I’ve always been a huge fan of Bruce Lee. As a kid I remember going to Karate classes and watching “The big Boss” and other movies. I also remember how I felt after a Karate class; Focused, centred and confident. It wasn’t until I began practising yoga that I felt the same feelings all over again.
Even at such a young age, I’d realised Martial arts wasn’t about the fighting. As Bruce put it “Martial arts is about self-knowledge.” The work made me feel something different inside.
I went back to Bruce a couple of years ago. My Parents gave me a book voucher for my birthday and I bought “Bruce Lee ~ The art of expressing the human body.” A collection of Bruce’s training notes and believe me, he made lots of notes. His practice was as much yoga as you can possibly get and his philosophy was incredibly yogic as well.
One of the things in the book that really gave me a “Mindful smack” was a quote from Bruce; “There is no such thing as an effective segment of a totality.” You see, he believed strongly in the idea that, if you just trained yourself in one particular area, one particular style, flexibility would be lost, your practice would stiffen and become weak. The only way to stay strong in your practice is to take all practices, seek out the strongest poignant parts from each and meld them into one. This was how he started “Jeet Kun Do” what has become known as “The style without style.”
It needs to be the same with yoga. Hatha yoga is Hatha yoga. The physical practice of postures. Whether you call it; Ashtanga, Iyengar, Anusara, or any of the other myriad of styles, it’s still all Hatha yoga. To get caught within one particular style leaves one isolated to all the other styles. The only way to stay flexible is to embrace all. All is one.
Bruce Lee had to resign from the style that kept him caged. He wasn’t allowed to teach the way he wanted, to who he wanted and literally had to fight for the right to do so. And in doing this, he became an inspiration to millions all over the world.
No one style is better than the next but, it seems that a lot of the time yoga gets caught in trends where certain styles become more favourable than others. In the early stages of our practice, it’s possible to favour one style over another. As our practice deepens though, we may start seeing the attraction of other styles. To not be able to investigate every style could end up becoming stifling. Flexibility would be lost.
Learn the principle, abide by the principle, and dissolve the principle. In short, enter a mold without being caged in it. Obey the principle without being bound by it. LEARN, MASTER AND ACHIEVE!!! ~ Bruce Lee.