohler, you should take your limited view and instead of condemning without understanding, learn about what you are talking about.  It’s clear that you are neither as conversant with your Bible as you think you are, and definitely not educated beyond some sadly held misunderstandings of what yoga is.  You should fix that, sir.  You are a Christian leader, and instead of unifying your people, you added a new fracture in a mosaic of cracks, simply for feeling like you had a good, easy target.  By doing this, though, you simply tarnished an image of Christian leaders that’s still cleaning egg off its collective face.  Most Christian leaders marginalize themselves from other spiritual leaders simply because they speak authoritatively without understanding, so in essence those who get maligned end up shaking out heads in amused disbelief…

I see that you are trying to lead your people to a closer walk with God.  We all want that, sir.  Maybe instead of condemning, you heard some dialogue instead.  Its worked for Billy Graham, and the Pope. 

I offer this – I teach Kundalini Yoga, a yoga designed to help you in your path.  Come take my class and compare what you think you know to what you find… you’ll be surprised how much of what I teach is just another version of what you teach or intuitively know about your own spirit already.

Sat Nam (I see the truth in you)

the Motorcycle Yogi.

Why “the Motorcycle Yogi?”

Sat Nam!

The question was posed to me – why call your blog Motorcycle Yogi?  I thought this was entertaining, so I did what I like to do – turn a simple explanation into a yarn.

Firstly, people who know me know I ride a motorcycle.  Yes, I wear leather (I don’t particularly like wearing dead animal skin, but leather is tougher than I am, so I’d rather damage dead animal skin than my tender living skin) and I ride a motorcycle (a Yamaha V-Star, to be exact).  I’d like to address that first.

Most people feel that riding a motorcycle is dangerous.  I tend to agree – San Antonio is not known for the high caliber of driving skill, and everyone thinks a cherry bomb and some rims is all you need to make a tuner out of a POS (piece of s***) car.  For me, then, I have to bring all my awareness, all my thinking, and focus clearly and concisely upon what I am doing, which is riding my motorcycle.  I can’t think of how crappy my day was, or how hungry I am.  These non-critical things go away in the face of flying at seventy miles an hour on a highway with people who think they can tune out and drive home on autopilot.

In other words, in order to be a safe rider, I have to be totally in the present, in the now, and focused precisely on what I am doing, while being aware of what is going on around me. 

Riding a motorcycle, then, becomes a form of meditation.  For me, that means that the more time I spend in that meditative state, the calmer and more at peace I am.  Therefore I find myself almost completely lost in the act of Being as I ride.  It’s very peaceful, although a little sticky during the summer.

So… a thought on the word Yogi.

I tend to shy from titles… I don’t want to be Master, Siri, Sahib, Swami or any other title.  I’ve seen the guys who claim these lofty titles (sadly, the English equivalent is Sir, but Sir as in Knight or other elevated person) and when they fall, as they do… you find piddly, venal little sins that led to their downfall.  They were screwing the help, or the parishioners, or whoever.  Maybe they dipped into the cookie jar instead of their pockets for a car, or a plane. 

Often they have a wife who has to deal with the infidelity or fraud and put a brave face on, because previous wives from others who fell did.  Either way, they fall down, and their loved ones have the fallout to deal with.  Lives get ruined.  People get hurt.  Folks lose their way because instead of realizing they are the servant of the people, they think they have power, when in fact their authority derives solely from their service.  Isn’t that ironic, all these people with Bishop and Cardinal and Father and Pastor with pretensions of grandeur when they have it solely to minister to those they look down on? 

I think that titles are pretensions.  I am on a path to mastery, but I am not a master, so I should not have aspirations to that title.  Those that need a title to reflect themselves perhaps aren’t suited to be in power.  I don’t need someone to drape me with the accourtrements to be what I am inside.  Mastery is a path, not a destination.  The moment you think you got there, and you stop, then it’s gone.

I would rather be humble than lofty.  My bath spigot brings hot and cold water regardless of whether its steel or gold.  My bike serves me as well as a Rolls-Royce.  I still pull my clothes on one limb at a time.

I do, however, use the title Yogi.  Why?  In Sanskrit, Yogi means someone who does yoga.  karateka is a karate practicioner.  Judoka is someone who does judo.  So, I take Yogi as a title.  Its the most basic of terms… no Guru for me, or Swami, or any other title.

I teach because I think I can do some good in the world by teaching what I know. 

I don’t need the power of a title, or want one.  I’m the Motorcycle Yogi just because it helps other people distinguish me from the other yogis and yoginis (male and female yoga practicioners) in a person’s head.

That’s it.

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