Monday, November 12, 2007

Lomi School: Yoga and Body Mind Spirit Integration

The Lomi curriculum also featured the Asian ways of aikido, Hatha yoga and Vipassana sitting meditation. Aikido, developed by Morihei Ueshiba, is a Japanese martial art for self defense that harnessed universal love to heal conflict, create fluidity of the body, and strengthen personal energy. Aikido was often translated as “the way of spiritual harmony.” This translation pointed to a practitioner’s skill at controlling an attacker by redirecting his energy rather than by blocking an attack. (See the anecdote about aikido and emotional brilliance in Chapter One.)

To understand this skill, visualize the way a flexible willow bends with the storm, whereas the stout oak breaks if the wind blows too hard. Ueshiba taught that the principles of aikido should be applied to every aspect of one's life, and he once remarked that he was teaching students not how to move their feet but how to move their minds.

In the West, the term yoga was associated with the stretching postures of Hatha, one branch of India’s classical spiritual disciplines. Most Western yoga classes had little or nothing to do with Hinduism or spirituality, but were simply a way of keeping healthy and fit. Traditional Hatha yoga was a complete yogic path, including moral disciplines, physical exercises (e.g., postures and breath control) and meditation, encompassing far more than the yoga of postures and exercises practiced in Western physical culture.

Yoga lovers see daily practice as beneficial in itself, leading to good health, emotional well-being, mental clarity and joy in living. Yoga adepts progress towards samdhi, a high state of meditation and inner ecstasy. For the average person still far from enlightenment, yoga can be a way of increasing one's spiritual awareness. While the history of yoga strongly connects it with Hinduism, yoga lovers claim that it is not a religion itself, but contains practical steps which can benefit everyone.
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