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Scott Nanamura: Diamond Heart Yoga

I first met Scott Nanamura in 2006 in South Lake Tahoe, California when I started going to his yoga classes at what at that time was ‘Mountain Yoga’. His intelligently sequenced classes both physically and mentally challenged me (in a good way) and were filled with intriguing philosophical insights. He captured my attention as a teacher. His teachings have definitely been pivotal for me on the path of yoga. In 2015, my beloved friends and Yoga Trade partners Pat and Christie visited Tahoe during a road trip. It was then they mentioned that they wanted to host a Yoga Teacher Training at the sustainable living center in Costa Rica they manage, and were looking for a teacher that would be a good fit. It just so happened that Scott was staying in his RV / mobile acupuncture office in the driveway at the house I was living in at the time! It was that summer that Pat & Christie met Scott and a synergistic relationship began. The following year Scott traveled to Central America to facilitate his first international Teacher Training and has been on a roll ever since! If you are looking to practice with a wise, grounded, focused, extremely knowledgeable yoga teacher with a background in Traditional Chinese Medicine, check out Scott and his offerings around the world! Here, we catch up with him to learn more of his story. Thank you for sharing the teachings and your light Scott! 

Can you tell us a little bit about your yoga background?

I actually took my first yoga class 44 years ago, in a small college town in a college course. I didn’t stick with it at the time, but it planted a seed of curiosity. A year and a half later when I moved to Lake Tahoe, I met a yoga teacher and started studying with him, his name was Doug Swenson. At the time, he had written one of the earlier books in English on yoga, and he was a very well know Ashtanga Yoga Teacher.

My yoga path continued and it waxed and waned for many years taking classes from many teachers, many different styles, until I took a class with some friends of mine, and they taught a style called Tibetan Heart Yoga. THY (Tibetan Heart Yoga) very strongly brought back the component of the wisdom teachings and subtle body teachings with the asana practice. All of the previous classes I had taken hadn’t done that. It was all a separate component. The Tibetan Heart Yoga really connected with my heart in a deep way and it spurred me onto really wanting to study its system and style much deeper. For the next 5 years I dove into more of the TBY system, studied Master Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and deepened my knowledge of Hatha Yoga at the same time.

What allowed you to take the leap of faith and start an international yoga teacher school?

I had been teaching yoga for 10 years and I also had a private acupuncture practice. All the while teaching Tai Chi and buddhist philosophy at a local college, and I wanted to combine all these methodologies ,so I could teach these all in one place at one time. This is when I had the thought of combining modalities into a Teacher Training. I gravitated towards the teachings of Buddhism and used it in the yogic philosophy, because of the way Buddhism explains the ideas and concepts, it made it easier to understand the yoga teachings. I also had a lot of teachers come up to me in the past asking for week retreats, intensives & workshops to go deeper into the subjects that were lacking in their trainings, which is what inspired me to start Diamond Heart Yoga.

In a sometimes saturated yoga world, what makes your trainings stand out from the rest?

In these trainings and retreats I draw from a deep experience of extensive training from a masters degree in TCM, Traditional Tibetan Buddhism and Yoga philosophy. With my many years of training in TCM, Tai Chi and yoga, comes a rich background in Anatomy and Functional Anatomy. Over the years of taking classes, teaching classes & leading teacher trainings all over the world, I’ve noticed that the Anatomy, Functional Anatomy & philosophy is a missing component in many trainings, and these components are key to further a teacher’s knowledge to be able to inspire their students to have a richer & transformative experience in class.

What have you learned from your travels over the last few years?

I think everyone should travel in their lifetime, it allows you to see how other people live around the world. When you live in an industrialized country, it’s easy to forget how grateful to be for everything you have. Many of the people around the world don’t have those things. So everywhere I travel, it allows me to be grateful for everything we have and to stop complaining about the little things.

What are some of the challenges you face as a yoga teacher trainer?

