Nestled in between some of the most idiotic political advertisements I have ever seen was a clean and simple advertising campaign from the Mc family of restaurants announcing the “great news” that the McRib was back. Seriously? Did anyone miss the McRib? Obviously, someone did.
For me, the idiotic campaigns of both politicians and this questionably edible treat are both a clear sign that it is time for everyone to do more yoga. Doing yoga provides us with a clear connection to our deepest intelligence and relieves us of fear and anxiety about the future. Over time, grounding ourselves in the present moment, with a deep connection to what is most true for ourselves and to our universal nature through breath and mindful movement prevents us from attachment to the forms of suffering that are implicated in these advertisements.
These advertisements indicate to me that these politicians and corporations are appealing to an un-centered population, one that is filled with desires, angers and fears that they can not even name. Or, perhaps, even more dangerous, they have placed a false name on these deep emotions. If you can point the finger at a “baby-killer” it releases you from being forced to see the “baby-killer” in yourself. Of course, I do not mean this literally, but figuratively, placing blame of any kind on someone else or something else is a form of denial of the ways that each and every one of us suffer at the hands of our own desires, judgments and violence.
Yoga does not have to mean putting on a pair of stretch pants and sitting on a plastic mat in some peaceful room. It’s a great place to start, but maybe your starting point needs to be somewhere different. Patanjali’s yoga sutras define yoga as the calming of the mental movements of the mind (1.2 yogas citta-vrtti-nirodhah). No special clothing or props are mentioned. What do you do that calms the mental movements of your mind? Is it your work, spending time with your children, your volunteer work, through creativity, playing music, swimming/running/hiking, your prayer, your community work? Whatever it is that brings you to a place that is in this moment is your yoga. You probably already do a lot of yoga and just don’t know it!
Yoga brings you in touch with the present moment. This moment is real. Fear, blame, anxiety, desire and everything else implied by these advertising campaigns are all about some different moment—-either a moment from the past that you can’t get back or a moment in the future that is just conjecture. The more you can be present in the reality of this very moment, the less you are at the mercy of campaigns that appeal to the worst, most suffering and fearful place in yourself.
If yoga isn’t for you, I still have some advice that may be of great import now that the McRib is back: Stay away from processed meat in the shape of bones. In the words of Hans and Frans, listen to me now and hear me later, there just has to be something better to eat. Really.
This entry was written by Sharon Rudyk, Owner and Director of Yoga Matrika in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. www.yogamatrika.com