Breakfast of Champions • 15 October 2007

The other day I called the great ashtanga tagline—do your practice and all is coming—a magical solvent for the removing of bullshit.

Someone came around and said no, it is just a koan. Because really: practice and what is coming?

Your baggage. All of it. To the surface.

Your relationships – some of them. To an end.

What is "all"? Quitting your job; weird pilgrimages; injuries nobody understands? Kapotasana?

I figure the line is a kind of dismissal, from the master who walks away in response to questions that are more about the showboating of the asker than the meaning of the inquiry. An old-timer told me once that SKPJ’s not-knowing of English has provided a crucial layer of insulation from all the stuff that western students would project onto him and would demand of him. I can imagine. Everyone wants a piece of him or of the heir. Everyone wants to claim a relationship that is reciprocated. Intimate, even.

Do your practice and all is coming is such a good non-answer to so many questions. You don’t even have to understand what has been asked, really. It also offers seven convenient reinterpretations: put the stress on a different word for each day of the week.

Maybe that is koan-like. Yeah kids: take that one home and meditate on it.

In any case, I like the line very much. And I actually do use it as a way to consider what it is that SKPJ meant by any of this, all of these years. The professor who finally left all the talk in the university and gave the best of his energy to this thing that only makes sense in silence: I won’t pretend that story doesn’t resonate with me in a large way.

I suppose that, product of capitalist society that I am, I’ve turned the old refrain into a bit of a slogan.

Ashtanga Yoga. Do your practice and all is coming.

Ashtanga Yoga. Do your practice and all is coming.

Ashtanga Yoga. Do you practice and all is coming.

Ashtanga Yoga. Shut up and salute.

Ashtanga Yoga. Shut up.