This month's (July 2008) issue of Shambhala Sun focuses on Yoga and Dharma - and it asks the important question: is this the best combination for the mind-body practice?
I do not possess the wisdom to speak for everyone if a combination of dharma and yoga is the BEST practice. I speak only for myself when I say that the two builds on each other, and allows a stronger foundation for a person's (well, me) emotional and spiritual growth. I can't imagine separating yoga and the dharma, because they are so inexplicably linked in my own experiences.
You can of course guess how well I take to this current issue's theme. One of my favourite segment is Andrea Miller's profile of five teachers (Cyndi Lee, Frank Jude Boccio, Sarah Powers, Jill Satterfield and Phillip Moffitt) who combine hatha yoga with Buddhist meditation.
I quote from Sarah Powers, who talks about a body versus mind-based approach:
"Coming through the doorway of the body, people eventually realize they have a mind that needs attention and, coming through the doorway of the mind, they eventually realize they have a body that is going to be either an obstacle of a support. Both directions point to their opposite, but more people become freer with just mind-based practices than become freer with just body-based practices. There are more pitfalls for body-based people. There's a tendency to do body practices to stay thin, have tight buns, and get attention for doing certain postures--egocentric motivations stemming from not knowing oneself truly. Eventually, as a yoga community we tap into deeper truths, but it's slower if they're not in the yoga room to start with. And they need to be there, because it's not really yoga if it doesn't involve the heart and mind."
I take this to heart: "it's not really yoga if it doesn't involve the heart and mind."
Sidenote: A previous issue of Shambhala Sun also featured an interview with singer k.d. lang on her music and her Tibetan Buddhist practice. The interview is now available online.