Friday, November 18, 2011

Yoga from the Inside Out pt.1

Before we can find peace among nations, we have to find peace inside that small nation which is our own being. BKS Iyengar
Unless people learn to differentiate between the essentials and non-essentials, peace will always elude them. BKS Iyengar
The first two chapters of Yoga from the Inside Out by Christina Sell have suprisingly resonated with me quite a bit. The focus of the chapters is largely on body image and the war that many people find themselves in between this idealized self perpetuated by the media and the true self that serves as a mirror image to the divine. Typically it seems our culture equates body image issues strictly to women but I assure you that is not always the case. Growing up I was a little on the heavy side and this continues to impact my life. Being over weight in middle school lends itself to all sorts of teasing especially when you find yourself in a more athletic crowd. After hearing the voices of people commenting on my weight for so long I began to believe them and as a result set myself down a path that was physically healthy but psychologically taxing. I changed my diet and began running excessively. Physically I became quite healthy and by my sophmore year of high school I was one of the top distance runners in my school, had grown considerably, and weighed less than I did in 6th grade. I could never shake body image issues. Christina describes this as a war with constant everyday battles that distract the individual from the pursuit of their true self and the divine.

Christina writes about the impact our society has had on body image and I think her analysis is spot on. Society and the media dictate not only what an ideal self might look like but also what an ideal man or woman should be, how they should act, and how they should interact. I could not help but question what an ideal man or woman would look or act like in accordance to our true self. Upon asking this question I realized that if we were in tune with our true self all along none of this would matter and life would simply be. If the true self is in union with the divine what use would body image be at all? Does God look in a mirror and think this is what God should look like? I doubt it. But how does one dissociate from these pressures and tune them out completely? Side note: Every question I seem to present in regards to yoga seems to have an answer that has been outlined by previous people. For instance the answer to that last question is practice. The sutras in chapter 1.14 say practice for then a firm foundation is laid. The trouble then becomes taking all this wisdom that has been left for us and applying it further than simply reading it. 

1 comment:

  1. That's a very good reminder Dan, about body image. It is not just a woman's issue. Glad you found so much to reasonate with in the book so far. My feeling about asking questions that others have asked is that it means you are asking the right sorts of questions. I've always found it somewhat comforting. Company along the path.