Angela Jamison is a certified KPJAYI teacher, based in Ann Harbor, Michigan. Her skillful and beautiful writing, combined with her academic background in sociology, history, and philosophy gives depth and perspective to the practice of ashtanga yoga and life experiences in general. Each post (one per month) is meticulously crafted. In the one we discussed on Friday, she elaborates around the term “Empire” exhorting us to know our “own” (the ego, conditioned mind, patterns, habits,….), to then be able to “unlearn” it. She shares how her first trip to Mysore was illuminating.
“When I first came to Mysore I was checking this place off a list. (Bucket list = Imperial mind.) Peter had died and I desired perspective. Silent morning asana practice had long been my daily ground for self-study and care and inquiry, so I figured I’d check the pilgrimage box. I arrived very knowing. And particularly angry about the so-called history of this practice, something about knowledge left on banana leaves that got eaten by ants. There was a dissertation there, exposing the ruse of the banana leaf story. My adviser and my partner both told me not to write it, because I couldn’t write credibly about yoga history without going back for another degree in Sanskrit first. So with my self-certainty challenged, I just started trying to listen. With… curiosity. This was how I got a first glimpse of the Imperial nature of my rationalist anger. The colonial mind is so obsessed with “artifacts” as what authenticates history that it plunders them, Indiana Jones style, and enshrines these collections of loot in “museums.” See the India collection at the British Museum of London. See the original Birth of a Nation, apotheosis of Empire, for illustration of domineering force of the “historical facsimilie.” This is all a long way from the pre-textual, person-to-person, knowledge streams of the oral tradition.
The mind of my Indian teachers had different relationship to authenticity and historical credibility. They placed more value on diffuse, old knowledge from oral tradition, than on the individual intellectual property which is the touchstone of Capitalist truth. They had an ability to hold surface contradictions in historical accounts without forcing one into rational dominance over another. In addition to having the best debate and discussion and transmission skills I’d ever encountered, hey held entire books in their minds verbatim. They were so much smarter than me.
I first came to Mysore to stake out an experience, and demonstrate my knowledge. That lack of curiosity was shameful, but it wasn’t just me. It was the Empire inside. When that started to crumble… that is when I started to fall in love with all this.”
the blog: http://www.insideowl.com/
the post: http://www.insideowl.com/2017/12/03/know-your-empire/
the shala: http://www.ashtangaannarbor.com/
more about Angela Jamison: http://www.ashtangaparampara.org/angela-jamison.html