Friday, February 24, 2012


When I was in India this time last year, one of my teachers, Professor Narasimham, of the Anatha Research Institute, said that yoga is a “technology for liberation.”

The idea is that the practice is purely practical; you can set aside all the woo-woo stuff (at least as a justification) and simply observe that if you undertake the process—following all the “Eight Limbs” of the discipline—you will, over time come to experience God or bliss or Samadhi or whatever it is you want to call that sense of union with the All that we’re consistently seeking whether we realize it or not.

It’s the same idea captured in the famous quote by Ashtanga yoga’s founding guru, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois: “99 percent practice, 1 percent theory.”

Or, as he also put it: “Do your practice, all is coming.”

Same with drunken bike gang shenanigans.

If you assemble the elements: a bunch of people who get a kick out of pedaling two-wheelers around city streets at night, including the return of well-loved and sorely missed Brothers, Scientists, and Loudmouths, (mixed in with the usual Curmudgeons, Functioning Alcoholics, and Sentimental Cynics), add an outdoor fire, stir together with freely-flowing alcohol and other such illuminating molecules, and do so on a night for which even the waxing moon sports a charming grin, you will eventually achieve that sublime state of fretless abandon for which human beings are hard-wired to zealously embrace.

It’s overkill, of course, when the smell of teen spirit is also in the mix and you get to stand above not one, but two freight trains racing beneath your howls and bellows of wild animal humanity, but that’s just how the process works: you put the nitroglycerine and gunpowder together and shake, just like Alfred Nobel learned us how to do.

There’s yet to be one of his prizes for cycling; there is one, though, a Nobel for Chemistry; couldn’t they award it for synthesizing magic?


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