Yoga and spirituality - ashtanga and zen

This is a brief question on yoga and spirituality. Yoga brought me back to meditation. My meditation practice is not pranayama outside of yoga practice, but seating zazen, seating meditation in the form of Zen Buddhism. This seems work for me. I don't find it conflictive. However, recently someone invited me to an online newsgroup in yahoo on yoga spirituality based on Hinduism. I'm not of Hindu origin. My theological and philophical studies where steeped in Western European traditions. It's only in the last few years that I've started reading books on Vedic philosophy, Hinduism and Buddhism. Actually, that rounds out my philosophical studies.

I wonder what other ashtangis consider the spiritual side of their practice. Is it doing kundalini-type mantra resitations? Is it quiet, contemplative meditation? Is it the pranic breathing of pranayama, with variations on inhalations and with counting of breadth? Is it seated non-thinking quiet meditation? My feeling is that I should continue doing what I'm doing. I think all practices are good. The group with which I ocassionally practice meditation on Sundays is a pan-Buddhist group, with people who practice one of those systems I've mentioned. But when I started reading the yoga spirituality group in yahoo, part of me gets restless. I do see the resemblance between the moral codes of the Namas and Niyamas in yogic studies to the Eightfold noble path of Buddhism. But I don't know what puja means. And is an achyara a synonym for a boddhisatva? (holy persons) Do you see what I mean? I get the feeling that I'm delving into unknown territory and should stick with Zen. Asthanga yoga and Zen - that seems to be my practice.


karen said...

Hi Arturo,

My spiritual practice is zen, and I also have my Ashtanga practice. I listen to the Hindu stories, and enjoy them, but my spiritual core is zen. At first I wondered if this was a conflict, but in the end, I don't think it is at all.

Arturo said...

Hmm, that's interesting, Karen. We share the same view. Thanks for writing.

Shantidave said...

Hi Arturo,

I practice Vipassana (or 'Insight') meditation outside of my daily yoga practice. I was actually quite involved with that practice before finding yoga of any sort. I feel the two practices are two sides of the same coin and definitely complement each other.

I have lately been reading more of the Hindu texts, but I think my grounding in Theravada and Vipassana will always be my spiritual touchstone.

I love your blog btw, I've recently started reading up on CRON.


Arturo said...

Hi Dave
Thanks for writing. I agree that Insight Meditation is in synch with yoga. The teachers at Spirit Rock here north of SF even teach a weeklong meditation retreat for yoga teachers. I'm glad my stories serve as inspiration.

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