Traditahhhhhn! Tradition! Why Tradition (in yoga and elsewhere) is important to us, and why our current wisdom is just as important.

I was inspired by this article about the tradition of Ashtanga yoga to write this blog.  If you practice any “traditional” yoga style, check it out!

As an asana practitioner (someone who does yoga postures) I run into a lot of “Traditions.”  Traditional sequences of yoga postures,  traditional amount of breaths to hold postures, and so on.  Another way of putting this is that there are a lot of rules that are accepted as part of well-informed, lengthily developed system.   We like these because they come from wonderful gurus, and they give us a clear path to follow.

Now, my friend Amanda Shuster over at “What’s True”, and I have been discussing Tradition. She teaches grammar occasionally.  What could be more TRADITIONAL than grammar?  As I write now I wonder, how many commas should I use, and where?  I’m trying to tap in to an accepted system of rules so that my post will be seen as backed up by some kind of education.  However, when I write a text message to Amanda I don’t worry about rules, I do what works. (i.e. I’m at a red-light writing:  “wut time shud I pik u up?” in order 2 get the msg across b4 the light is green.  

Grammar has rules, but we throw them out the window sometimes in order to do what works.

Asana practice (making yoga shapes with your body) is the same way.  There are a LOT of traditions, rules, systems out there.  But sometimes you throw them out the window in order to do what works for YOUR body.  When do you do this?  When your body’s wisdom tells you to!  Pain is big indicator that your body’s wisdom is telling you to make up your own rules.   As you do more yoga, you learn to observe more subtle indicators. Yin Yoga is especially helpful for learning this.

The Big Horn Ram is a totem whose medicine teaches us to observe and act on our own wisdom. The solid, strong horns spiral out of the skull (where your brain is, and 3rd eye) and grow (like wisdom, hopefully) with each passing year. The spiral represents creativity.

I think this applies hugely to just about everything.  The key is though, you must be able to turn towards yourself and observe when you need to make up your own rules.  Sometimes it’s obvious (i.e. I’m allergic to dairy so I’ll substitute vegetable oil for butter in the recipe). Sometimes it’s not (i.e. I’ve been going to church for 12 years and now it’s time to be confirmed – I feel insincere about it, do I still do it?)

Thank you for reading this post, and if you feel called, let me know what kind of rules you follow and when you discard them! Namaste!

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