Enlighten Up! is a movie that examines the path to life transformation which yoga can offer. You can watch the trailer, read about the movie and my experience with meeting Kate Churchill, the director of the movie and Nick Rosen, the star of the movie here. Nick wrote a post reflecting on his experience which I found very interesting and wanted to share with you.

Going to the Mat: Confessions of a Yoga Guinea Pig

Written by Nicholas Rosen

A few years back, I got a call that would change my life. That sounds like a dramatic cliché, something from the movies. But that was the point. It was my friend Kate Churchill on the phone. She wanted me to be the subject of Enlighten Up!, her documentary about yoga. Not that I was a yogi. At the time, my idea of a sacred cow was a burger from the Corner Bistro. But Kate had a theory that yoga could change anyone, and she was looking for a hard case. After six months of intensive yoga, a man who couldn’t touch his toes would reach enlightenment.

The ensuing journey would bring me across the country, studying with and interviewing many of the biggest names in the yoga world. I played a dual role, serving as both yoga guinea pig and journalist in pursuit of the true story of yoga — where does it come from? What was it meant to achieve? — and followed the thread all the way to the heart of India.

I enjoyed yoga as much as the next guy: the stretching, the core strengthening, the gender ratios in class. Still, I couldn’t figure out the connection between yoga class and spiritual enrichment. Downward dog is a great hip opener, but was it a path to nirvana?

To find out, I undertook (or was subjected to) an intensive regime of stretching, breathing, and chanting things in an ancient language that I didn’t understand. I twisted myself into postures otherwise only achieved in a car accident. I even discovered body parts I never knew existed (For instance, I didn’t know I had a “xiphoid process” until a particularly rigorous 4-hour session of pranayama breathing caused this weird, semi-ossified cartilage at the tip of my sternum to poke out of my chest like an alien impregnating Sigourney Weaver. Who knew you could injure yourself breathing?)

While awaiting the spiritual payoff from all this stretching, I looked for empirical answers. And my research divulged some surprising things:

The yoga we practice these days, although dressed in the trappings of ancient Hindu authenticity, was born about one hundred years ago, largely under the influence of western culture. While the yoga world routinely refers to yoga as a five thousand year old tradition, it is only a little older than Bollywood.

The REAL yoga, ancient and obscure, was nothing like the feel-good hippie stretching of today. It was more like black magic: transforming one’s semen into magical nectar, flying around and taking over other peoples bodies, and the like. Yogis were like boogeymen and dark sorcerers. This according to David White, the leading American scholar in ancient yoga, who noted, “I haven’t seen them teaching this stuff at the local yoga studio.”

In a rare interview, BKS Iyengar, the 90-year old ambassador of yoga to the West, told me that his yoga, as taught to him by his master, was a purely physical exercise and completely unrelated to ancient philosophy. He says he invented and refined much of it himself. It wasn’t until 1960, while on a visit to London, that English intellectuals introduced Iyengar to the ancient “yoga sutras”. Five years later, he combined the yoga poses and the Hindu teachings together in his book “Light on Yoga,” which then sold hundreds of thousands of copies in the United States. And voila — the modern yoga craze was born. But it was basically a new age invention, not an ancient practice.

What did all this show me, beyond the savvy of yoga marketers and the credulity of American spiritual wannabees? It gives the lie to the notion that one yoga is more “authentic” than another, or that we in the west have somehow bastardized yoga into a profane exercise craze. It was already a crazy 20th century hybrid of calisthenics and khirtan when it got here.

Along my yoga odyssey, I encountered a western yoga culture struggling to reconcile ad hoc philosophy with modern life, exemplified by the teacher at Jivamukti in New York City who told the class that we shouldn’t get too negative on the war-mongering Bush Administration, because negativity is “unyogic.”

But as the weeks went by I eventually settled into a rhythm of yoga practice that formed its own logic. The pain eased, and I began to feel myself growing longer and stronger, and more sensitive to the slight maladjustments in posture and bodily symmetry. I learned to close my eyes, breathe in and visualize the oxygenated blood trickling through my veins. My shoulders began to settle back and my chest expanded, bestowing the sensation that my heart was opening to the world.

