Feed the Yogi
RS: What does it mean to have a yoga practice that includes all aspects of daily life and how does one go about making that happen or being mindful of that?
MS: So many people define yoga as a verb. It derives from the root ‘yug‘ which means to unite or to connect one thing or yoke one thing with another; the breath with the body, the mind and the spirit, the soul and god or whatever your vocabulary is. But actually the term ‘yug‘ is taken out of its verb form when it becomes ‘yoga‘ which literally means that everything is already inherently united. You don’t need to unite one thing with another because, in fact, everything is already inter-permeating everything else.
I like to translate the word yoga as intimacy, literally being one with everything. But I think that sometimes we get a little bit inflated about what our ideas of intimacy or oneness might be. Maybe we want to be one with pleasure or what we think is beautiful, but do we really want to be one with loneliness or one with pain or one with war… And really do we want to open up and be one with everything? So the core of the practice of yoga or the heart of yoga is really opening up to the reality of how life really happens, not the way we want it to happen or the way we think it should happen. And to recognize that underneath all of our ideas about how we think life should go, everything is inherently intimate. We are connected with water and with plants, with culture, with great art, and with friends in ways that are bottomless. What interests me about yoga practice is how the various limbs or practices of yoga can wake us up to that level of intimacy.