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Joel Kramer

Joel Kramer is the author of The Passionate Mind and was yogi in residence at Esalen Institute from 1968 -70; he has lectured extensively on yoga and is currently a Field Faculty member of the Humanistic Psychology Institute.

— From March 1977
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Playing The Edge: A New Look At Yoga

What is yoga? There are as many answers to that question as there are people who do yoga. This at first might appear confusing for yoga is often presented as if there were a true and fixed path to follow leading to a desired end. Enlightenment, samadhi, bliss, peace, higher realms of consciousness — these are the coins of the spiritual market place we are told we can collect with the proper practice and dedication. To find the proper practice it is common to go back to the past, to tradition and authority. Perusing the past, however, there doesn’t appear to be any consensus for there were schools and counter-schools with recommendations running the gamut from demanding severe self-denial and austerities to others that held that only in experiencing life and sensusality to the fullest could true realization be achieved. The teachings of today are just as varied. One school says that all types of yoga are contained within perfection of asanas, while other say that too much emphasis on the body keeps you limited to the gross material plane.

March 1977
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