I know, I know. What does the recent SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage have to do with Ashtanga?
Maybe not a lot with the physical practice, which is what you usually see here, but it sure ties in with the whole eight-limbed path us Ashtangis walk.
The Yamas, the first of the eight limbs, deals with universal morality. Ahimsa, or compassion for all beings, is the first of the yamas, and its key here. Allowing two people who love each other to marry, regardless of sex or gender, is an act of compassion (one which should have been made long ago). Asteya, the third Yama, is also connected. It means non-stealing.
Witholding the right to marry from some while granting it to others is a theft. I’m hetero, and my wedding day was one of the best days of my life. I can’t imagine not having the right to celebrate my love for my husband in front of all my friends and family.
The Niyamas, the second of the eight, deal with personal observances. There are five Niyamas, and the last one, Isvarapranidhana, means celebration of the spiritual, or “laying all of one’s actions at the feet of the divine.” Love, and union with the beloved, are spiritual ideals. Granting everyone the legal right to marry allows families of all types to officially celebrate their divine union. Love is some spiritual shit. It should be celebrated.
This brings me to Samadhi, the last of the eight limbs. When you achieve Samadhi, you achieve union with the divine, losing your sense of self and becoming one with whatever your conception of divinity or God is.
I’ve only experienced a sense of Samadhi a few times, and it was so fleeting I wondered if I imagined it. I hear that artists know what it feels like when they get into a flow, when time drops away and the artist becomes one with their work and everything around them.
As a writer, I never get to that place. Ever. Maybe I’m doing it wrong. I do know that I’ve felt my selfhood diminish through my union with my husband, and it’s pretty cool. I’m less of an “I” and more of a “we.” It makes sense–Samadhi literally means “to bring together.” Even though all those loving couples probably already know what this feels like, it’s about time that that sense of coming together is sanctioned by law.
As far as I know, the Jois family never discriminated according to a practitioner’s sexuality. If I’m wrong, please tell me. It sounds like both Pattabhi Jois and Sharath just want you to practice. They don’t care who your partner is, or what appendage is getting inserted/rubbed/tweaked during sex.
Ashtanga only asks that you practice. Just practice. It’s all-inclusive.
I’m glad that the courts have come around to a similar view: get married, whoever you are and however you fuck. Love. Just love.