I think one of the biggest challenges is having students coming into the trainings with a full cup. These are the ones that learn the least and come in with the biggest egos. I guide them to become good students again by emptying their cup and becoming a sponge as they learn away of thinking that comes from a completely different culture that’s been passed down from teacher to student for thousands of years.

Where does the name ‘Diamond Heart’ come from?

The Diamond in your heart center represents wisdom, combined with the idea of the lotus that represents compassion. Wisdom and compassion are like 2 wings of a bird. They go hand in hand together, which understands the ultimate truth to purify any negative energy that may arise. Allowing us to create the kind of world we want to see in the future, by dedicating our lives to serving others.

What upcoming trainings are you most excited about?

We are very excited to reconnect with the Balinese culture and lifestyle in July & August, but all the other venues we have chosen are also magical locations around the world. After Bali, we have Morocco, Spain, Sri Lanka and then back to Bali to end 2019. On the calendar for 2020, we have Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua and more to announce. Every location has its own kind of magic and we are excited for each and every one, but in the end, the students are the ones that make the trainings!

How do you see modern day yoga evolving over the next 10 years?

I would like to see more of the lifestyle and philosophy components return to the forefront in the studios & trainings. As a teacher trainer that travels the world doing trainings, I have seen the monetization of this ancient practice morph into the business of making money as a yoga teacher. Over the next 10 years I see this process growing, where the business of yoga will grow just as any other business, It has become a form of commerce. For some people, yoga studios have become something sacred to them, and it has become their church and as more people learn about the philosophy, more people will turn to this ancient form of wisdom.

Who have been some of your greatest teachers?

Some of my greatest teachers are Geshe Michael Roach, Lama Christie McNally, Lama Sumati Marut, Lama David Fishman, Lama Brandy Davis, Doug Swenson and all of my students including my son Aki’o.

Do you have a favorite mantra to live by?

I have a few…
Om Thank You Ah Hung
Om It’s like this now Ah Hung

Anything else you’d like to share?

Using the wisdom from Master Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, we can start to identify our limited belief system and move towards a more conscious belief system that opens your heart to connect with others, leading a more selfless altruistic lifestyle, creating the ultimate happiness that everyone yearns for deep inside their heart.

 

 

Scott Nanamura: My background includes a Masters Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine which includes, Acupuncture, Herbology, Nutrition, Exercise Therapy (Tai Chi Chuan and Qi Gong), and Remedial Therapy (massage, Tui Na). I have additionally completed Tibetan Buddhism courses, been practicing yoga for 40 years and teaching for 15. I have worked to cultivate the unique ability to bring ancient teachings into a modern setting, to touch the human heart. I work to inspire students to practice with awareness and intention on the mat, and to use the teachings off the mat in everyday life situations. My goal when teaching is to converge compassion and wisdom, art and yoga.

Connect:

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FB: @diamondheartyoga

IG: @diamondheartyoga

 

Hot Yoga Isn’t Punishment: 10 Tips for Making Friends With Your Body During a Hot Yoga Class

Friends, friends: it’s that time of year.

I’ve taught Saturday and Sunday mornings for seven years now, and every December around this time folks roll into class ready to sweat out every canape and martini they half-drunkenly inhaled at the office holiday party the night before. Sometimes they’re wearing six layers of clothing in a 99-degree room so as to “detox” all the pinot and the feta and the gingerbread, armed with liters of coconut water and a couple of big towels for mopping up the evidence.

This always makes me a little bit sad.

I mean, I totally get it. I remember countless hazy, hungover twentysomething mornings spent rolling into Bikram classes feeling like I needed to do the same thing. Too many yoga practices that felt like atonement for the night before.

A decade later, as a hot yoga teacher myself, I cringe to think that my class could ever be complicit in my students’ self-abasement.

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So here I am to remind you: hot yoga is not a punishment.

You are not here to flog yourself for everything you consumed last night — especially in this season of overindulgence. You’re not here to beat your body into submission. You’re not here to burn enough calories that you “can have” that extra slice of pie tonight at Grandma’s.

