An Intelligent Approach

In writing the book Intelligent Yoga, I intended to open up some key themes that I feel should be debated in the yoga world. The themes are close to my heart, but I realize they are not everyones cup of tea. However over the last twenty years of travelling and teaching I think I sense a change in the wind and the time feels right to bring these discussions more overtly into the open.

Intelligent Yoga: Key Themes

yoga key themes

Themes that I think are worthy of debate are the following:

  1. Yoga as a modern practice. Most serious students of yoga will know by now that there is a big disconnect between the type of yoga that is practiced in the majority of Gyms and yoga studios today, compared to the type of yoga described in the texts revered by most yogis. There have been a raft of books in recent years pointing out this disconnect. If we take this as our starting point that current yoga is a modern practice, what from the past can we legitimately carry forward into the future and what needs to change? What differentiates modern yoga from exercise?
  2. Perhaps most contentiously can we take the ideas of chakras, kundalini prana, and other ideas of subtle energy as reality or are they simply a metaphor for experience, which is certainly the perspective I take. If we take this view and strip out much of the metaphysics how do we now differentiate yoga from other forms of exercise?
  3. Anatomy. Yoga is flooded with books on the anatomy of yoga. Having taught the anatomy of yoga for many years, I now feel it can be a red herring leading us down un-useful ways of thinking. There is a place for anatomy, but largely to help explain why some movements are unhelpful, or why some people can do certain poses and others not. What anatomy cannot do is inform about how to move. To understand movement we have to study movement and see how anatomy supports it, not the other way round.

Downward Dog Variations

Side Bend

Face Up Dog

Downward Dog

Reflections on the future of yoga

A talk given at Brighton Natural Health Centre on February 13th 2018, reflecting on the past, present and future of yoga.