Re: Breathing Exercises (Chuck)
Jul 02, 1996 09:03 PM
First, I don't do yoga, I do Magick, which is a different kettle of fish in
many ways. My feelings on the subject are very simple. I reject out of hand
any notion that one has to work on various social qualities before
undertaking the development of any ablility. I think that that is foolish.
But, if one is specifically referring to kundalini stuff, I may be inclined
to agree. When working with that, a level of prudence may be necessary.
By the same token, the approach that one should avoid all practice because
unnamed and undocumented individuals may have had some difficulty is utter
silliness. That is akin to saying one should not learn how to drive because
you might get in an accident. One still learns to drive, but one learns to
do it without getting killed.
The problem I have is with the concept of argument by authority, which states
that X is true because Y said it is true and Y is to be believed because
three thousand years ago he knew how to write. How do we know that Patanjali
had any idea what he was talking about? For all we know, he could have just
stood on his head out in the sun too long. Now the problem I have with our
Victorian forebears is that they came out of a very circumscribed world and
while dear HPB did her rotund best to break most of the rules, she still had
the Victorian desire to make new ones. So what I argue for is to look at the
available evidence, the real evidence, not the imaginings of the Bogus
Bishop, or the pitiful ravings of fools who thought that jazz was black
There are literally millions of people who practice hatha yoga with no ill
effects at all. There may be many who experience kundalini with no
difficulty or ill effect, none of whom have bothered with Patanjali or his
silly sutras. What I see, from the experience of those people I know who
have worked in these areas, is something that has real benefit to the
individual with little or no danger. And as a pentecostal preacher friend
once said to me many years ago, "When doctrine conflicts with experience, you
go with the experience."
To those who decry the possible dangers I say first to show me real evidence
that the dangers exist in any form and then give me a working idea of the
percentage of population that is actually experiencing them (population being
the people actually working with the activities in question). If, out of 1
million people, five get into trouble, the risk is not worth worrying about.
If 100,000 have problems, then it is time to look at what is going on.
There is simply no real data to back up the worry at the moment. That may
change, and if it does I will change my view accordingly.
What genuinely worries me is that if something comes along that carries real
risks, those who have been exposed to the sort of nonsense that floats around
about Hatha Yoga *will*, without doubt, reject all thought of that risk out
of hand. The TS has cried wolf (sorry Denali, it's only an expression) for
so long about all matters psychic that virtually no one gives a thought to
anything the TS literature has to say on the subject, and not without reason.
And in the process it has made us look like a pack of paranoid fools which
has done no good for any aspect of theosophy, core, process or otherwise.
There is a difference between fear and rational prudence and it would be well
if our brethren would realize that, because all we are getting is fear and
that serves no purpose whatsoever.
At the moment, given a reasonably healthy individual, I have seen absolutely
no reliable evidence of any deliterious effects from any hatha yoga practice.
There have been individuals who have had difficulties who practice hatha
yoga, but there is no reason to believe that the yoga was the cause of them,
on the contrary, it's therapeutic value is undeniable except in the ravings
of Xian fundamentalists and old-fashioned Theosophists.
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