You do not have to “detox” every bit of sugar you’ve eaten in the last month. Your body already has a great built-in system for that. It’s called your liver.

Get this: your body is your friend. Gulp, what? Yes, your friend. Your ally. Your buddy-for-life. Why not start celebrating it rather than shaming it?

Rather than making your yoga practice a participant in the kind of soul-sucking cycle wherein you eat and drink delicious things and then punish your body for eating them, how about you shift your mindset? Then, your yoga can become less a fitness regimen and more an opportunity to lovingly check in with your body and your mind in the midst of what is already often a frantic, busy holiday season. An opportunity to get quiet. To listen a little more. To offer your body grace for getting up in the morning and getting dressed and trudging through ice and snow and staying healthy and awake and alive in some of the darkest, coldest days of the year.

Portland, Oregon studio owner (and former Olympic ice skater) Jamie Silverstein has written a powerful article about this. In “Cut the Fat Speak: An Open Letter to the Yoga Community and Message for the Holiday Season,” she writes:

“Every time we speak in terms that portray food, exercise, reward, even love (!) as part of an economy of exchange, we are latently affirming a message of, “You are not good enough as you are.” Every time we employ a rhetoric of action-consequence we effectively say, “You are not enough.” Simply, this is not yoga….

On a more personal note, as a recovered anorexic/bulimic and eating disorder (ED) recovery advocate, I feel that this language is not only maladaptive, but that it also reinforces a dangerous ideal. Both from my personal practices and my work in the ED recovery field, I’ve encountered how the negative conditioning an exercise-exchange economy adversely affects people. It is often tantamount to verbal abuse. This is ironic, because as yogis, we are committed to ahimsa.”

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And living with ahimsa means creating less suffering, even for ourselves, right?

One of my favorite meditation teachings (I think it comes from Ethan Nichtern, but it might’ve been Susan Piver, too) is the notion that meditation is the process of making friends with ourselves. How beautiful is that? I know, I know; it sounds kind of cheesy at first. But when you really think about it, meditation (and yoga) are all about shifting the kind of negative self-talk that many of us are already pretty good at into a more compassionate, patient voice that greets ourselves as a beloved friend.

Here are a few tips for making friends with your body during a hot yoga class:

1. Use a witness-observer mind.

Notice what you’re thinking, without getting stuck in it, or thinking it’s you. Your thoughts are just thoughts. They come and go. They’re not YOU. (This is pretty much the whole definition of yoga: learning to no longer identify with the fluctuations of your mind.) And once you figure that out, life is so much easier.

2. Remember that hunger is not your enemy.

You don’t have to resist it, or avoid it, or chew 17 sticks of gum or drink 8 Diet Cokes a day to avoid actually eating anything. Hunger is actually a good thing. It reminds you to nourish yourself! Food can be a friend. Food can be celebration, and solidarity, and community, and holiday ritual. Food is here to fuel you, not punish or taunt or numb you. You don’t need to sweat it all away.

3. Treat yourself like a toddler.

Picture your favorite 1-year-old learning how to walk. They fall on their cute little butts constantly, don’t they? They wipe out and belly flop and totally lose it all the time, and what do they do? They giggle, push themselves back up, and try again. Can you imagine if you spoke to a toddler the way you speak to yourself when you fall out of a tough balancing pose? (“Come on, dummy, you are a such a failure! You suck. You might as well just give up because this yoga thing is so not for you.”) Of course not, right? When they wipe out, you just smile and help them up and say, “Way to go, buddy! You’re doing great. Keep trying. You’re doing it!”

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4. Three key words: Isn’t that interesting?

When you fall out of Pincha Mayurasana and CRASH, shaking the whole studio with your stunning wipe-out, notice it and smile and say to yourself, “Isn’t that interesting?” When your muffin top spills over the waistband of your yoga pants more than it did a month ago, rather than beating yourself up, notice it and say to yourself, “Isn’t that interesting?” This notion of “interesting” cuts the judgment: it’s not good, it’s not bad, it just is. It can shift everything in your day-to-day.

