One of the Most Important Principles of Yoga

Sometimes we take ourselves too seriously. Yes, practicing yoga takes discipline, focus, and effort, but whether it's working on a difficult pose or striving to maintain our concentration in a meditation, once in a while we just need to lighten up about the whole deal.

Judith Lasater, the founder of Yoga Journal and the woman who created Restore Yoga, has been a tremendously influential teacher to me. Once she said, "We turn to yoga to become more flexible and often become more rigid in its pursuit." Bam! Right on!

Yoga has been around for thousands of years, right? It leads your mind toward enlightenment while keeping you healthy and full of energy, right? Yes and while all that seems like an austere goal, it doesn't mean that we need to wear hair shirts and self flagellate along the way. Look at the pictures of some of the greatest gurus of our day. Notice that they are often photographed in the act of laughing and smiling.  

Yes, it can be serious. And yet it doesn't have to be. Once in a while, it's refreshing to simply take a step back and notice the humor in it what we're doing. I mean, half of the time we are all pretending to be dogs on all fours with our butt up in the air while breathing like an asthmatic orangutan . . . serious business.

I like to say that in yoga we are practicing principles in the form of poses, not poses in and of themselves. One of the most important principles of yoga, I believe, is to simply not take ourselves too seriously.

To that end, I'd like to share with you some of my favorite articles and videos that poke a little fun at yoga and can see the humor in this beautiful yet sometimes absurd practice.

Some of these are a little irreverent. Enjoy.

Maharaji Neem Karoli Baba

Maharaji Neem Karoli Baba

Guns and Yoga by Patton Oswalt

Not long ago, I decided to learn how to shoot guns. It was a Saturday morning, and I was curious. So after a breakfast of spelt flakes, soy milk and green tea, I went out shooting.

I believe in sustainable agriculture. I support gay marriage. I think war is a failure of diplomacy, logic and leadership. I’m embarrassed by the fact that it’s 2007 and my country is debating evolution. Pot should be legal. I dream of a world where punches are made of flowers.

And, it turns out, I love guns.

At the gun class, I learned gun safety, legal obligations, targeting and trigger pulling. And there were coffee and doughnuts, so you could pretend you were a maverick cop who didn’t play by the rules and, damn it, Chief, unless you let me do this my way, we’re never gonna catch this killer. Here, take my badge!

While shooting, I loved how the guns were small but also really heavy. I’m small and heavy, too, but not solid like a gun. I’m more like a duffel bag full of ball bearings and mayonnaise.

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