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India!

Perhaps, like me, some of you read The Onion? The Onion claims to be America’s greatest news source, though I’m not entirely sure their criteria. Regardless of whether The Onion is the ultimate or penultimate news source, its columnists rarely fail to deliver a unique worldview.

A case in point is Jim Anchower. Anchower’s column rarely graces the pages of The Onion these days, though it’s not for lack of good intentions. In fact, the majority of Anchower’s columns describe the myriad reasons why he’s been unavailable. A broken car and/or job loss are almost always factors, though eviction and girlfriend trouble certainly are known to contribute, too.

After a long hiatus from this blog, I am feeling vaguely Anchower-like. Thankfully none of the aforementioned distractions have been a factor, though it has been a long time since I’ve shouted out to y’all. I’ve been busy.

I’d hoped to see my book released sometime last Winter. Daffodils came and went – no book. A warm Summer passed, and still the book was gestating. Pumpkins were harvested – no book. Every step of the way, the next layer of edits shaped it into a resource that was more visually pleasing and usable, though delays accompanied each addition and improvement.

Each delay required more of my time and attention too. There were sections to rewrite, photos to re-shoot and ideas to rehash. I feel blessed to have worked alongside the creativity of Greg Grube, Linda Mundt, Ngawang Pema and countless others who asked “what if?” Thanks to their creativity, Alignment Yoga – An Intelligent Approach to Ancient Wisdom has come to fruition.

My goal with the Beginning Practice Manual has been to provide a resource that describes how to practice yoga at home. There are many resources that describe how to practice a prescribed routine, though few resources that describe the more creative and rewarding practice that comes from within. There’s a time and a place for a template, though what’s promised to work for everybody rarely works for anybody.

Yoga poses confer benefits, and in some ways can be likened to pharmaceuticals. In the yoga world we generally shy away from pharmacology, though if you’ll bear with me for a moment, the comparison may be illustrative.

The neighborhood pharmacy is filled with medications, and each medication has relieved the pain and suffering of somebody at some point in time. Since each medication has relieved pain and suffering for some person at some time, one may conclude that taking a little bit of each medication may be the most powerfully therapeutic path. Imagine walking up to the pharmacy counter and saying “I’ll take one of each.”

Likely the pharmacist would look askance at your request, and rightly so. Medicines can react with each other, and often offer countervailing benefits. Taking amphetamine alongside a depressant may have recreational benefit, though rarely therapeutic benefit. Taking an antibiotic for a viral infection may offer a placebo effect, though doesn’t do much to help the cold. It generally makes more sense to make an intelligent diagnosis, and on the basis of what’s needed, determine which medications to take and when to take them. The same pattern holds true with yoga.

The choice of poses and their order is important. A stimulatory practice is different than a calming practice. The practice that helps resolve lower back pain may be different than the practice that helps resolve shoulder pain. One of the commonly cited impediments to developing a home practice is the uncertainty of knowing what to practice, and in what order. The Beginning Practice Manual explains how to organize a practice, and the fundamental points that support taking the practice from the mat out into the world.

The first printing of the practice manual arrived the day before my departure to India. It was hugely satisfying to page through the book and see the fruits of all these edits and delays, particularly on the cusp of this long-anticipated trip.

As I write this, I’m somewhere over Russia en-route to New Delhi. With regards to the blog, I’ll be making up for lost time in the next three weeks. I hope you’ll stay tuned, as this trip will be covering lots of territory!

I’ll be spending the first few days of this trip in New Delhi with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the world’s foremost meditation and yoga researchers. The conference promises to be eye-opening and inspiring, and I look forward to sharing the highlights in the coming week.

From the New Delhi conference, I’ll be heading up to Kathmandu with my friend and colleague Ngawang Pema. We’ll spend a few days practicing in the temples, along with the obligatory shopping for Tibetan and Nepali handiwork (holidays are just around the corner).

From Kathmandu we’ll return to New Delhi to pick up our crew of friends from back home. For many of our 18 participants, this is their first trip to India, and one of our goals in offering this tour was to provide a safe, comfortable and affordable view of India. I’m eager to show them my favorite places in India!

We’ll load up our chartered tour bus and trek to Dharamsala, where some of the participants will choose to take a course with HH the Dalai Lama (37 practices of a Bodhisattva.)

There’s even more to the trip than this, though I trust you’ll check back to the blog over the next few weeks. The trip participants have their own blog as well - http://ayindia.blogspot.com. You can keep track of our comings and goings, and learn the unedited and unfiltered experiences from the participants themselves.

It’s good to be back to blogging!



Namaste,
Scott
www.alignmentyoga.com

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