5. Be tender. ‘Nuff said.

With yourself, with your body, with your practice, with one another. Silverstein adds, “If you are struggling with self-acceptance this holiday season, as many of us do, let that be okay, too. Unfortunately much of our body-rhetoric and internal dialogue is harsh and prescriptive. Know you are not alone. Self-compassion cannot live in an antagonistic environment. The healing comes when we learn to acknowledge these voices without doing what they say.”

6. When you fall out of the pose, just get back in.

No big deal. No drama. No judgment. Whether we’re talking about a pose, or a healthy lifestyle, or anything else you’re trying to make into a positive habit. You are not the worst yogi that ever was. You just fell out, and now you’re gonna get back in. Get lost, start over. As Pema Chodron says, “Feel the feeling. Drop the storyline.” And then move right along.

7. Let go of the idea that a hot yoga practice is a detox.

I’m pretty ready to scrap that loaded “D” word already. Try to release the notion that your yoga practice is atonement for everything else you put into your body. It’s not here to wring out every “toxin.” It’s not here to sweat your “sins” out. It’s here to lovingly, patiently bring your body into balance, unraveling the knots, letting the prana (or life force) flow freely again.

8. Think of this practice as a celebration rather than a punishment.

I’m ever-grateful to my longtime friend and student Stacy, who suggested this to me once when we were hiking in Point Reyes. She noted that when I teach I often respond to people’s pained faces (when they’re clearly being hard on themselves in a pose). And then she said, “Rachel, what about the opposite? What about the moments wherein you maneuver yourself into a new pose for the first time, and you’re bowled over with awe and excitement at the amazing things your body can do? Things you never thought it capable of doing? So much that you just want to cry from the wonder?” I love this. Try approaching your practice with a spirit of “Holy shit, this is amazing!” rather than “Dammit, I suck.” Everything changes.

9. Picture yourself as an eighty year old.

If you’re lucky enough to live that long, you probably won’t be able to do any of this asana stuff. But you’ll still be trucking around this same old body, and you can choose to beat it up or love on it. Your call. I don’t know of anything that ever gets softer or kinder or more open from being beaten down, though. (At the risk of being a walking yoga cliche, let me quote Rumi, who said it best: “Be ground. Be crumbled, so wildflowers will come up where you are. You’ve been stony for too many years. Try something different. Surrender.”)

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10. If you’re a teacher, commit to using body-positive languaging.

Silverstein offers an inspiring pledge for teachers: “This season, I am committing to nourishment. I am committing to nourishment not just through physical food, but through language and action. I and my studio (The Grinning Yogi) promise to offer a message of acceptance and nourishment starting NOW. We are pledging the following:
* We will NOT teach from a voice rooted in an exchange economy of food, guilt, calories, indulgence, or anything related to not “being enough” as you are.
* We will create a safe-haven for our friends to feel empowered so they can take effective steps in promoting their own self-care and overall wellness.
* We will open a dialogue about what real nourishment is.
* We will remind our friends that food is food, love is love, and yoga… yoga is a GIFT!”

I am proud to commit to this pledge, and to make my hot yoga classes a sanctuary and a refuge from body-shaming. So come on in. Bring your perfectly-original body along. Share the love. You’re all welcome here.

 

 

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Rachel Meyer is a Portland, Oregon-based writer and yoga teacher. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, On Being, Yoga Journal, Tricycle, Yoga International, HuffPost, and more. You can find her at www.rachelmeyeryoga.com or @rachelmeyeryoga.

The Word “Namaste” is Overexposed. Played Out. But Here’s Why We Need It.

The word “Namaste” is pretty played out these days, isn’t it?

You can find it everywhere: on yoga mats, on bumper stickers, on water bottles. You can buy a “Namaste In Bed” t-shirt on Amazon. You can pick up Namaste bracelets and handbags and trucker hats on Etsy. You can dig into Namaste-brand gluten-free pizza crust and chicken noodle soup. You can walk into Namaste-branded pilates studios and wellness centers.

