DG Ashtanga journals are unedited excerpts from David's ongoing personal journal on Yoga.
It is my mission, my small little station in life to convey to you how to gain entrance into the techniques of hatha yoga. Because for me this is IT, the only time I am truly alive is when I am in an asana—that is the only time that I feel ‘right’ in the world. Most of the day I walk around alienated, not belonging, angry and mistrustful.
Most of the day I feel that I waste the miracle of life that I know I am part of. The evidence of the miracle—–the undisputable fact of the world’s Beauty and Intelligence is literally everywhere. And this miracle of life cannot even be denied in midst of all the violence, stupidity, cruelty, and ugliness that we humans have created. Our unbridled, willful, obscene, and mad worship of our desires has created nearly total blindness and apathy to the real beauty, simplicity and wonder of life—even though we are continually immersed in the miracle. It seems that scarcely one of us is exempt from participating in and and adding to the insanity and the ignorance. It is truly a rare soul who does not succumb to actively participating in increasing the ugliness and suffering in the world. And thus for me when I am involved in the world of hatha yoga as a student and/or a teacher I feel healing and purification take place. I feel I am making an offering that contributes to the beauty. But the moment I step off of my mat, the moment I cease to attempt to be somehow involved in creating the Beauteous Yantra—I am plunged into darkness anew.
And these shapes that I am so at home with are so strange and unlikely—very few people can understand that I must express these shapes to feel that THE world and MY world make sense. I cannot imagine life without Uddhyana Bandha, Sirsasana, Pada Hastasana, and the rest. Take these away from me, and you take away everything that has value for me–this is the literal truth. Without hatha yoga my world collapses. Performing or teaching Mula Bandha is the only creative reason I exist—I know it sounds extreme-but I am telling you the truth——-without my beloved hatha yoga—-I quickly become a hollow shell—nothing to live for or truly care about.
This is all true and yet I still manage to do a poor job of remaining absorbed in the hatha yoga world I love so dearly. The distractions that take me away from that world —as unworthy as they are—seem to crop up at every turn—the false promise of illusory pleasures still hold power, I am too easily swayed and thrown off the scent—I know, I know—it is a preposterous state of affairs. And I swear the state of being enmeshed in MAYA, caught in the world illusion, is so prevalent, so automatic, so insidious, such a given—and yet such an insanity, such an explicit madness, such an obvious indication of stupidity—that I positively hate myself for the ways that I repeatedly and willfully renew my membership in the MAYA club.
I want to convey to those few of you who can relate to how I see things some useful clues on how to gain entrance into the sanctuary. If I can do it you can do it too, you can pierce maya’s veil, get a real experience—even if that real experience is nothing more than to know what it feels like to truly be inside your own body in this immediate moment—for that is the experience of hatha yoga——-it is THE most physical, literal experience possible—it is so strange to note that the experience of reality that hatha yoga gives to you is so explicit and direct, so literal and not anything other than what is HERE INSIDE THE BOUNDARIES OF YOUR OWN SKIN at this very instant—that this visible experience is so total and complete that it brings the invisible with it——-it is so entirely and purely literal that is becomes symbolic and transcendent——–ha!
This is the cosmic joke for you—the basis for MAYA the illusion is in the fact that we each get caught in believing in the appearance of things. We walk around taking everything literally, at face value. That is why we think having wealth and attaining treasure is a material matter. We spend our time dreaming about and working for material riches as though the house, car, bank account are the things that have real value. That is MAYA and with hatha yoga you pierce this veil by experiencing the physical materiality of the body to umpteenth degree—do you see how entirely contradictory and backwards this is? But to this I say ‘whatever’…………what is it that gets me to pierce the veil? What causes me to value what is truly of value?
For me it is being in my body entirely in this moment—an act that is much more difficult than people are willing to admit or give credit to……… To be truly here and now in ANY capacity is a marvelous feat—so you must take it wherever you can find it—and I find it in making shapes………..I apologize that I must look for it in these unlikely body positions—I do often wish I could be more orthodox or ‘normal’—I really do—because I know it is difficult for you to understand—it is difficult for me to understand rationally. I feel a bit crazy when I think about it, but also I cannot argue with the results.
I don’t want to intimidate you but don’t think I can help it—I am intimidating and the way I feel about hatha yoga is intimidating……………damn……….that bums me out………..but behind the strangeness, illogic, and unnaturalness of it all there is something entirely natural, logical, and practical about it.