By The Spiritual Explorer
Dear Spiritual Explorer: I went to a yoga class and was disappointed by how competitive it was. What happened to the spirit of yoga? Mandy P., Juneau, AK
Heart Yoga by Andrew Harvey
Dear Mandy: Andrew Harvey and Karuna Erikson in the book, Heart Yoga, address your inquiry in a most beautiful way. Together they have created a book that merges the practice of yoga with the transformative quality inherent in the heart. Coupling passion of the heart through mystical references via Andrew Harvey with the simplicity of yoga practices of Karuna Erikson, a nuanced yoga practitioner, we are treated to what they call Sacred Activism. Sacred Activism is when one takes one’s yoga practice and uses it to transform the world which is sorely needed in these times. The Dalai Lama has also called for people to no longer do their yoga practice as a tool of further separation and division, but to bring yoga, union of body and spirit, into the world to transform it. In the introduction of Heart Yoga, we are called “to be on fire with both divine passion and divine peace, glowing with inner heart-fire to meet the challenges of our burning world, fueled by sacred energy to act to preserve our planet.”
Karuna and Harvey speak of how millions of yoga students have experienced the benefits of yoga practice. Too often as you have noted, Mandy, the emphasis of their practice has been on the physical aspects of yoga, which are the most easily communicated. However, this type of yoga cultivates a tendency to self-absorb and limits the vast transformational potential of yoga. At this time in history, we need ancient practices and wisdom of yoga to encourage us to respond in healing ways to the many world crises.
Each yogic pose is accompanied by poetic, spiritual pieces from saints, teachers and mystics that resonate with the particular pose and exhortations to bring a particular divinity into our lives through utilizing the sacred quality of each yoga pose.
This Heart Yoga book is a visionary, compelling and robust initiation into sacred yoga and its relevance to our everyday lives.
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