(Not to mention the hilarious yoga-world-skewering web series Namaste, Bitches.)

The word itself has taken on a certain cultural significance. It’s become a brand, recognizable even to someone who’s never stepped foot on a yoga mat.

Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche called this phenomenon spiritual materialism. Spiritual materialism occurs when a spiritual concept or practice is turned into a product for the purpose of making money. It’s rooted in the idea that you can buy and sell spiritual qualities like peace, grace, or transcendence.

Namastizzle, baby.

There’s no going back now.

*

I’m having a hard time writing about yoga lately.

There’s such a cruel juxtaposition of things going on in the world.

It’s summer yoga festival season. My FB feed is packed with photos of half-naked tan bendy people decorated with henna tattoos and patterned leggings doing yoga poses on mountains everywhere I look. And they are having so much FUN and sweating and chanting and living and doing their thang, you know? And I’ve been there and done that myself, and oh man yes, is it so fun. Right on, people! Namaste! Jai Ma!

But those yogis-gone-wild posts are bookended with videos of awful shootings in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis and Dallas and heartbreaking massacres on the French Riviera and hand-wringing from the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where fiery speakers are calling for gun rights and white supremacists are offering prayers.

How are we supposed to even reconcile the two?

It feels crass, doesn’t it? To share happy-pretty-shiny yoga pictures on Instagram when the world feels like it is, quite literally, devolving into chaos?

I’ve only got one word.

Namaste.

*

When we put our palms together in Anjali mudra and bow at the end of class, we’re saying: the spark of divinity in me acknowledges the spark of divinity in you.

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We’re saying: I see the God in you. And in so doing, I’m reminded of the God in me, too.

Some people get freaked out by this. I see it from my seat up front. The awkwardness. The twitching. The just-wanting-for-it-to-be-over so they can roll up their mats and get out of there. There’s something pseudo-spiritual about it that rubs a lot of people the wrong way.

(Here’s a hilarious confession from one such person, found in Laurie Penny’s scathing and whip-smart recent essay, “Life Hacks of the Poor and Aimless:”

“I confess to you that I’ve been doing yoga for two years and it’s changed my life to an extent that I almost resent. I have trained myself, through dedicated practice on and off the mat, to find enough inner strength not to burst out laughing when the instructor ends the class by declaring ‘let the light in me honor the light in you.’ The instructor is a very nice person who smiles all the time like a drunk kindergarten teacher and could probably kill me with her abs alone, so I have refrained from informing her that the light in me is sometimes a government building on fire.”

One of my early Bikram teachers used to close class by sarcastically saying “May the Force be with you.” It got the point across. I’ve known colleagues to say this at the end of class instead:

“I honor the place in you where the entire universe dwells. I honor the place in you that is of light, love, truth, peace and wisdom. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, We Are One.”

Works for me. Same idea, right?

My teacher Rusty used to remind us that “no one has more God than anyone else.” I felt jumpy about that word for a long time, you know, remembering that for lots of folks, “God” hasn’t always been a friendly force. “God” has often been an old white bearded dude who supposedly hates gays and oppresses women and denounces sex.

Meh. Not for me. Not for many of us.

So you use other words. Try “life force” or “prana” or “soul” or “being,” for starters.

*

Bhakti yoga and meditation teacher Ram Dass describes namaste this way:

Treat everyone you meet like God in drag.

Whoa.

Can you imagine? Every interaction would be transformed — from your daily encounter with the Starbucks barista, to the toll booth guy, to the parking ticket lady, to your neighbor with the Confederate flag in his yard.

What goodness could come about?

Let’s take it further. What if, gulp, Donald Trump is God in drag? (Hint: he is.) What if Hillary Clinton is God in drag, too? (Hint: she is.) What if Mike Pence and Bernie Sanders and Stephen Colbert and Roger Ailes and Megyn Kelly and Kanye West and Kim Kardashian (yes, Kim, too) are all God in drag?

(Spoiler: they are.)

