Early American Yogi

The title is a reference to Ben Franklin whose autobiography I’m currently just about finishing. I don’t know if he was actually aware of Yoga – it’s probably asking a bit much of even him (although another New Englander, Thoreau living only a half century later knew and loved the Bhagavad Gita). Regardless, Franklin’s philosophy is definitely imbued with the ideals of yoga. Most of all, his idea of ‘virtue’ – for him it is something decidedly lacking in dogmatism. He believed that all faiths have at their core a set of virtues that none would find objectionable, and that the truest form of worship is to be found in the service of humanity. That might sound uncontroversial and simple to you or I, but they are breath-taking statements that imply that God can be reached through any faith. That’s rare wisdom today. But in a man of his modest origins, living in the 18th century American colonies it’s stunning.

Quite apart from the philosophy he expounds, the narrative of his life and accomplishments, public and private make good reading. Wisdom, Honesty, Integrity. Application. He’s rightly revered.

As for my practice. I’m just coming off a nasty cold that had me off the mat last week. I was back on it this weekend though. Again, I find satisfaction in that even in the ‘worst of it’, I don’t go 7 days without a practice. And then again who can say I wasn’t practicing Yoga when all the while I’ve been reading Ben Franklin

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