Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Discipline of Love

Today is Valentine's Day. It's the day you offer special heartfelt expressions of love to your beloved, or your wanna-be beloved.

I heard the former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser say on the radio today that Valentine's Day is the poet's holiday. "It's not tied up with anything but expressions of sentiment," he said. "Nice," I say.

The icon of Valentine's Day is Cupid, the god of romantic love and beauty in Roman mythology. I don't even have to describe him to you. You know how he's portrayed.

But did you know the description of Cupid is nearly the same as that of the Hindu deity Kama, or more precisely, Kamadeva?

Kama is the Hindu god of love and desire.

Remember the story I passed along a few days ago about Shiva and his ashes?

Kama played a key role in that story that I haven't told you yet.

When Shiva's consort Sati died by suicide, she went in to a deep meditation. By the power of her practice she was brought back to life in the form of Parvati. In that form she sought to win again the affection of Shiva.

But Shiva was in deep meditation and took no notice of Parvati whatsoever.

Kama came to the rescue and shot Shiva with a flower tipped arrow, launched from his bow made of sugar cane.

The story goes that Shiva, annoyed by Kama's arrow, opened his third eye and destroyed Kama with a single fiery glance.

This is a powerful reminder that desire, the cause of much suffering, can be burned up through yogic practices.

Some versions of the story say that those ashes that cover Shiva's body are the ashes of desire that remained after Kama was consumed by fire.

There's more to this story. Suffice it to say, a little desire is needed to motivate some good things in life. Infertility is not good. So Kama was eventually brought back. But I'll save that story for another day.

In my studies, I've read a lot of sutras. Sutras are threads. They are collections of brief aphorisms strung together so they can be memorized and retained.

I've read the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. I've read the Shiva Sutra. I've read a few more sutras, too.

But until today, I had never read the Kama Sutra. Despite its seeming popularity, I just never got around to it.

I didn't finish it today. And I doubt I'll go back and study it. But I learned this from my brief review of the Kama Sutra today: Mallanaga Vatsyayana, the author of the Kama Sutra, wasn't fooling around when it comes to making love. He and the sources he relied on took it on as a serious discipline, one that is worthy of analysis, exploration, practice and devotion.

Loving, it is clear in his writing, is a matter of mastery. It's an endeavor deserving of meticulous attention to detail and dedicated action.

Wouldn't we all be better off if we took something that really mattered and seriously devoted ourselves to daily discipline and fervent action, carried out for a long time? We would.

I know just the discipline. I suggest yoga. If not that, love expressed through self-less service.

Don't just read about it. Get up. Experience it. Experience yoga!

Kevin Perry

p.s., The Sanskrit Word of the Day from my previous Daily Yoga Tip was sarvanga. Sarvanga means all of the limbs or the whole body as in parsvaikapada sarvangasana, the one leg to the side whole body pose.

p.p.s., Today's Sanskrit Word of the Day is sirsa. I'll tell you what it means next time.

p.p.p.s., Don't miss the next Experience Sanskrit workshop, the fun and unforgettable way to learn and remember the Sanskrit names of the yoga poses you already practice. Sallie Keeney and I are offering this workshop in Saint Charles, Missouri at Jane's House of Wellbeing, Saturday, March 15 at 12:00 noon. Visit to lean more. Register here.

p.p.p.p.s., Thank you to all of you who sent in your translations of utthita ashwa sanchalanasana. I received some great submissions. I'll announce the winners tomorrow, each of whom will receive from DK Children, a copy of the Yoga for Teens Card Deck. You inspire me.

p.p.p.p.p.s., It would be an absolute shame to refer to Ted Kooser's Valentine poems without giving you one to read. So here goes:

The Celery Heart

—Placard at Hinky Dinky

Surely it misses those long fly balls of light
its leaves once leapt to catch, or longs to run
its roots out into the salty darkness.

What once looked like a Roman fountain
is now a ruin of fallen columns
bedded on ice. Its only consolations are,

at regular intervals, the hiss of mist,
and at times the warm and reassuring squeeze
of passing hand. But better this, by far,

than to be the sullen heart of artichoke,
stripped of its knives and heavy armor
and mummified for eons in a jar of brine.

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved, Mo Yoga LLC.
Kevin Perry
Mo Yoga LLC
1305 Elmerine Ave
Jefferson City, MO 65101

(573) 680-6737


Blogger jindi said...

Ayurveda is a holistic healing science which comprises of two words, Ayu and Veda. Ayu means life and Veda means knowledge or science. So the literal meaning of the word Ayurveda is the science of life. Ayurveda is a science dealing not only with treatment of some diseases but is a complete way of life. Read More
"Ayurveda treats not just the ailment but the whole person and emphasizes prevention of disease to avoid the need for cure."
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Benefits of Ayurvedic Medicines
* By using ayurvedic and herbal medicines you ensure physical and mental health without side effects. The natural ingredients of herbs help bring “arogya” to human body and mind. ("Arogya" means free from diseases). The chemicals used in preparing allopathy medicines have impact on mind as well. One should have allopathy medicine only when it is very necessary.
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Ayurvedic Terms Explained

Dosha: In Ayurvedic philosophy, the five elements combine in pairs to form three dynamic forces or interactions called doshas. It is also known as the governing principles as every living things in nature is characterized by the dosha.

Ayurvedic Facial: Purportedly, a "therapeutic skin care experience" that involves the use of "dosha-specific" products and a facial massage focusing on "marma points."

Ayurvedic Nutrition (Ayurvedic Diet): Nutritional phase of Ayurveda. It involves eating according to (a) one's "body type" and (b) the "season." The alleged activity of the doshas--three "bodily humors," "dynamic forces," or "spirits that possess"--determines one's "body type." In Ayurveda, "body types" number seven, eight, or ten, and "seasons" traditionally number six. Each two-month season corresponds to a dosha; for example, the two seasons that correspond to the dosha named "Pitta" (see "Raktamoksha") constitute the period of mid-March through mid-July. But some proponents enumerate three seasons: summer (when pitta predominates), autumn, and winter (the season of kapha); or Vata season (fall and winter), Kapha season (spring), and Pitta season (summer). According to Ayurvedic theory, one should lessen one's intake of foods that increase ("aggravate") the ascendant dosha.


3:58 AM  
Anonymous Boris said...

excellent article just like your entire blog. i love yoga but i never find enough time to exercise it, mein web: bestellen cialis

12:22 PM  

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