How would that change the way you move through the world?

It’s so easy to villainize one another right now, especially in the heat of this topsy-turvy election year. So easy to demonize, to dehumanize, to forget that every single one of those controversial figures is a unique child of God, a spark of divinity, a bodhisattva — yes, Donald Trump, along with Hillary Clinton and you and your mom and your 8th grade algebra teacher.

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If we can manage to see this light of divinity in one another, it’s a whole lot easier to be kind. Realizing that Donald and Hillary and Kim and Kanye are people who age, and ache, and heal, and wonder about their life’s purpose; realizing that they are someone’s beloved, someone’s child, someone’s parent, someone’s whole world, just as you are someone’s beloved, someone’s child, someone’s parent, someone’s whole world.

We have to be gentle. We can get furious, yes, and passionate, yes, and fired-up and righteously angry and impatient to call out injustice — and we SHOULD. But we need to lend a certain tenderness to that anger, too; an implicit remembering that underneath all the political brou-ha-ha is someone who wakes up in the middle of the night and scratches his butt and walks to the bathroom for a drink of water and lies down again in a body that’s older and creakier and more tired and more wrinkled than it was the year before.

And man, it’s hard. Sometimes, it feels damn near impossible.

But namaste reminds us, challenges us, to see every life as equally worthwhile, equally a manifestation of goodness and potential and divinity — especially those that have been historically and systematically devalued. To see every body: black, brown, white, old, young, queer, disabled, dressed in rags or dressed in couture, as equally valuable, worthy of care, alight with the spark of divinity.

Alton Sterling had that spark. Philando Castile had it. Trayvon Martin had it. Oscar Grant had it. The police officers killed in Dallas and Baton Rouge had it. The families on the boardwalk in Nice had it.

I’ve heard a lot of folks say they’re done with politics for now; they’re disenchanted, and they don’t want to see anything else. They just wanna do yoga and fill their FB feeds with puppies and cat videos and pictures of food.

But that doesn’t feel right to me. This stuff is real. It’s way more real than some kitten riding around in a shark costume on a Roomba. It’s way more real than Pokemon Go. It’s real to your kids and their future and the future of this planet. It’s not just a bunch of political hot air. It has ramifications, enormous personal and socio-political and global ramifications, and to shut that dialogue out is to bury our heads in the sand.

Suffering is universal. Aging is universal. Buddhism’s First Noble Truth reminds us of this.

I don’t believe that anyone is inherently evil. I do believe that in the course of being in a human body people suffer, and that damaged people, hurt people.

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But they’re God, too. Infuriating avatars. God dressed up to challenge our every assumption and piss us off and offer us opportunities to stay open-hearted and gentle and kind. And we can still hold them accountable for their less-than-life-giving behavior while acknowledging their humanity. When those avatars act in a way that does not lift up every being’s wholeness, that threatens the well-being of large groups of people based on their race or their income or their religion, it’s up to us to call them out.

This, too, is namaste.

Namaste serves as a non-denominational challenge to not get lazy or complacent; to realize that we can’t just myopically contain our practice to the mat. We can’t be content with just stretching and breathing and preaching that the peace of the microcosm will benefit that of the macrocosm. We can’t just look to the privilege of our own self-care and say, ok, it’s all well and good to do this, so I don’t need to march or protest or write or sing or tweet.

We have to take that namaste one step further.

Activist and yogi Kerri Kelly spoke this truth beautifully in her recent TEDx talk. She called out the problem of “the privilege of well-being,” arguing cogently that we yogis are mandated to step out of our green-juiced, acupunctured bubbles and show up off the mat as well as on, rejecting “a storyline sponsored by a system that profits from our sickness.”

Kelly describes the ways in which she’s grappled with her own privilege of well-being over the years, realizing that “no one can be well unless everyone is well; we are in this together.” She learned to follow her own pain into a process of transformation, collective action, and reconciliation, and now calls on us all to “discover that we are not alone in our heartbreak and we are not alone in our hope.”

