Is That Yoga, or Just a Pose? And What Happens When a Monk Loses His Sh*t?

I’m not the best yoga “instructor”. 

There. I said it. And you knew that.  

I can lead a good hatha class, but I’m not an asana expert. Those instructors who can take us though a flawless flow are amazing at what they do and I love it.  Vinyasa baby!

But … that was never really my focus; instructing poses.

My goal is to be yoga.  Not to just instruct a class, but to teach yoga.  And not just to teach in a formal setting, time, and place, but to teach through being; through and throughout natural human engagement.

It’s a goal.  In the meantime, “I am no yogi” is a reminder to myself of the journey.  I’ve come from way back there, I’m here now, and have a ways to go.

Before yoga, I trained in martial arts for almost 40 years, earning black belts in three different disciplines as well as other ranks in various arts.  I am a martial artist, but I’m no monk.

In martial arts, I had this ideal of what a master is.  Then, one day I saw a Buddhist monk lose his shit.  It hit me sideways. I thought, “That’s not supposed to happen!”  Hmm.

In yoga, I had this same kind of experience.  She had the purple hair, tattoos, and mala bracelets.  She spoke softly and said Namaste a lot.  But, then one day, she snarled and spoke hatred towards our president and war against him (at the time).  Totally unsolicited.  Om … shanti, shanti, shanti. 

Was all that asana just posing?  Was she just faking it, with no interest in making it? 

Was my martial arts master an alter ego; a part he played inside the dojo?

Time and introspection provided me some perspective.

We are all human, Wabi Sabi as we are.  Perfectly imperfect; beautiful because we’re a little fucked up.  We’ve been through some shit; some more than others.  But, we’re trying to walk a path of peace, forgiveness, care, empathy, happiness, and understanding, while being careful not to be a fool at the same time.  In doing so we slip, trip, and fall.  A lot.  I do.  A lot.  So, who am I to judge?        

I learned so much from that Buddhist monk over the years, as well as that yoga instructor.  The source is human, but the wisdom is transcendental. 

The word “Yoga” means union.  A union of our individual consciousness with that of the universe.  In martial arts, the word “Ki”, “Chi”, or “Qi” as in Aikido, Tai Chi, or Qi Gong, also means universal energy. 

In a vacuum, being as one with all things universal, at peace and content, sounds awesome. But, it’s more of an endeavor, not so much as destination.  

Reality has too much to say about it. 

Yogis and monks are humans too.  This isn’t a free-pass, but just an awareness that we’re all built from the same ingredients.   

But really; war on the president? Go back to start and do not pass go.


Photo by Caterina Sanders on Unsplash

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