My deepest, most heartfelt thanks to John Friend, founder of Anusara Yoga, for so Gracefully assuming the seat of the teacher, inspiring me to be courageous and honest with myself and patiently, compassionately providing the mirroring I so needed. Thanks to the Anusara Kula (community) for fertilizing the soil within which I root. Thank you to my invaluable and talented teachers at Seattle University. Because of your humility, vast experience, skill and openness of heart, I have been held safely enough to have able to stretch beyond my dreams and imaginings from when I entered the program. A final word of gratitude to all teachers of Yoga (Anusara Yoga and of course other forms as well) who have contributed in their own unique ways to the fact that many more millions of people today have come to steadily trust the flow of Grace, refine and become more sensitive to their own “Inner Teacher” so that they may live, speak and act more skillfully. Sat Nam. Thanks to my therapist Sue Ann Birdwell whose presence I felt as I wrote about therapeutic openness and love. Last but not least, thank you Joe for affirming to me God’s Grace on a daily basis. What we have together defies all doubt in it.
“Every person mistakes the limits of their own field of vision for the limits of the world.”
~ Arthur Schopenhauer
The Middle Point
The yogini closes her outer eyes,
Her inner eyes open to a realm
Of luminescence and infinity.
She rides the electric current between
The inner realms and the outer world,
The Middle Point,
The point of dynamic stillness;
A stillness that listens and responds,
A stillness that is paradoxically
Fluid and receptive.
To live in fullness in the world of form and color,
beauty, and change,
The yogini watches the world from her heart;
Her inner eyes see beyond the surface of things,
And into the deep and true dialogue between
Substance and space, between solidity and
The intense delight of recognition,
When light sees light.
At the Middle Point,
The delicate balancing act of
Consciousness and body,
She merges into a wide open sky,
Where middle, up, down, me, you,
Soften and evaporate.
The world reveals itself to eyes
That are soft enough to dissolve
The surface of things
~Denise Benitez Anusara Yoga Instructor
In this paper I seek to demonstrate some of the ways in which Hans-Georg Gadamer’s view of hermeneutics (the study of how we come to understand) and the tradition of Yoga inform and elucidate one another in the service of therapeutic treatment. I can not claim great mastery of either Gadamer’s work or Yoga; however I’ve gained a great deal by welcoming these two very distinct horizons to speak to me. I have studied Gadamer for only a short time at Seattle University and I have studied and practiced yoga for over a decade. Anusara Yoga in particular, is my passion and origin of my inspiration in choosing this paper topic. Anusara stems from currents of ancient Kashmir Shaivism, a non-dual Tantric philosophy and tradition from India which expands upon the dualist Classical Yoga which basically separates the observer from the observed. Anusara is beautifully in line with the concept of Heidegger’s ‘Dasein’ where man and world are part of a greater interactive and dynamic whole. Tantric forms of Yoga further challenge the dualistic body-Spirit split with its rooting belief that both are part of one greater dynamic, interrelated and holy package. The “Middle Point”, more an infinite expansive place than an actual point, is perhaps a key facet of Grace. I consider myself fortunate to be in a place today to witness the complimentary nature of these two distinct horizons. It is my inner prompting to now produce an offering of something new and hopefully...
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