Matthew Remski on Eroticism in Yoga, Authority Structures and Accountability (#26)

About the Guest:

Matthew Remski has been practicing meditation since 1996 and asana since 2000. He’s taught yoga, yoga philosophy, and Ayurveda in Toronto and beyond since 2005. He maintains an active Ayurveda consultation practice from his home, which he shares with his partner Alix, and their son Jacob. He’s authored several books on yoga and related subjects, and is working towards completing What Are We Actually Doing in Asana?‚ an examination of pain, injury, and healing in modern yoga. His blog hosts an average of 20K readers per month:

In this episode, we discuss:

  1. A formative experience in Matthew’s life that informed his current interests and research.
  2. His project, What are We Actually Doing in Asana? (WAWADIA), which is a meditation on injury in yoga practice.
  3. Eroticism and Freudian dynamics in the Yogic relationship between teacher and student.
  4. How early childhood might inform our relationships with teachers and what we look for in a teacher.
  5. Orientalism and Romanticism as powerful bromides.
  6. On physical adjustments in yoga: the content of the adjustment and the relational power of the adjustment cannot be separated.
  7. The content of the teachings and the expressions of the teacher cannot be disentangled, to an extent where saying the “we must look at the teachings, not the teacher” proposes problems, according to Remski.
  8. How Matthew got involved with two cults. How does an intelligent, analytical person get stuck in a cult?
  9. How do we retain an openness to the poetry of yoga while still retaining a critical perspective on the culture?
  10. What does the future of yoga look like when we’ve grown up? What is Remski’s vision of yoga?
  11. There is an accepted somatics of spiritual transmission that is rigid and vertical in orientation. Remski thinks we need to have a conversation about spiritual authority.
  12. How Jivamukti might have responded to it’s scandal by installing a Board of Directors. Why accountability needs to be incorporated into yoga institutional structures.
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