Via yoga 2.0 lab
on Jul 12, 2011
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by Matthew Remski


Epoche Gr.: the intersubjective moment in which experience reduces to seamless phenomena through the suspension of judgment. Said to happen when ideas about the world are “bracketed” and set aside for the sensory truths of relationship to emerge.


You begin to lengthen a muscle. At the first stroke of pleasure it takes over and lengthens itself. Your breath seeps into a forgotten place. A limb straightens. A network of unseen contractions disengages. Flesh and thought soften to neutral. Thought pauses its forward rush, and flesh reverses its retreat. The page goes blank in the script of identity. Pain diffuses with a flush of hot circulation. The pregnancy of future concern delivers the presently known and felt. Yoga happens to you.

Living forces honesty. Answers are seasonal, losing their sense precisely as they become scripture. You will die: this is the primary meaning. The world around you seems to bear helpless witness to your wandering. Other people suffer in the same way, and yet this seems to increase loneliness. But you can welcome despair like gravity, for at some point the sheer pressure, tectonic in the soma, compels a violent break in pattern: running through the woods, making love with an utter loss of self. The reality of your condition offers a stark gift you accept through sudden discharges of rage and rage’s joyful shadow: this is the only life you know, and it fills you to overflowing. You live your life, yoga happens to you.

You thought you were alone. You thought you were independent. Then, standing in the market with your hand on an orange, children underfoot, traffic humming, conversations blending with the radio by the cash register, shoes you did not make on your feet and clothes you did not sew on your back, sun slanting through the tin awning, you’re almost late for meeting someone, always almost too late. You know this orange will give you life, and you did not grow it. It will become your body: someone else gave it to you. Its colour adds immeasurably to your language and dreams while rhyming with nothing, and you did not conceive of it. The grocer’s hands became arthritic through a lifetime of handling boxes of oranges for you to eat. Someone else gives you your body. They could not give what they do not have. Someone else holds their body forth until it becomes your body.

This child triggers an internal laugh. A dog slaps her thick tail against your shin. Every single object that gives you life surrounds you. If you really were alone you would not exist. You did not make the air you breathe. You can’t say where the inside of your body begins. You are naturally reaching out as something reaches into you. No one and everyone taught you this. You surrender to the always-already-there, and yoga happens around you, through you.

photo by scott

Matthew Remski is an authoryoga and ayurvedic therapist and educator, and co-founder of Yoga Community Toronto. With Scott Petrie he is co-creator of yoga 2.0, a writing and community-building project.

yoga 2.0: shamanic echoesis now available for kindle and other e-readers.


About yoga 2.0 lab

Matthew Remski is an Ayurvedic practitioner and Yoga Teacher Trainer in Toronto. His latest book, Threads of Yoga, is gathering international acclaim. He's teaching this online course starting 1/7/14. It's currently full, but there is a reduced-tuition option for auditing. The 12 weekly lessons will be available online for six months following the course. Participants receive a 130-page manual of notes.


12 Responses to “epoche”

  1. AngelaRaines says:

    Love this.

  2. Marcella says:

    Yoga is neither effect, or phenomenal, or non-dual. Yoga is not like sunlight, or a force of nature, Nagarjuna will clear this aesthetic addiction up for you if you want. Sooner or later you will have to put the toys away.

  3. fivefootwo says:

    Are we going to play who has the most exact, accurate, impartial, & complete description of yoga? Some days your practice and what happens before and after can be recounted as pretty great. It is also pretty great when someone can share that in writing. I don't think this post is written to cover every possibility of what can be experienced through yoga.

  4. matthew says:

    Marcella, thank you for your input. I'm confused. Where do the toys go, once they're put away? Do yogis have a toy closet? Is the world a toy?

  5. matthew says:

    Marcella, thanks for your input. I'm confused. Where do the toys go when put away? Is there a yogi toy-closet? Is the world a toy?

  6. tanya lee markul says:


    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Assoc. Yoga Editor
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  7. tanya lee markul says:

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

  8. Carol Horton says:

    Lovely exposition on a great word (which I am chagrined to admit I didn't know) – going to add it to my yoga (& life) vocabulary.

  9. matthew says:

    big-time with the Greeks, but it really gets running with Husserl. sometimes used to describe a phase of analysis, which, quite beautifully, means: "a loosening".

  10. tanya lee markul says:

    Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

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