May 24, 2013

What is Yoga? ~ Uma Simon

A friend who is a truly gifted artist came to me looking for some advice.

When I looked at her body of work, I had this feeling of wonder and awe at not only the beauty but the originality of her pieces.

When describing the process of doing her work, suddenly the person who was struggling with her identity in the world disappeared and in its place arose someone who knew who she was and what she was meant to do in this life.

Marveling at the confidence she was now displaying, I remarked that her work seemed to be her yoga. She gratefully told me that she had come to that same conclusion: that when she did her work, her confusion about herself left and in its place emerged a confident, happy person.

Grateful for the insight myself, I reviewed what I knew to be the true meaning of yoga.

They call it the yoking of your spirit to God. And is not the creation of something wonderful within us that binds us to our spirit yoga also? Is it not a time when we let go of the smaller identification with our suffering and ourselves and somehow soar and merge into our spirits?

The other day I attended a conference of yoga in the southern part of Florida and was amazed at seeing the number of young women, all very fit it seemed, in wonderful sleek yoga outfits. I have to admit that I became a bit cynical in my views, wondering if this was just not another “fad” that some of them were jumping into in an effort to conform to the latest clique of enthusiasts.

How was it different from the Andy Warhol days, different fad, same groupies?

I then began to think that many fads, once clipped of their excess, can actually transform into wonderful ideals and became the zeitgeist of the times.

I am remembering my own participation in the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s. Arrested and jailed for picketing, I was suddenly thrust into a “club” composed of earnest idealists, movement junkies and people carrying a torch for anger, which I was not really interested in joining.

So while a number of us at a very young age jumped on that wagon, the movement itself transformed into one of the most significant achievements of our lifetime—the Civil Rights Act.

At the time I began my participation in “the civil rights movement,” I think that a variety of motives might have perhaps propelled me towards action.

Whatever the “reason” for my jumping on that wagon, my views certainly matured over the years—I am now very proud of myself for having participated in something that conformed, if not consciously at that time, with my present ideals.

So too, the aspiring yoginis might actually be responding to something they are not totally aware of now nor where that particular path will lead.

That certainly does not diminish the spirit that leads them now to begin a wonderful journey that can lead ultimately to surrendering to the true meaning of yoga, the yoking of their personalities to their spirit.

Long live yoga!


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Ed: Bryonie Wise



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