Here’s a must-read Richard Freeman interview

There’s an interview with Richard Freeman that’s up at Wild Yogi, and it is a must read.

Via Wild Yogi

Click on the link to get it all. Here’s just a taste:

And what made you change your way? Why did you change the school of yoga?
Richard: Meeting Pattabhi Jois made me change the school. He gave me more things to do internally, but I don’t think that I have left Iyengar, because my way of doing Ashtanga yoga is very internal.
This is what I do: I take two systems and put them together and so, you know, when, people think I do Ashtanga yoga, what they are thinking is not really same thing that I am doing.
[snip]
Many Western teachers start giving meditation of Vipasana, a Buddhist meditation, while traditional Indian yoga has it’s of meditation techniques. What can be the reason, when we cannot align asana, pranayama, and meditation into one lineage?
Richard: I think maybe it’s fine. Because if you are going to practice meditation in Hindu lineage you are probably going to be chanting a specific mantra that goes around a Deity, in other words you have to believe in Deity, and you would have to go very deeply into that specific technique to get to deeper stages of meditation. In Buddhist tradition they are much more skilled in teaching meditation just for what it is, so it’s much more in line with the way that Yoga Sutra teach this meditation. So, I think, the introduction of Buddhist meditation techniques into the basically Hindu yoga is cool. It’s actually good, because I think it’s like a revival or reawakening of Hindu or Indian philosophy through the Buddhist practices. I have a friend, who says that Buddhism is really Hinduism that has been simplified down so that it could be exported, so that anyone could do it because you become free, free of your religious believes. And from my experience Buddhists have practices that are really simple, very row, and it really helps. I am very grateful to my Buddhist teacher. So, if people really want to get into a deep and grounded meditation, probably the best thing for them is the Buddhist teacher, or someone that had been influenced by Indian or Hindu teachers and that have been through revivalism understanding of a Buddhist tradition.
[snip]
What are your own personal goals in yoga currently?
Richard: My goals, besides becoming a more simple teacher and more effective one, are… I am trying to refine my own pranayama practice, and my asana practice that I am working on. Because I am getting older I have to be more precise in how I do asana, and then my meditation practice is very important. And I am enthusiastic to keep meditating, that’s something that is valuable for me. And then, I’ll probably die, sooner or later. I am coming up)
Those are just a few highlights. There’s a lot more there, including examples of his dry humor that I find tremendously endearing.
Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

4 thoughts on “Here’s a must-read Richard Freeman interview”

  1. “Buddhism is really Hinduism that has been simplified down so that it could be exported, so that anyone could do it because you become free, free of your religious beliefs.”

    Wow! This is just great, really. And, interestingly timely, vis a vis the recent resurgence of the “Is Yoga a Religion/Hinduism?” subject.

    1. I wonder if that “friend” was the philosopher Alan Watts who made this very point in this great old lecture: “Following the Middle Way”. “Hinduism stripped for export” is how he put it.

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