yoga blog

there is no system

there is no system

For me, days where we have lectures on yoga philosophy seem to always be accompanied by particularly agonizing dialogue exercises in teaching practice.

After studying the yoga sutras of Patanjali, I wrote, when asked to describe myself in a way that was informed by what I had learned from yoga philosophy:

I am a system of energy with a complex composition of characteristics that would take trillions of pages to describe in detail. I am similar to other systems of energy in that respect.

I thought Patanjali would be proud … well, if he hadn’t been realized beyond the point of feeling ego-bound emotions like pride. The manifestation of myself is just a composition of the universal energy, like all other individual manifestations, glittering in its infinite, ever-changing expressiveness.

I was thinking along similar lines when I came up with my 97th system for learning posture teaching dialogues: the “there is no system system”. I had enjoyed experimenting with the previous 96 systems, such as the one where I invented a hierogylphic language for yoga, but I was sure system 97 would be the best as the ultimate expression of yoga. Since the first part of the task is just to recite the words I decided to stop trying to learn anything and to just go straight to the words. It seemed to work well, in record time I was able to recite all the words for the next dialogue with as much perfection as one could hope for in this world; where our perceptions are clouded by the smudgy lens that keeps us from directly seeing the ultimate reality.hot-yoga-teacher-training-250-300

However, when it came time to recite dialogue I felt dazzled by the glittering, infinite, ever-changing expressiveness of the manifestation of the standardized text used to teach the Primary Series: that it would take trillions of pages to even begin to describe what this text is. And, ultimately, beyond the words of the dialogue there are no words. So I stood there and no words came out. But the trainers seemed to be waiting for something, beyond their lack of expectations, I felt there were expectations. So I started to say something, it spluttered, halted, spluttered some more, and fizzled to a finish. I wanted to end the dialogue with the final phrase the prostitute played by Melina Mercouri added to each synopsis of famous Greek tragedies in the great classic film ‘Never on Sunday’, “Everybody is happy and they go to the seashore. And that’s all!”. I think it would have been an improvement.

Zefea assigned us the task of doing backbends every day, one more each day than the day before. They’ve started to go from hurting to feeling good, maybe almost intensely good, and the improvement in my practice in a short time is a bit scary. Soon I’ll be able to do things so difficult it is like asking someone to bend over backwards. Stuff like teaching yoga. It’s just a matter of perfecting whatever you want to do a little more every day.

Back to yoga hierogyphics … or perhaps the system is every system. Ah … system 98!

Michael Leventhal

Michael has been practicing hot yoga for over ten years, coming to it initially to heal a body broken from endurance and extreme sports. While yoga continues to do that he has perhaps benefitted even more from its power to enhance focus, concentration, creativity, and calm, attributing two of his major inventions in the field of computing science to yoga energy. After 30 years of chasing fame and fortune in tech, Michael has recently reshaped his life goals toward expressing his gratitude for his spectacular life through Service, expanding his practice from hatha yoga to yoga in all its expressions.