I found most precious moments always came during final relaxation. Once, I became gradually aware of a wash of green light trickling in from the windows of the room, like the dark ether at the bottom of the ocean. I sunk deeper into meditation and for the first time I think I really began to dream while awake.

I was still bemused by yoga philosophy, but even when the yoga teacher was saying something inane, like “Remember, your hamstrings are a symbol of your ego, so we must all just let go” – I found myself increasingly susceptible to this benign, new-age propaganda. Lying there all sweaty and exhausted, I began to send out healing and love to all beings on the earth – hell, even the Martians -with only a little tongue in my mental cheek.

And as much as I resisted the belabored classroom lectures and dime-store wisdom, I nevertheless found myself measuring my own behavior against them. Because frankly, practicing things like non-attachment and universal love and cross-legged headstands is pretty great, even if they can be found in the self help for hippies section of the bookstore.

And so what if yoga’s ancient pedigree is kind of a myth? Why do things have to be ancient to be worthwhile? I mean, human sacrifice is ancient, but that doesn’t make it cool. Meanwhile, the civil rights movement was invented in a 20th century, East-meets-west, Gandhi-meets-King Asian fusion. And that’s pretty cool.

Despite all the misappropriated hype about karma and enlightenment, yoga practice is still a powerful tool. The stretching and breathing, when coupled with a meditative, focused intention, can make you feel pretty damn good, even if the whole thing is choreographed to a Kanye West track. And one important day, working it out on the mat, I realized I needed to call my mom more often. And by measure of this subtle, earthly transformation, I guess Kate may have proven her hypothesis after all.

Reprinted with permission from Nick Rosen and The Huffington Post

Source: The Huffington Post

Photos: The Photo Gallery of Enlighten Up!

Enlighten Up! is a movie that examines the path to life transformation which yoga can offer. You can watch the trailer, read about the movie and my experience with meeting Kate Churchill, the director of the movie and Nick Rosen, the star of the movie here. Nick wrote a post reflecting on his experience which I found very interesting and wanted to share with you.

Going to the Mat: Confessions of a Yoga Guinea Pig

Written by Nicholas Rosen

A few years back, I got a call that would change my life. That sounds like a dramatic cliché, something from the movies. But that was the point. It was my friend Kate Churchill on the phone. She wanted me to be the subject of Enlighten Up!, her documentary about yoga. Not that I was a yogi. At the time, my idea of a sacred cow was a burger from the Corner Bistro. But Kate had a theory that yoga could change anyone, and she was looking for a hard case. After six months of intensive yoga, a man who couldn’t touch his toes would reach enlightenment.

The ensuing journey would bring me across the country, studying with and interviewing many of the biggest names in the yoga world. I played a dual role, serving as both yoga guinea pig and journalist in pursuit of the true story of yoga — where does it come from? What was it meant to achieve? — and followed the thread all the way to the heart of India.

I enjoyed yoga as much as the next guy: the stretching, the core strengthening, the gender ratios in class. Still, I couldn’t figure out the connection between yoga class and spiritual enrichment. Downward dog is a great hip opener, but was it a path to nirvana?

To find out, I undertook (or was subjected to) an intensive regime of stretching, breathing, and chanting things in an ancient language that I didn’t understand. I twisted myself into postures otherwise only achieved in a car accident. I even discovered body parts I never knew existed (For instance, I didn’t know I had a “xiphoid process” until a particularly rigorous 4-hour session of pranayama breathing caused this weird, semi-ossified cartilage at the tip of my sternum to poke out of my chest like an alien impregnating Sigourney Weaver. Who knew you could injure yourself breathing?)

While awaiting the spiritual payoff from all this stretching, I looked for empirical answers. And my research divulged some surprising things:

The yoga we practice these days, although dressed in the trappings of ancient Hindu authenticity, was born about one hundred years ago, largely under the influence of western culture. While the yoga world routinely refers to yoga as a five thousand year old tradition, it is only a little older than Bollywood.

The REAL yoga, ancient and obscure, was nothing like the feel-good hippie stretching of today. It was more like black magic: transforming one’s semen into magical nectar, flying around and taking over other peoples bodies, and the like. Yogis were like boogeymen and dark sorcerers. This according to David White, the leading American scholar in ancient yoga, who noted, “I haven’t seen them teaching this stuff at the local yoga studio.”

