Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Yoga Tag

Here's how you play: you find a buddy. Send off three Sanskrit words. Your friend tries to figure those words out and sends the meanings back to you. Then he picks three words and tag, you're it.

Nerdy enough? But it works, and it's fun, at least for a yoga nerd. Part of the goal of our yoga therapy training is to build a community, a sanga. My study partner had suggested discussions, i n real time, with one of those camera gizmos and instant messaging. I'm not ready for that, so my counter-suggestion was tag. He agreed, and tagged me with samskara, viparyaya and tapas. Now I've got the difference between vikalpa (imagination) and viparyaya (misperception or false understanding) separated in my mind. And samskara (behaviors or patterns that are ingrained, either good stuff or stuff that causes agitation) I could remember, because my teacher hear uses the word enough that it had a pre-arranged little shelf in my mind to hold the meaning when we went over it in New Orleans and San Francisco.

But tapas? Not a series of small plates, with sherry flight, at Emilio's Meson Sabika, my favorite Spanish restaurant in the Chicago suburbs, I'm guessing. Dug through three notebooks and found it. One of the three steps in kriya yoga, with the other two being self-inquiry (svadhya) and faith in your own choice of a higher power (isvara pranidhana) (meaning that it might be nature or it might be a god figure or it might be science or something else altogether). Tapas is the hard work, the intentional effort that you make when you want to change. The idea here is that tapas allow the beneficial samskaras, or patterns or behaviors, to become more predominant, until the negative samskaras go dormant.

It's his turn now. Avidya, klesas and something else. It's astounding the things that can amuse a person.

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