dharma talk: Michael Stone

What a surprise it was to receive an email from Michael Stone, author of Yoga for a World Out of Balance: Teachings on Ethics and Social Action.

Michael told me that he likes this blog (and it always does this old English major’s heart good when published authors tell me they like my writing – he thinks LYJ is “not simply the repetition of familiar yoga cliches”) and asked whether I wanted to contribute to the conversation about his book.

I am sorry to say that I have not yet read the book, but I’m getting a copy from the publisher. When read, I will review it here. I am especially interested in his book that will come out in September Freeing the Body, Freeing the Mind. The subject is one that is near and dear to my heart, the yoking of yoga and Buddhism:

“Buddhism and yoga share a common history that goes back centuries. But because yoga and Buddhism came to North America from Asia as two separate traditions, their commonalities in the West often seem invisible. Most people choose to study either yoga or Buddhism and generally don’t combine the practices. Michael Stone brings together a collection of intriguing voices to show how Buddhism and yoga really do share the same values and spiritual goals.”

In my humble opinion, Patanjali could not have written the Yoga Sutra-s without being a bit influenced by the wandering Buddhist monks during his time. When I sat in my Sutra-s classes I would think “yes! and Buddhism says….” Then in any Buddhism classes I would think, “yes! and the Sutra-s say….” In my own mind, there was never any separation of the two philosophies. As they say in India, “same same but different, madam!”

For those of you interested in this idea, read Chip Hartranft’s translation, The Yoga-Sutra of Patanjali: A New Translation with Commentary.

Here is an exceptional video of Michael Stone. It’s about 30 minutes long, so make some tea, pull up a comfy chair, and listen to a dharma talk on things such as the Self, karma, transcending patterns, and meditation. I like the reference to “heat” in the title since I always tell my students how yoga marinates and cooks us!


Michael Stone Dharma Talk: Let the Heat Kill You from Centre of Gravity on Vimeo.

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7 thoughts on “dharma talk: Michael Stone

  1. I took a workshop with him that I refer to all the time in my mind when I'm teaching or just when I'm breathing. He's a very interesting presence, and brilliant. You're a lucky gal.


  2. Congrats, Linda!

    >>not simply the repetition of familiar yoga cliches

    Amen to that. This is exactly what I love about your blog also.

    As for the relationship between Buddhism and yoga, I'd like to add to the list of disciplines that share the same roots: daoism, tea ceremony, ikebana flower arranging, qi gong, Noh theatre, calligraphy and of course, martial arts. (One caveat, though: not all teachers of these arts teach in a way that is faithful to its roots.)

    My teacher likes to describe a circular house with doors all around it. Each door represents one of these disciplines. We all are going into the same house, and the further in we go, the closer we move toward each other.

    Stay well, my friend.


  3. I've been reflecting on the role of dharma as it relates to yoga practice quite recently, actually, so I was glad to see this post! 🙂


  4. Congratulations! I just started his book and can't wait to read more. I'm also very interested in his new book – thanks for talking a bit about it.

    I love the circular house metaphor. I think that will stick with me. One of the commenters to last Sunday's NYT article said something similar about Yoga and Zen.


  5. Finally had time to listen to the video, and I have to say, Michael is very impressive (not to mention easy on the eye!).

    My own teacher always says that all of the schools of thought in Buddhism, Tantra and various yogic schools all end up in the same place – philosophically speaking – if each path is followed all the way to the end of the track. Assuming there is an end, and there probably isn't, but you know what I mean.

    They aren't separate traditions really, they only look that way from certain view points.

    I'll be really interested to see how your review goes once you've had a chance to read the book from start to finish.


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