Though the system may be broken, though there remain deep structural inequalities and wretched institutionalized suffering, we are called to come together to revolutionize that system, to acknowledge the wholeness in each being, to call out the injustice that blinds us to one another’s divinity, and to bow to one another across the barricades.

Namaste.

 

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Rachel Meyer is a Portland, Oregon-based writer and yoga teacher. Her work has appeared in Yoga Journal, The Washington Post, On Being, HuffPost, Yoga International, RecoveringYogi, and more. You can find her at www.rachelmeyeryoga.com.

The Scorpion and the Wheel of Dharma

Progressing slowly in my attempts to master vrschikasana (scorpion pose), I was reminded of the ancient fable involving the scorpion and the frog.

As you may or may not recall the frog went against its better judgment to offer the scorpion a lift across the pond after securing the deadly critter’s assurances that wouldn’t sting the frog because,

“if I sting you, we’ll both go down.”

It made sense.

In theory.

Practically speaking, so the story goes, when they were halfway across the pond the scorpion reverted to its true evil nature and stung the frog to death — killing them both.

The moral was that it’s impossible to change your true nature.

This seems like quite an absolute, puritanical view of the world characteristics of the prevalent thinking of the time.

The philosophies of yoga shows us matters are not always so predetermined.

In asana practice generally, there seems to be no other place more appropriate to change your nature — to bring out your best qualities — and, in scorpion pose, by inverting your orientation and fully bending into your back, all the while balancing on your palms and forearms, you’re getting pretty close to turning yourself inside out.

At the Andiappan School of Yoga, I was taught the correct warm-up postures for scorpion include completing chakrasana (wheel pose) at least three times.

Beyond the physical preparation, I like to think this also has deep meaning on a philosophical level.

According to Yogachara and Tibetan schools of Buddhism, the wheel of dharma was Jelena Lizdeturned on three occasions when the Buddha’s teachings were being passed down to new audiences. Firstly, during the teaching of the four noble truths pertaining to the existence of suffering and happiness; a second time when he spoke about emptiness and compassion, or the ideas of becoming and co-dependent arising; and finally when it was revealed that buddha nature was inherent in all beings.

Obviously there are different interpretations and applications of the concept of the wheel of dharma, spanning from Buddhism to Hinduism and beyond, but I believe the three turnings are particularly relevant in the context of the scorpion, the toad, and yoga.

In this story, the scorpion and frog were being punished because they didn’t act skillfully. Succumbed to their selfish nature — laziness in the case of the scorpion and a lack of conviction in the case of the frog — they both paid the ultimate price.

Collectively, everyone suffered because they weren’t responsible for their own karma.

If the frog had stuck up for itself, and rejected the scorpion’s pleas it wouldn’t have drowned at the bottom of the lake. In taking such a stand, it would have highlighted the shortcomings of the scorpion, who, being forced to take stock of the situation, would realise that it’ll never get anywhere by taking the easy way out.

A creature as powerful and feared as the scorpion shouldn’t rely on the assistance of weak creatures like the frog.

Importantly, it suffers most when it depends on others.

It should cast out on its own and find strength in isolation.

I think it’s important to remember these ideals as we venture down the path. It’ll ensure we don’t stray when things get tough or when we find an easy way out. Obstacles should really only make us work harder.

In my own case, I know that soon enough I can no longer rely on the wall to support my nascent scorpion pose. It’s already getting to a point where it’s no longer helping me, but holding me back. Eventually I’ll have to take the leap of faith and just attempt it on my own and have faith that I can carry it through on my own merits. Even if I don’t, at least I would’ve learned some valuable lessons because my intentions were pure. Ultimately, that’s the only way to find resilience in the practice. One that will endure for a lifetime.

 

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At the ripe old age of 30, Mahesh retired from his elected profession of journalism (and shelved his ambitions to write the great American novel) in order to pursue his true calling as a practitioner and teacher of yoga in all its eight-limbed glory.

Twitter: @mosfreshMC

http://manversesport.com