I’ve enjoyed New Scientist for many years, and I thoroughly recommend getting yourself a subscription. It really is news without bias – albeit science-related news. But, there are verifiable facts to be read, whereas pretty much every other news source has its own bias.
Anyway, lately I’ve been reading some very interesting articles about energy and information, and I think that they a direct relationship to our Yoga and Hot Yoga practice here in Bristol, and worldwide.
It turns out that information is energy. That’s right: you can convert information into energy. Recent research suggests that tiny devices could one day be powered by information alone, and some speculate that this is how life is different from things that aren’t alive: that life has long exploited tricks to convert information into energy and vice-versa. Information is a kind of energy storage. Crazy, right?
As Yoga and Hot Yoga students, we work to deepen our practice. Eventually, we find ourselves reading more books, or taking a teacher training course. We come into contact with some of the ideas that Yoga proposes about our subtle body. This is like a body made of super-refined energy, energy that no device can yet detect. But energy that can be felt between people in day-to-day situations.
Nuts? Well, think about it. One of the primary drivers to practice Yoga and Hot Yoga for Yogafurie students in Bristol is that it helps de-stress after a hectic day/ week. People like that they feel calmer afterwards. That’s an energy change for sure: physiologically, it’s a change in how the metabolism is running. Mentally, it’s a release that allows everything else in life to run a little smoother… the same as saying things will take less effort, less energy.
Subtle energy theories run deeper than this. They propose that the energy of each person mingles and forms a web, and that this web itself is the body of a great cosmic being. In other words, that we are all one – in the same way that kidneys and liver are different, but add up to a person (when put with other, different organs), we too all add up to one. Just like you can’t easily live without your organs, we are all individually important. Just like all organs contain the blueprint of the whole body, each of us is a complete representation of the whole and individually different at the same time. Ultimately, our Yoga and Hot Yoga practice, at Yogafurie in Bristol and in good studios everywhere, aims at uniting the individually with their fundamental nature and unity in one-ness.
Let’s talk about organs a bit more. Consider your liver for a moment. It is uniquely useful. What it does is totally essential. It sits next to all sorts of other organic bits and pieces, but it keeps itself distinct (in health) and does its thing. In a very real way, it knows what to do. Yes, the function is coded into the structure – but the liver can regenerate if part of it is removed. It knows its structure: there is information there somewhere, for sure. That information is energy, and information is at the very heart of our being – every cell has a blueprint of the whole body held within it. The “information” of each organ and body system collectively add up to a person.
The actions of the person are very different to the actions of the organs. As a person, I don’t do what my kidney does – I do Ed’s things. I don’t do what my liver does – I go about my human day. I can’t do Ed’s things in Ed’s human day without my liver and kidney, but for sure they’re doing their own thing.
I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this. We spoke above about how different organs add up to make a whole person. What happens when we practice Yoga and Hot Yoga, when we start expanding our awareness to pick on and integrate with the energy of others? There is a strong argument to say that all this will add up to a larger whole. The being that arises out of all of us will be very different to any of us, and all of us will be precious to it – indispensable, in fact.
Lao Tzu said:
The Tao that can be named
Is not the Tao
And likewise, I’m not putting these ideas forward as some kind of ultimate truth. Rather, I’d like to just draw parallels between what science is telling us now, and some of the ideas presented throughout history through Yoga practice.
What happens if there is no Yoga or Hot Yoga, no unity or one-ness? Perhaps the “cosmic being” has an illness, or the “big picture” becomes distorted. We see this today – in our fragmented and overly-competitive world, societies are struggling with poverty and inequality, the planet is suffering from pollution and accelerated climate change: generally, there are problems. What is one planet with limited resources held in delicate balance is treated like separate social classes, separate countries, separate cultures, etc. The energy of each is needed for richness and a full life, but if they won’t work together then there are problems. Bristol leads the way in a lot of areas – and surprise, surprise, Yoga and Hot Yoga have exploded in Bristol. The rest is up to us, as they say.
Blog written by Ed Wood, Lead Instructor and Founder of Yogafurie