In a rare interview, BKS Iyengar, the 90-year old ambassador of yoga to the West, told me that his yoga, as taught to him by his master, was a purely physical exercise and completely unrelated to ancient philosophy. He says he invented and refined much of it himself. It wasn’t until 1960, while on a visit to London, that English intellectuals introduced Iyengar to the ancient “yoga sutras”. Five years later, he combined the yoga poses and the Hindu teachings together in his book “Light on Yoga,” which then sold hundreds of thousands of copies in the United States. And voila — the modern yoga craze was born. But it was basically a new age invention, not an ancient practice.

What did all this show me, beyond the savvy of yoga marketers and the credulity of American spiritual wannabees? It gives the lie to the notion that one yoga is more “authentic” than another, or that we in the west have somehow bastardized yoga into a profane exercise craze. It was already a crazy 20th century hybrid of calisthenics and khirtan when it got here.

Along my yoga odyssey, I encountered a western yoga culture struggling to reconcile ad hoc philosophy with modern life, exemplified by the teacher at Jivamukti in New York City who told the class that we shouldn’t get too negative on the war-mongering Bush Administration, because negativity is “unyogic.”

But as the weeks went by I eventually settled into a rhythm of yoga practice that formed its own logic. The pain eased, and I began to feel myself growing longer and stronger, and more sensitive to the slight maladjustments in posture and bodily symmetry. I learned to close my eyes, breathe in and visualize the oxygenated blood trickling through my veins. My shoulders began to settle back and my chest expanded, bestowing the sensation that my heart was opening to the world.

I found most precious moments always came during final relaxation. Once, I became gradually aware of a wash of green light trickling in from the windows of the room, like the dark ether at the bottom of the ocean. I sunk deeper into meditation and for the first time I think I really began to dream while awake.

I was still bemused by yoga philosophy, but even when the yoga teacher was saying something inane, like “Remember, your hamstrings are a symbol of your ego, so we must all just let go” – I found myself increasingly susceptible to this benign, new-age propaganda. Lying there all sweaty and exhausted, I began to send out healing and love to all beings on the earth – hell, even the Martians -with only a little tongue in my mental cheek.

And as much as I resisted the belabored classroom lectures and dime-store wisdom, I nevertheless found myself measuring my own behavior against them. Because frankly, practicing things like non-attachment and universal love and cross-legged headstands is pretty great, even if they can be found in the self help for hippies section of the bookstore.

And so what if yoga’s ancient pedigree is kind of a myth? Why do things have to be ancient to be worthwhile? I mean, human sacrifice is ancient, but that doesn’t make it cool. Meanwhile, the civil rights movement was invented in a 20th century, East-meets-west, Gandhi-meets-King Asian fusion. And that’s pretty cool.

Despite all the misappropriated hype about karma and enlightenment, yoga practice is still a powerful tool. The stretching and breathing, when coupled with a meditative, focused intention, can make you feel pretty damn good, even if the whole thing is choreographed to a Kanye West track. And one important day, working it out on the mat, I realized I needed to call my mom more often. And by measure of this subtle, earthly transformation, I guess Kate may have proven her hypothesis after all.

Reprinted with permission from Nick Rosen and The Huffington Post

Source: The Huffington Post

Photos: The Photo Gallery of Enlighten Up!

Enlighten Up! is a movie that examines the path to life transformation which yoga can offer. You can watch the trailer, read about the movie and my experience with meeting Kate Churchill, the director of the movie and Nick Rosen, the star of the movie here. Nick wrote a post reflecting on his experience which I found very interesting and wanted to share with you.

Going to the Mat: Confessions of a Yoga Guinea Pig

Written by Nicholas Rosen

A few years back, I got a call that would change my life. That sounds like a dramatic cliché, something from the movies. But that was the point. It was my friend Kate Churchill on the phone. She wanted me to be the subject of Enlighten Up!, her documentary about yoga. Not that I was a yogi. At the time, my idea of a sacred cow was a burger from the Corner Bistro. But Kate had a theory that yoga could change anyone, and she was looking for a hard case. After six months of intensive yoga, a man who couldn’t touch his toes would reach enlightenment.

