|Michael Stone, Centre of Gravity summer practice 2010, photo Andrea de Keizer|
I had a hard time finding Centre of Gravity on my first visit; that's despite Bellwoods Avenue having been a street I lived on for many years. It's nudged quietly in between the residential rows; and I think there was something on the website about finding a red door. And then, Michael had also said something about arriving early. Inside, on wooden floors in a long hall, lined by low lying book shelves, people spread their mats alongside one another in two careful rows; leaving about an inch of space in between. It was intimate. This was the closest I'd been to anyone else in a room while practicing. Intimacy and community is something Michael likes to talk about; he brought it up again this weekend in a few workshops at Yoga Festival Toronto. As guest author of the following post, he traces the intimate connections between Buddhism and yogic practice, so that we can find our way through otherwise cryptic maps to the red door; and to the helix that marks the communal meeting spot of the body and the mind.
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Freeing The Body, Freeing The Mind: Connecting Yoga and Buddhism
Over the years, I’ve found it increasingly frustrating that Yoga is continually reduced to “a body practice” and Buddhism “a mind practice.” This makes no sense at all. Anyone who has practiced deeply in both traditions knows that the Buddha gave attention to the body, Patanjali the mind, and both traditions value ethical precepts and commitments as the foundation of an appropriate livelihood. I organize a community in Toronto called Centre of Gravity Sangha, a thriving group of people interested in integrating Yoga and Buddhist Practices.