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Tim Miller reminds us what’s important

April 11, 2012

It’s been a busy couple of days here at ye olde Confluence Countdown.

By busy I mean traffic- and engagement-wise. My ruminations on loving the practice got some nice dialogue, and our discovering this morning of the Jones gift to the University of Virginia has drawn some folks to our corner of the Interweb.

Love, devotion, best practice, worst practice, huge monetary gifts, the position of yoga in the West — all are on display.

NPR image -- so many yogis!

In a separate corner of the Internet, you could also find — and perhaps heard earlier — NPR’s coverage of the “Take Back Yoga” campaign. Ashtanga gets a little mention. Not sure what compelled NPR to get on this fairly old — is it a year or two now? — story today. May I express some frustration that the New York Times’ William Broad seems to be the new spokesman for yoga? (I get it — journalists obviously would see him as an authority. But listening to his talking about road rage here in Los Angeles gave me hearing rage.)

I’d also point out to NPR — the piece was done by Margot Adler, who I know is an expert on a diverse swath of religions — that a lot of us do include Hinduism in our practice. I was just at a Hanuman puja on Friday. Walk into Ashtanga Yoga New York.

Anyway… the past 36 or so hours have felt very “of the material world.” And so Tim Miller’s weekly post was incredibly well-timed. (He seems to be able to do that. Maybe one of his Siddhis?)

It talks about our material world, but then reminds us of the layers beneath:

He spoke of the yogic idea of the Pancha Koshas (the five bodies) nestled inside one another like Russian dolls. B, K, S, Iyengar uses the same analogy describing the koshas in his book, Light on Life.

Our tendency is to identify most strongly with the outermost doll, the annamaya kosha, or physical body. This, of course, is the most obvious body, the most tangible and the noisiest. Within this doll lies the pranamaya kosha, or energy body.

I’ve heard Tim talk about these five bodies, but it was helpful to see them explained in print. And it was a good reminder that debates about our various asana practices, our material wealth or lack thereof, even the hits one gets on a blog are not what’s ultimately important.

This is:

The final doll is called the anandamaya kosha, the body of bliss. This is the place of the Atman, or soul, the place of joy, peace, understanding, and union—the Seer itself. When we reach this doll we have fallen “into the arms you cannot see.”

Thanks Tim!

Posted by Steve

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