Captive Yoga 5.15

James Fox, founder of the The Prison Yoga Project, comes to Asheville for a workshop at the Asheville Yoga Center (15-17 July 2016).  On the morning before the first evening session, Fox meets with volunteers of Light a Path.  Those of us currently teaching yoga at local jails and prisons are privileged to enjoy an occasion to share… Continue Reading


Captive Yoga 5.14

We unconsciously make our world mundane, otherwise reality would dismantle us.  We know not that our lives are purified by lacerations – each time we are misunderstood, neglected, held in contempt, set aside like a piece of old furniture.  The ego doesn’t burn; it has to smolder.  Torrential rains must dissipate our remains so that we can’t go… Continue Reading


Captive Yoga 5.13

This is not a court like any other court.  It sits in between freedom and incarceration.  Perhaps.  In attendance are those who walk a ledge, to one side their addictions, partners in crime, habits, misfortune, violence, and to the other the prospects of a different life, animated by discoveries of their own self-worth, capacities for self-government, the support… Continue Reading


Homeless Yoga 4.7

The parking lot is full.  What is a BMW doing at Haywood Street Congregational?  We could chastise the wealthy for having wealth.  That doesn’t happen at Haywood Congregational.  In the “elite” liberal arts college I taught at for twenty years I would hear without fail that anyone driving a fifty thousand dollar car has compromised his and hers discipleship… Continue Reading


Captive Yoga 5.13

We don’t get to choose our parents.  The same is true of our students.  We teach who is there.  The “easy” ones aren’t preferable to the “difficult” ones.  And if we think there is such a clear distinction, or that we serve the “easy” ones more “easily” than the “difficult” ones, we’re in for a… Continue Reading

Homeless Yoga 4.6

I dreamt a lighthouse.  It had no beacon, no light to draw ships in out of a storm.   It’s colors shifted throughout the day, none were the house itself.  At night it was black.  Enter the foyer into a small office.  As if at the gates of heaven sat a volunteer who relinquished her afterlife to… Continue Reading


Homeless Yoga 4.5

Entering through the doors that open into the Sanctuary at Haywood Street Congregational Church one of our fellow yogi’s is holding “Warrior 2.”  There he is, alone to his yoga.  But not.  Against the backdrop of an altar and a wooden crucifix, his pose seems to hold up the entire structure of the church.  I feel at the moment that… Continue Reading


Interlude 30

A short story continued … He wondered about the number of books published each year about the pernicious effects of thinking.  A bit like realists who believe that the “real world” is so evidently so that nothing need be said about it.  Except for the fact that realists keep writing books about realism.  They, not… Continue Reading


Interlude 29

A short story. He spoke as if he knew something.  Suspicions grew.   Doubts were not about the quality and logic of his thoughts.  It wasn’t his disregard of the imperative that no one knows.  The presumption to know revealed the pathology of his thought.  “Intellectualizing,” as he had heard over and over again, was really… Continue Reading


Interlude 28

By the time an observation of a thing reaches our eyes and is translated into meaning or paradox, we are in “looking” at memory.  A Buddhist epistemology is not necessary here.  That the world “outside” of us cannot be know intrinsically or essentially, as we might say, was the revolutionary revelation of Immanuel Kant: We cannot know (theoretically) that… Continue Reading


Interlude 27

From the hammock on your porch A pear tree in the full vigor of early summer Shoots sap into it’s verdant trunk Through outstretch arms holding a setting sun Life’s elixir into leaves supple and smooth. Awakened from winter’s slumber Snows drops replaced by succulent fruit That tree dispatching leaves to make room For sweetness So who cares After all, I… Continue Reading


Captive Yoga 5.12

“I feel small when I meditate,” said a regular yogi at the jail. “What is small?” I asked. No answer.  I continued: “do you think that there is a perspective of small that isn’t against the background of big?” He looked at me quizzically. “When you meditate this week notice small.  Examine small.  Notice where… Continue Reading


Interlude 26

Were I to believe that I cannot know, and were that statement true, how would I know that I don’t know?  The conundrum is not unlike toleration.  Would the moral imperative “toleration” also hold for the intolerant?  Say we make a sensible claim that meaning is construed by each individual individually?  The claim that all meaning is… Continue Reading


Homeless Yoga 4.4

You have more than you need.  You have more “resources” than you can possibly imagine. Nothing that needs to be done now depends on having done something else “first.”  Whether your endeavors are of benefit of others requires no more than a fair estimation of ambition.  The less attached to the outcome, the more likely you are of… Continue Reading


Patanjali’s Sutras

Blue, brown, orange, and red mats strew across a wooden studio floor.  Each is an island where a refugee from the brute, oppressive, obviousness of reason, persons, and things sits. Fans hum unseen, unheard.  Windows shield the solicitations of an eager sun.  From the tarmac of the parking lot just past windows turned mirrors, a hazy heat… Continue Reading


Interlude 25

The Master leads by emptying people’s minds and filling their cores, by weakening their ambition and toughening their resolve. He helps people lose everything they know, everything they desire, and creates confusion in those who think that they know. Mitchell, Stephen (2009-10-13). Tao Te Ching (Perennial Classics) (p. 5). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.


Interlude 24

People usually think of Lao-tzu as a hermit, a dropout from society, dwelling serenely in some mountain hut, unvisited except perhaps by the occasional traveler arriving from a ’60s joke to ask, “What is the meaning of life?” But it’s clear from his teachings that he deeply cared about society, if society means the welfare… Continue Reading


Interlude 23

Be it Tolkien’s One Ring Or Plato’s Ring of Gyges Invisible to all except yourself Would that be enough? If not an inclination to vice, Then why not practice your virtue openly? Because no one sees it. That is the gods’ gift to you. To live out your strangeness without acclaim, Culling each day the scorn of polite misunderstandings,… Continue Reading


Captive Yoga 5.11

Afternoons on a mat.  For an hour and a half we find a quiet union.  Reminds me that we are made of the same stuff.  There is no “who are you,” or “what have you done,” or “who will you be when …” I walk through the jail labyrinth, teach, and walk out.  But, frankly,… Continue Reading


Love 3.8

We speak of a “second nature” because it appears consonant with our “first nature.” That there is a second nature also suggests that there may not be a first.  Or that first is sufficiently pliable to be called second.  One way to find out is meditation.  Sensations, perceptions, feelings, thoughts, pains, joys, elation, gratitude, and… Continue Reading