Yoga Podcast Episode 40: Eddie Stern Returns

One Simple ThingI

If you want to feel better, healthier, be more resilient and clear, Eddie Stern, says the answer is quite simple: Yoga.

In a world more and more divided, yoga may be one those rare and special subjects where we all agree – practicing yoga makes us feel good. And in today’s episode as well as in his new book, One Simple Thing: A New Look at the Science of Yoga and How it Can Transform Your Life (due out March, 2019), Eddie combines his own experience with philosophy and science to explain why this one simple thing makes us all so happy. 

Eddie’s first time on the podcast is one of the most downloaded episodes of all time. If you missed, you can listen here. And as always, thank you for listening – and for all your support!  xo, peg & meghan

Method vs. Practice:
Ashtanga yoga is not a method, it is a vidyā – which means a branch of science or learning. It’s also an abhyasa, which is a practice … abhyasa is the continual point of return of your attention back to where you want it.
How do you attain nirodaha. The stilling of the mind or the stilling of the activities in the field of the mind – how do you attain that? By abhyasa and vairagya. Only those two things. Simple. Only two things we need in yoga. So abhyasa is the continual returning of your awareness back to where you want it. And vairagya is noticing when your mind has gotten wrapped up into any of the 3 permutations of the 3 gunas and noticing you got lost in those objects of the permutations and bringing it back to a still point. And those are like the two things. So nowhere does it say it’s a method, it says it’s a practice. And it’s a practice that is continual.  
Ashtanga and Aging:
I think that in the system that we’re practicing, people should be more free to think they have a lot of options that are open to them when it comes to the practice and that options means that they don’t feel like they want to do anymore because they aren’t working for their body, it’s ok to not do them – there still may be others they can practice that will be helpful. 
When you’re learning a practice, you may learn it in a very structured type of way because that has its own benefits, specifically in regards to discipline and in regards to building resilience. But as time goes by, when you’ve learned those things, then it’s ok to begin to change the way you’re doing it depending on your life circumstances. As well as if you start learning this practice when you are older, there are going to be certain things that you might not be able to do for any number of considerations. That doesn’t mean you have to be stuck on, you know, parsvottanasana because you can’t stand on one leg and you can’t do Uthita Hasta. 
Yoga – The One Simple Thing:

Life is really demanding, physiologically, emotionally, mentally, and also demanding on our bodies. And we need to schedule time every day to reconnect with our body, reconnect with our breath, reconnect with our interior sense so that we can find a relaxed and peaceful state again. And this happens when everything begins to quiet down. And this happens through yoga and pranayama and meditation and chanting mantras. When we are able to access that space of safety and contentment and self-knowing through the practices, like on a daily basis, or at least every other day or however often you are going to do it but daily is better, it’s easier to move from that state into that demanding state of the world without getting too thrown off. Resilience is the ability to bend without breaking. And that’s what we do in postures. We bend our bodies without breaking them – hopefully. That’s the idea. 


The Ashtanga Dispatch Podcast is edited and hosted by Peg Mulqueen along with Meghan Powell. We are an incredibly small but dedicated mother-daughter team – and we bring each episode to you without any third-party advertisers.

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