You're all right, he does qualify "yoga is better" with "sometimes" (I just wanted an attention grabber title).
My pain condition doesn't allow me to do (hatha) yoga because I'm hyper-flexible (that's the consensus of me and my phyisical therapists). Stretching always causes me more pain. I prefer Active Qigong, aerobics and weight training which all can be done mindfully.
Mike wrote:The subtext of much of the talk could be put more bluntly: Stress relief (or blissing out, which he also discusses in the talk) has little, if anything, to do with Buddhist practice.
I don't know about that. John Kabat-Zinn in his Full Catastrophe Living
says, "Yoga is meditation" (that's not necessarily an endorsement). And if stress is a form of dukkha
, and you use blissing out to relieve stress, that's acceptable as long as you don't stop at just blissing out but use the stress relief as a tool for insight. How vipassana and samatha relate is the basic subtext, IMO. And as Revs. Sujato and Brahm contend (again, that's not necessarily an endorsement) vipassana creates it's own bliss/stress-relief/samatha.
I think we modern Theravadins are way too quick to judge, "this is Buddhist practice, that's not Buddhist practice" as if those opinion based
distinctions are valid enough to withstand the scrutiny of practice in real life.
David wrote:I think a certain degree of calmness of the body is very conducive for meditation.
If we are to take anapansati seriously, this is a requirement. So if I calm my body using hatha yoga, or Active Qigong, or calm my body and mind with chakra meditation or embryonic (Qigong) breathing am I doing anapanasati? Am I even doing "Buddhist practice" anymore?
David wrote:Gil Fronsdal said: "Sometimes yoga is better, sometimes meditation is better." This is not much different from what the Buddha said.
Except yoga post-dates the Buddha, which the more provincial, narrow-minded, sectarian Theravadins will point out.