The ensuing journey would bring me across the country, studying with and interviewing many of the biggest names in the yoga world. I played a dual role, serving as both yoga guinea pig and journalist in pursuit of the true story of yoga — where does it come from? What was it meant to achieve? — and followed the thread all the way to the heart of India.

I enjoyed yoga as much as the next guy: the stretching, the core strengthening, the gender ratios in class. Still, I couldn’t figure out the connection between yoga class and spiritual enrichment. Downward dog is a great hip opener, but was it a path to nirvana?

To find out, I undertook (or was subjected to) an intensive regime of stretching, breathing, and chanting things in an ancient language that I didn’t understand. I twisted myself into postures otherwise only achieved in a car accident. I even discovered body parts I never knew existed (For instance, I didn’t know I had a “xiphoid process” until a particularly rigorous 4-hour session of pranayama breathing caused this weird, semi-ossified cartilage at the tip of my sternum to poke out of my chest like an alien impregnating Sigourney Weaver. Who knew you could injure yourself breathing?)

While awaiting the spiritual payoff from all this stretching, I looked for empirical answers. And my research divulged some surprising things:

The yoga we practice these days, although dressed in the trappings of ancient Hindu authenticity, was born about one hundred years ago, largely under the influence of western culture. While the yoga world routinely refers to yoga as a five thousand year old tradition, it is only a little older than Bollywood.

The REAL yoga, ancient and obscure, was nothing like the feel-good hippie stretching of today. It was more like black magic: transforming one’s semen into magical nectar, flying around and taking over other peoples bodies, and the like. Yogis were like boogeymen and dark sorcerers. This according to David White, the leading American scholar in ancient yoga, who noted, “I haven’t seen them teaching this stuff at the local yoga studio.”

In a rare interview, BKS Iyengar, the 90-year old ambassador of yoga to the West, told me that his yoga, as taught to him by his master, was a purely physical exercise and completely unrelated to ancient philosophy. He says he invented and refined much of it himself. It wasn’t until 1960, while on a visit to London, that English intellectuals introduced Iyengar to the ancient “yoga sutras”. Five years later, he combined the yoga poses and the Hindu teachings together in his book “Light on Yoga,” which then sold hundreds of thousands of copies in the United States. And voila — the modern yoga craze was born. But it was basically a new age invention, not an ancient practice.

What did all this show me, beyond the savvy of yoga marketers and the credulity of American spiritual wannabees? It gives the lie to the notion that one yoga is more “authentic” than another, or that we in the west have somehow bastardized yoga into a profane exercise craze. It was already a crazy 20th century hybrid of calisthenics and khirtan when it got here.

Along my yoga odyssey, I encountered a western yoga culture struggling to reconcile ad hoc philosophy with modern life, exemplified by the teacher at Jivamukti in New York City who told the class that we shouldn’t get too negative on the war-mongering Bush Administration, because negativity is “unyogic.”

But as the weeks went by I eventually settled into a rhythm of yoga practice that formed its own logic. The pain eased, and I began to feel myself growing longer and stronger, and more sensitive to the slight maladjustments in posture and bodily symmetry. I learned to close my eyes, breathe in and visualize the oxygenated blood trickling through my veins. My shoulders began to settle back and my chest expanded, bestowing the sensation that my heart was opening to the world.

I found most precious moments always came during final relaxation. Once, I became gradually aware of a wash of green light trickling in from the windows of the room, like the dark ether at the bottom of the ocean. I sunk deeper into meditation and for the first time I think I really began to dream while awake.

I was still bemused by yoga philosophy, but even when the yoga teacher was saying something inane, like “Remember, your hamstrings are a symbol of your ego, so we must all just let go” – I found myself increasingly susceptible to this benign, new-age propaganda. Lying there all sweaty and exhausted, I began to send out healing and love to all beings on the earth – hell, even the Martians -with only a little tongue in my mental cheek.

And as much as I resisted the belabored classroom lectures and dime-store wisdom, I nevertheless found myself measuring my own behavior against them. Because frankly, practicing things like non-attachment and universal love and cross-legged headstands is pretty great, even if they can be found in the self help for hippies section of the bookstore.

