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Further Thoughts on Yoga and Addiction, with thanks to Christina Sell

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Who/Hoo are you? (ask not once, but three times!)

Who/Hoo are you? (ask not once, but three times!)

Christina! Thank you for your response. I could not agree with you more about the power of yoga asana classes to draw people in to the practice and maybe eventually into study of the philosophical foundation of yoga. Like you, I recognize that the history of yoga in this country, and probably the entire western world, has come from an initial interest in the practice of asana. This very body we all inhabit and that very body of ananda/bliss that we all share are certainly connected to each other!

Yet words have always seemed to have a life to me, beyond ink on the page or light and dark on a screen. As children, my brothers and I were not allowed to use the word “stupid” to refer to each other. I think this was because Mom recognized the power of words and did not want us thinking we were stupid or calling each other so. I was not aware that you had redefined the word “junkie” differently from its usual meaning. Here are dictionary definitions of junkie and junk:

junkie |ˈjə ng kē| (also junky)

noun informal

a drug addict.

  • [with adj. ] a person with a compulsive habit or obsessive dependency on something : power junkies.

ORIGIN 1920s (originally U.S.): from junk 1


junk 1 |jə ng k|


1 informal old or discarded articles that are considered useless or of little value.

  • worthless writing, talk, or ideas : I can’t write this kind of junk.
  • Finance junk bonds.

2 informal heroin.

3 the lump of oily fibrous tissue in a sperm whale’s head, containing spermaceti.


And I have seen “asana junkies” in other contexts beyond Texas, and certainly did not mean you personally any criticism! Defining junkie as a person who derives a lot of pleasure from or has a strong interest in something seems fine, though the yoga sutras speak of pleasure as one of the “kleshas” or afflictions (hmmm…wonder why?).

It’s amazing to learn that junk can refer to worthless bonds (how timely!) AND to the tissue in a sperm whale’s head as well as to heroin and worthless objects. Who knew? Spermaceti is the waxy stuff that candles were made of, so no wonder that there seems to be some light coming out of this discussion.

It MUST have been hard to weather the changes the anusara community has gone through. John Friend was a friend of mine before he became famous, and I always wished him well. Though his insistence that there are universal principles of alignment did a disservice to Iyengar’s teaching on the importance of individual alignment, there are some wonderful people in the community, like you, continuing to teach excellent yoga.

Honestly, your thoughtful response made me question my sense of humor, but I have checked, and it is still there. So if you decide to keep your course name, I’ll look on it with a lighter heart, and if you don’t, let me suggest “Asana Lovers!”






Written by algarita

August 6, 2014 at 11:45 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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