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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Dialogue between philosophers and I, who is doing yoga.

              Last summer, I’ve gotten a license of yoga instructor.

              What is the meaning of “having a license” of yoga?

              I think license is the farthest from essence of yoga. The existence itself is full of contradiction.  

              The license gives us a kind of “guarantee”. Guarantee that you can teach yoga.

              However, yoga is not what we can get such a guarantee.

              Guarantee that we can feel at ease with specific thing is farthest from yoga.

              Yoga is an only process that we care about our “own” body and mind.

             For good or for evil, yoga has too many methodologies including variety of poses, breathing techniques, meditations, cleansing processes…

              This is, in a sense, a kind characteristic of yoga. If you go to Zen temple, you will be just told “just sit in silence”. This “unkindness” is very different from yoga.

              This “kindness” of yoga, however, is plenty of traps in another way. We usually misunderstand that yoga gives us a way that we can follow.

              In reality, we have no choice but to make the way by ourselves. Practicing yoga is not following a methodology named yoga, but making ourselves free from anything that binds us. Practicing yoga is not wearing shoes named yoga, but taking off shoes.

              If you are bound the rules of yoga, it is farthest from yoga.

              Therefore, we cannot be qualified by license. Even if you find a specific methodology, you cannot feel at ease by it. Strictly speaking, it is impossible to teach yoga.

              Imannuel Kant, a famous philosopher said,

We cannot learn philosophy. We can only learn to philosophize.

              Similarly, we can say like this,

We cannot learn yoga. We can only learn to do yoga.

Formally, I can stand a position to teach yoga thanks to the license, but I cannot teach yoga. I cannot “learn yoga” by others as well.

              If anything, we can learn the “attitude” to do yoga humbly.

              We usually seek some methodologies so that we can feel at ease by following it. However, this attitude is an abandonment of liberty and becoming “slavery” of methodology that someone else made.

              Friedrich Nietzsche may say like this,

Discard methodologies and live by yourself!
Overcome “weakness” to seek something to follow and be strong!


              I practice yoga, to take off shoes.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Samurai cannot do warm-up exercises!

Kono Yoshinori, a Japanese martial arts master, usually explains difference between traditional martial arts and modern sports like this;

“Samurai must move immediately whenever they need because they cannot expect when they are attacked. They cannot say ‘wait till I’ve done warm-up exercises.’ to their enemies.”




Therefore, it is important to have “a body that can move whenever you need”. Wild animals can run rapidly when they are attacked or find game without warm-up exercises. Because their movements are natural and in accordance with the structure of their body, they cannot have a pulled muscle even if they move roughly all of a sudden.

If you cannot move without warm-up exercises, it means you move incorrectly to the structure of your body. This is a common principle on martial arts, yoga, and sports as well.

When I noticed this fact at my high school age, I belonged to a soccer club. I did “rough” practices to make my body able to move whenever I want. For example, I went to a ground early morning and repeated dashes on a steep slope or did a shoot training without any stretching or warm-up exercises.

I cannot recommend you to do these training because these are somewhat dangerous to be injured. However, I had a strange confidence not to be injured on those days.

Honda Keisuke, a soccer player in Japanese national team, also says on an interview like this;

Professional players should always be ready to play a game. Even if I have a game tomorrow without notification, I am always ready to play the game.”

Traditional yoga also requires us to have a body that can move whenever. ‘Hatha Yoga Pradipika’, a famous classic of yoga, says

“Yogi should keep one-fourth of their stomach empty. They satisfy half of their stomach with food, satisfy one-fourth with water, and keep one-fourth empty so that air can move.

This sentence may be mainly for health of digestive system, but I think, by my experience, it includes the intension to keep your body able to move. In fact, if you eat too much, you cannot move actively nor practice yoga for a few hours. I sometimes experience this state.

If you eat too much, you cannot control your mind by practicing yoga even if you are aware to the state of your mind. If you eat less, it becomes rare that your mind is disturbed and you can control your mind by practicing yoga even if your mind is disturbed.


In modern age, we seldom have a chance to be attacked by enemies like samurai, but, even, I think we should be ready to move whenever we need.