And so what if yoga’s ancient pedigree is kind of a myth? Why do things have to be ancient to be worthwhile? I mean, human sacrifice is ancient, but that doesn’t make it cool. Meanwhile, the civil rights movement was invented in a 20th century, East-meets-west, Gandhi-meets-King Asian fusion. And that’s pretty cool.

Despite all the misappropriated hype about karma and enlightenment, yoga practice is still a powerful tool. The stretching and breathing, when coupled with a meditative, focused intention, can make you feel pretty damn good, even if the whole thing is choreographed to a Kanye West track. And one important day, working it out on the mat, I realized I needed to call my mom more often. And by measure of this subtle, earthly transformation, I guess Kate may have proven her hypothesis after all.

Reprinted with permission from Nick Rosen and The Huffington Post

Source: The Huffington Post

Photos: The Photo Gallery of Enlighten Up!

Enlighten Up! “Просветление!” е филм, който изпитва пътя към трансформирането на живота, каквото йога може да предложи. Можете да видите трейлъра тук, прочетете за филма и моят опит от срещите ми с Кейт Чърчил, режисьора на филма и Ник Розен звездата на филма тук. Ник написа пост, който отразява неговите преживявания, които намирам за много интересни и пожелах да ги споделя с вас.

Пътуване към Мат: Изповедите на Едно Йога Морско Свинче

 

 Написано от Никола Розен

Един ден, преди няколко години, получавам обаждане, което би променило живота ми. Звучи като драматично клише, като нещо от филмите. Но това беше до едно време. Приятелката ми Кейт Чърчил беше на телефона. Искаше от мен да бъда предметът на “Просветление”!, нейният документален флм за йога. Не, че бях йога. По онова време моята идея за свещена крава беше бургер от Корнър бистро.  Но Кейт имаше теория, че йога може да промени всеки и си търсеше сериозен случай. След шест месеца на интензивна йога, човекът, който не можеше да докосне пръстите на краката си, сега би достигнал просветление.

Следващото пътуване ме пренесе през страната, учейки с и интервюирайки много от най-големите имена в светованата йога. Аз играех  двойна роля, бях морско свинче йога, както и журналист в преследване на истинската история за йога – но къде е тя? Какво трябваше да постигне? – и следвайки нишката се озовах в сърцето на Индия.

Наслаждавах се на йога както всеки друг: стречинга, все по-голямата сила, съотношението на половете групата. Все още не можех да определя връзката между заниманията с йога и духовното обогатяване. Позата на “Гледащо надолу куче” те отваря, но е ли път към нирвана?

За да разбера предприех (или се подложих на) интензивен режим на разтягане (стречинг), дишане и пеене на неща на древен език, който не разбирах. Усуквах се в пози, които иначе може човек да заеме само в автомобилна катастрофа. Даже открих части а тялото, за които не подозирах, че съществуват. (Например, не знаех, че имам “хипоиден процес” (мечовиден), докато една особено строга сесия на пранаяма дишане не ми причини фатално полувкостяване на хрущяла на върха на стернума (гръдната кост), който се подаде напред от гърдите ми, като на някое извънземно, завладяващо Сигорни Уивър.  На кого ще му хрумне, че може да се нарани с дишане?)

Докато очаквах духовно отплащане от цялото това разтягане, аз търсех емпирични отговори. И моето проучване разкри изненадващи неща:

Йогата, която практикуваме тези дни, въпреки че е облечена във официалния костюм на древна хиндуистка автентичност, беше родена преди около сто години, до голяма степен, под влиянието на западната култура. Докато светът на йога формално се позовава на йога като на петстотин годишна традиция, тя е съвсем малко по стара от Болиуд.

ИСТИНСКАТА йога, древна и загадъчна, не беше в никакъв случай хипи разтягането от днес, което те кара да се чувстваш добре. Беше повече като черна магия: трансформираща спермата на някого в магически нектар, летяща наоколо и завладяваща телата на хората и разни подобни.  Йогите бяха като чудовищни магьосници. Това е според Дейвид Уайт, водещият американски учен в областта на древната йога, който отбелязва: “Не съм ги виждал да преподават тази материя в местното йога студио.”

