Excellent article!!! I have had the pleasure of experiencing both hatha yoga, and Max Strom as a teacher. My practice of yoga has changed dramatically over the last 10 years I have been practicing. Moving from a “system” of movements that I thought might help me look more “ideal,” to this beautiful amazing transformative path that has made me who I am today. Yoga is the first breath I take in the morning….allowing me to be more consciously aware of my world. Yoga gives you permission to let go of anger, fear, resentment…and leaves you with a feeling of peace…calm. With yoga, you start viewing things differently…finding peace in the eyes of a stranger, the smile of a homeless man. And the beauty of it all is this….without yoga, you may have not even noticed that smile…that is yoga, that is peace!
as always, you have a way of boiling it down to the pure essence of what we need to hear. keep spreadin’ the word.
Thank you Max. You said this very well. I know from my personal experience that it is difficult, if not impossible, to be kind and open when the nervous system is stressed and fearful. Yoga helps in many ways.
True words from Max. I still remember your forgiveness meditation/asana class whih I took almost 2 years ago. It made me realize so much. It makes me think of the below mentioned quote…
“Let us not look back in anger or ahead in fear, but around in Awareness”
Thanks for making the yoga world and my world a better place.
Peace In, Love out,
Thank you for living the example for us to follow. Once again you move everyone with your intentions and your heart felt words.
Love and Light,
Thank you, Max. To a world of hearts filled with splinters, you are a giant, and gentle pair of tweezers.
Every time Max Strom comes to town, I take his class. His gentle, vibrant, thoughtful instruction illuminates yoga and makes the spiritual connection between breath and asana so clear. Max, you write with beauty and clarity and your presence honors your teachers. You are a living testament that the spirit of yoga will continue to manifest in the West.
How can you talk about Yoga without mentioning the philosophy of Vedanta and the 4 Yogas, eg Karma, Bhakti, Jnnana and Raja. Or for that matter Hinduism….
Yet you mention Sufism and Buddhism in the opening line…very odd…
Thank you for the article, Max, and for continuing to teach with grace. You are a very good writer as well. I particularly liked, “when people are in pain, they become self-centered and myopic. When people heal, they become more empathetic, self-less, and sympathetic to the pain and welfare of others”. As such, I see this with patients coming to our holistic medical center, Lotus East-West Medical Center, in Santa Monica, California ( http://www.lotusew.com ). As people heal, their eyes open to see there is a world all around them.
I can really relate to this article having gone through a bad patch and God crossed my path with that of Max Strom. I can relate to the samskaras and vasanas within us. Thanks for this wonderful article!
Hi Max. Long time no see. I hope you are well. Thanks for sharing your article that you wrote. It is beautifully written and it is a reminder of why I practice yoga and why many practice yoga and become so attracted to it’s amazing beauty. I particularly like what you write at the end ‘Health comes as a side effect from a grander intentâ€”the intent to breathe in God, and to ultimately embody God.’ Thank you for this wording. It brings a smile to my face. Sharon Denton, http://www.sharondenton.com
thankyou so much for this article, can i say that in my experience, unfortunately some of what you say was not true for me.
i started practising yoga, it did indeed bring me into contact with my emotions, and then i was there for nine years, the yoga practise did not help them go away it kept me there with them, a really horrible experience indeed. It was through balancing yoga with therapy & finally anti-depressants, that this situation began to change, i would prefer it if as teachers we gave a view of yoga that represents the truth of our dark side, and does not present it as a cure for them, at least not in the short term, many thanks
You truly have a way with words. Simple, to the point, embodying a grace of speech that both leads and inspires. Thank you for your heartfelt wisdom and guidance. Namaste~
Brilliant! Hatha Yoga is the perfect antidote to our modern afflictions. It is the only practice that nurtures mind, body and spirit, and as such enables the animals of efficiency that we are to fully take care of ourselves and still go on with our wonderful lives. I believe that in the next 10 years, yoga will make its way into every hospital, every school and every corporation in the country and it is pioneers like Max Strom who are leading the way! Thank you!!!
