I found this video of this instructor, who runs a “naked yoga” studio in NYC – which I will translate as, downward dangling dog (sorry). Yoga is a school of Hindu philosophy defined by the Oxford Dictionary as a “spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation.” In “the highest form of which is raja yoga and the ultimate aim of which is spiritual purification and self-understanding leading to samadhi or union with the divine”.
Awesome! I’m guessing that samadhi isn’t the goal of most yoga enthusiasts, especially the naked kind. But if samadhi is the goal, shouldn’t we come to know the characteristics of the Divine, with whom we are to merge with? That task would be a lot easier if the “Divine” was not some abstract concept called “the Universe”. How the universe even exists is through sheer mystery. Science theorizes about it, but even the best science has yet to produce a unified theory or explain the universe’s origins. Learning more about the Creator’s (let’s call him God) characteristics means to align our cause with the Creator’s will in order to go beyond our naked self to the “ultimate aim”. I love how Joschi describes the party going on in every cell, and we can choose to be a part of it. I know that party is awesome!
What I notice about yoga, is that people who get really into the practice of it as a physical exercise and find this “spiritual purification and self-understanding” through their bodies, when they attempt to seek outside the physical realm, they hit a wall and go ask the yoga teacher. To really go outside of one’s self (and body) and seek divinity, is a humbling realization that divinity exists, independently, outside of one’s self. Self doesn’t like surrendering to a sovereign entity, especially if there’s no physical evidence of it. Faith is personal, anecdotal, and something that is produced by trusting in what is seen and unseen.
When the ego is laid down at the feet of God, faith produces this “union” we seek. Knowing you are in great need of God’s help, that your are “poor in spirit”, is a step toward spiritual growth. Whether or not we are seeking this “union with the divine” or if we just want to “join the party” of the universe and “feel good”, learning more about who God is, is as simple as believing that God is who He says He is.