В едно от редките интервюта, BKS Иенгар, 90-годишният посланик на йога на запад, както той сам е научен от неговия учител, казва, че неговата йога е чисто физическо упражнение и няма никаква връзка с древната философия. Той казва, че е създал и пречистил до голяма степен себе си. И това не се е случило до 1960 г., когато по време на посещение в Лондон, английски интелектуалци представят Иенгар на древните “Йога-сутри”.  Пет години по-късно, той комбинира йога позите и  хинду ученията в книгата си “Осветляване на йога”, която тогава се продава в стотици хиляди екземпляри в САЩ.  И voila — ражда се световната лудост по модерната йога. Но в основата си тя е създадена от модерните времена, не от древна практика.

Какво ми показа всичко това, отвъд умението на йога търговците и лековерието на американските духовни wannabees (амбициозни млади хора)? То е измама спрямо възгледа, който един йога е по-“автентичен” от друг или, че ние, на запад, някак си превърнахме незаконно родената йога в профанизирана лудост по тези упражнения. То беше вече един луд хибрид на 20-и век от калистеника и киртан.

По време на моята йога одисея, срещнах западната йога култура, бореща се да помири специалната философия с модерния живот, илюстрирана от учителя Дживамукти в Ню Йорк сити, който каза на своя клас, че не трябва да гледат много негативно на  администрацията на Буш, която се мъчи да им продаде идеята за войната, тъй като негативното не е “йогистко.”

Но минаваха седмици и накрая влязох в ритъма на йога практиката, която формира своя логика. Болката ме отпусна и започнах да се чувствам по-висок и по-чувствителен към леката неприспособеност в позите и уравновесяване на тялото.   Научих се да затварям очи, да дишам и визуализирам обогатяването с кислород на кръвта течаща във вените ми. Раменете ми започнаха да се изправят и гърдите ми да се разширяват, давайки ми усещането, че сърцето ми се отваря към света.

Винаги достигах до ценни моменти по време на финалната релаксация. Веднъж, постепенно осъзнах обливане със зелена светлина, която се процеждаше през прозорците на стаята, като тъмния ефир на дъното на океана.  Потъвах по-дълбоко в медитацията и мисля, че за първи път започнах да сънувам докато съм буден.

Бях все още изумен от йога философията, но когато йога учителят казваше нещо безсмислено,  като “Помнете, вашите подколенни сухожилия са  символ на вашето его, така че всички трябва да се отпуснем”  – усещах как започвам да се съмнявам в тази блага пропаганда от нов тип. Лежейки целият изпотен и изтощен, започвах да изпращам изцеление и любов по земята – по дяволите, даже и на Марс шеговито.

Колкото повече се съпротивлявах и ругаех лекциите в залата и мъдрости, като от магазина за един лев, откривах, че започвам да измервам своето поведение срещу тяхното. Защото, честно казано, да практикуваш неща като не привързаност към нищо, включително и към себе си, и всемирна любов в челна стойка с кръстосани крака е велико, даже и ако то може да се намери в секцията за самопомощ в книжарниците.

И какво ако древната етимология на йога е нещо като мит? И защо нещо трябва да е древно за да си струва? Искам да кажа, че ако за хората правенето на жертвоприношения е древно, това не ги прави готини. Междувременно, движението за граждански права възниква в 20-и век, Изтокът среща  Запада,  азиатският фюжън Ганди среща Краля са твърде готини неща.

Въпреки злоупотребата с пристрастяването към връзката карма и просветление, практикуването на йога е все пак, един мощен инструмент. Разтягането и дишането, комбинирани с фокусирано намерение в медитация, може да ви накара да се чувствате дяволски добре, даже ако това цялото нещо е хореографирано на музиката на Кани Уест.  И  в един важен ден, отработвайки го на килимчето, аз осъзнах, че имам нужда да звъня на майка си по-често.  И предполагам, че с мярката на тази едва доловима земна трансформация, в края на краищата, Кейт може би е доказала своята хипотеза.

Препечатано с разрешение от Ник Розен и The Huffington Post

Източник: The Huffington Post

Снимки: The Photo Gallery of Enlighten Up!

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