How well I know the liberating power of the breath, particularly “Hai-i!” Thank you as always for putting into words our deepest hopes and prayers, and thanks for the tools to help us find peace within and unity with all.
One of the posters wrote:
“How can you talk about Yoga without mentioning the philosophy of Vedanta and the 4 Yogas, eg Karma, Bhakti, Jnnana and Raja. Or for that matter Hinduism….
Yet you mention Sufism and Buddhism in the opening line…very odd”
This is a wise point, worth contemplation. I do not wish to step on any toes (or egos). There is, however, a significant point very visible here.
To compare Sufism (a mature mystical tradition) to the yoga that is popular throughout the world now (the very physically-focused forms) is like comparing an automobile to an airplane.
Yes, they are both vehicles. And yet, there are qualititative differences. It would be much closer to a truth to compare Sufism to the sacred Sanatana Dharma traditions mentioned by the other poster (i.e., Bhakti, Raja, etc.).
Does the average Joe & Jane in America seek out yoga because they desire God-consciousness? Or do they respond to the marketing of almost all yoga classes (e.g., “fitness,”
“flexibility,” “well-being,” etc.)?
Again, this is not meant to elicit vitriolic responses. I have found this to be the case in other forums.
There is a movement, in India, to bring yoga back to its true reality, that of being a perennial mystical tradition which one walks in order to become God-Realized.
It has so very little to do with physicality. Indeed, no matter how expertly, advanced, or healthy one may make one’s body, it will, as the Vedas emphasize, perish at death. The body certainly needs to be taken care of, for it is the vessel of the Divine. It is, though, a temporary phenomenon.
Yoga is the search for what does not perish, for what is permanent, and does not die.
As a neo-Vedantist myself, I’m usually pretty horrified at the bland way in which the word “Yoga” is used in Western circles. Yoga means union with the Divine, and the Indian yoga traditions are incredibly comprehensive. Hatha yoga is merely one type of yoga, and for most Vedantist yogis, probably one of the least important types. I have to say that I am appalled at the way the rich and diverse Indian yoga traditions have been reduced to mere hatha yoga in the West.
The key to becoming a mystic is 1st, obeying the spirit law, Be still & know God, by breathing like ur asleep while ur awake.—drawing air in w-diaphramatic phenomina, & after exhaling, hanging out in the exhaled state until u hit the white light where there is no time or space. 2nd, simultaneously obeying the celestial law, u cant enter the kingdom of heaven but as a child. This is accomplished by using the operating system of the earthly mind (thoughts,feelings, judgements) as u inhale, & using the operating system of the celestial mind as u exhale (no thought, just experiencing in a very high state of faith & being with). Key here is that we arent our thoughts or feelings. People who dont find hatha yoga transforming, are still hanging onto & owning thoughts & feelings, instead of using them as a mirror to see things about themselves that r in r blind spots, then letting them go, as they will leave because there is no further use for them…theres more on recognizing what happens that removes us from that state we achieve in being present, & how to stay in that state longer over time, so u can stay present longer…Theres much more. This is just alittle of what is happening in the unsaid as hatha yoga transforms us. we can talk if u want. Peace, Drew t.
consciously listen to your own brithnaeg, if it helps to start with intentionally breath louder than usual, inhale deep through your nose, and blow out of your mouth not fast just hard.and the really difficult bit, look at the blackness on the inside of your eye lid, sounds odd, and is extremely difficult especially if you have a vivid imagination like me but with practice it works, don’t let any images enter your head,totally clear everything from your mind, when you are thinking about nothing, no mental images or thoughts, and the only thing you can hear is your brithnaeg your pretty much there, do that for a while if you can maintain it you enter what i can only describe as a at peace statethis is how i meditate and i have kind of developed this method myself (it may have been done before) im sure there will be other methods out therehope this helpexperience