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Posted on 04-21-2016
I suppose there are some people out there that may not be able to immediately make the connection between Star Wars and yoga. However, there are some that might say, "Oh, yeah. I get it. Yoda. Yoga. Obi Wan. Meditation. I see the link." For me, the connection is obvious and runs pretty deep.
I may connect with a bunch of nerds out there by saying all of this, and I really hope I do. For many of you (myself and my boyfriend, included), the idea of "the Force" and the Jedi way may be the closest thing to a religion you may ever get. And you know what, if you are REALLY serious about it, if you really follow all the ideas, all the philosophical things Yoda says, all the Jedi temples and whatnot, you will find concepts that are very similar to many major religions. I suppose, for me, that's why I resonate with Buddhism so much. There are so many fundamental aspects that are right in line with that philosophy.
Religion aside, though, because I don't like "religion" as a word, as a concept, as a "thing", yoga is about being mindful. Religion, to me, implies something that you do without thinking. "I do xyz religiously". The schedule you keep, your morning workout, the path you take to work everyday. The concern is that when something is done religiously that it runs the risk of becoming trite, mindless, careless. And that, my friends, goes against Star Wars. It goes against your Jedi training. And it goes against yoga.
When you are not mindful you are risking more than you realize. When you eat mindlessly you just gorge on crap. When you exercise mindlessly you don't listen to your body (I've learned that lesson twice now and am finally ready to pay more attention to what my body is saying). When you mindlessly drink alcohol you get drunk and do something stupid then feel terrible in the morning. When you speak mindlessly you may say things that are hurtful, untrue, or insincere.
Let's talk about Luke's training on Dagobah. Now, I don't claim to be Yoda when I'm teaching class, but I certainly feel times when I'm harnessing his wisdom and the intention of the training. Focus. Practice. Repetition. Focus. Practice. Repetition. Go inside yourself. Find your true self.
Luke says, "What's in there?"
Yoda says, "Only what you take with you."
Luke, with the help of Yoda, finds more than just physical strength. He finds his true self (sat nam, in Sanskrit). He finds mental strength to concentrate. He learns how to meditate and clear his mind. And, he lets go. He fights for the good in his father, but he is completely willing to let it all go if necessary. He has no attachments. His has let go of fear.
Like anything, you can certainly go to extremes. Kylo Ren is an example of that. Anakin is an example of that. Some aspects of the Rebel Alliance are an example of that. But, this isn't a discussion or debate about who should have done what with the dark or the light.
Your yoga is about you. Your practice, your DAILY practice, of focus, meditation, asana, detachment, cleansing... surrender.
When faced with the unknown, what will you take in with you?
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