Who needs cupcakes and cosmopolitans when you have yoga?
One of the students in my Tuesday evening yoga class calls this pose the "bong hit" pose. She says it feels that good. Recently I read an article about some researchers who were studying whether or not LSD and "magic" mushrooms had the same effect on people as yoga/meditation. Wasn't that already studied by Ram Das and Tim Leary back in the day? Oh, what do I know anyway?
Well, what I do know is what I experience for myself. I have NO experience with LSD or mushrooms and I don't even know what a bong hit is so I have no idea how they compare to my meditation experience. What I do know is the effects of my practice and how it compares to the effects of cupcakes and cosmopolitans.
Yoga philosophy tells us that even things that bring us pleasure will eventually cause us suffering when we are driven by our senses. I would agree with that. The cupcakes are really delicious when you're eating them. There's no denying the pleasure there but it will inevitable lead to suffering when you can't button your pants. Who doesn't enjoy the pleasures of the warm, fuzzy feeling you get from a good cosmo but do I even need to mention the suffering that follows? The same is true with all desires which are driven by our senses.
Or is it?
Honestly, it's my desire to experience pleasure that calls me to the yoga mat some days. Will that eventually lead to suffering too? There's no denying that sitting at a desk for 7 hours a day is causing me suffering and what got me through the day yesterday was knowing the pleasure that would come from an SD yoga class.
The flow of last night's yoga class was certainly as delicious as a red velvet cupcake and I left with the same warm, fuzzy feeling I get from a cosmo. As I drifted off to sleep I thought to myself, "who needs cupcakes and cosmopolitans when you have a yoga practice?" But will my desire for the pleasures of yoga eventually lead to suffering?
My understanding is that our desires and our senses are necessary but what's important is who is in control. The Upanishads talk about our senses being like wild horses, our desires being the road they travel, our body is like a chariot, and our mind the reins. What's needed is the discriminating intellect to be the charioteer. Without it we will suffer.
My discriminating intellect tells me that my desire for the pleasures of yoga is a way better choice than my desire for the temporary pleasures I experience from cupcakes & cosmos. It is the practice of yoga that helps me turn my senses inward and reminds me that my desire for self-realization is really road I want to travel. It's the practice of yoga/meditation that helps me to use the "reins" of my mind to bring the "wild horses", my senses, under control. To quote the Upanishads "with the senses under control, the mind becomes pure." I'm guessing that when the mind is pure we experience the ultimate pleasure of samadhi.
So the conclusion of my own "research" is that Yes, yoga/meditation does have the same effect as cupcakes and cosmos with the exception that after yoga I'll still be able to button my pants and I'll be praying to the God within and not the porcelain God.