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Mark has just posted an audio recording of a discussion that took place at one of his workshops. I’m giving you the link to it because it addresses many of the issues that are whirling around us in Yoga studios and birthing rooms today and he speaks with such clarity about them.

What is Yoga? Really. What is it? If we ask that of teachers who have some philosophical training, we  often get answers that are contained within the structures of Vedantic or Buddhist thought, answers that propose we are not O.K. as we are. These structures twist Yoga into something that takes us away from ourselves. Pain is the result. A pain that is hard to identify and that we can’t integrate because we are already separated from it.

Mark speaks about the natural pain of being alive. I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the last few weeks in relation to giving birth. The ideal of a “painless birth” can become one more obstacle to a woman being at peace with her experience. Some women give birth without drugs and without pain. It happens. But experiencing pain is not a sign of failure or a reason for shame.  And there is no valid equation to be made between the degree of pain experienced in birth and how “good” a birth is. Mark says, “To deny a mother her pain…is to deny life.”  This hit home for me.

Any kind of idealism takes us away from our experience. We lose our life that way. We get it back when we honour the validity of our own reality. Suffering can unravel in an instant. For more such revolutionary talk please click here!

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