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Rage, Fear, Sadness, Fatigue. The Yoga of Darkness.

in Yogitorials



By Karin L. Burke

“Emotion is the chief source of all becoming-conscious. There can be no transforming of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotion.” -Carl Jung.

I once had a student who started to drift away and begin to look sheepishly apologetic when she did come to class.  She avoided my eyes and had an invisible wall around her mat. She used to ask questions or chat after class; now she was the first out of the room and gone from the studio by the time I’d left my mat.  Eventually, though, we did talk a little.  She told me things were busy.  She talked about her kids.  Then she looked somewhere into the middle distance  and said she didn’t know, really; yoga just wasn’t working any more.

Sometimes, she said, all I feel in child’s pose is anger and disappointment.

Yoga has a corner market on feel good words.  I recently had a massage therapist tell me we were both in the ‘feel good industry.’   The promise of ‘enlightenment’ tends to make us think we will be more spiritual, and this somehow means we’ll be a little less freakish about time, our kids, our money.  There is truth to this.  Yoga can show us how good it feels to be alive.

But yoga will also show us exactly how badly we feel.  Usually, when honest emotion starts to come up, students leave.  They skip class or decide yoga wasn’t what they wanted.  They say ‘it’s not working any longer.’  The emotion itself keeps them away. They’re ‘not in the mood’ or ‘too depressed to move’ or will  – trust me, this is real – feel guilty for feeling so crummy when others are just trying to get their savasana on.

This doesn’t indicate that the yoga isn’t working, but that it IS.  The end isn’t this negativity, this disappointment.  But negativity is part of the path, and it has to be gone through if you want to understand it, to understand yourself, at all.  If you don’t, you’ll be shutting down half of your experience of life, and probably the best strengths you’ll ever find.  If you don’t, you’ll continue to skip, overcompensate, repeat and lull.  You’ll segue irritation into nicety, stuff it, and it will erupt later as rage toward an intimate or yourself.

Most of us have spent the majority of our lives stuffing and repressing our feelings, rationalizing them, avoiding them, or sublimating them into exercise, food, cigarettes, television, shallow relationships.  Women are taught not to feel anger because it’s not nice, not feminine (or too feminine and bitchy, emotional, hormonal and out of control).  Men are supposed to feel competence, all the time.  In our efforts to feel better, many of us start  shutting it off, wholesale, in favor of pop psychology or easy spirituality.  It’s called spiritual bypass.  It’s an attempt to avoid painful feelings, unresolved issues, or developmental needs with such words as ‘everything happens for a reason’, or ‘god’s ways are not our ways’, or ‘choose happiness.’

There will be a yoga class, someday, online or at your local studio, where your teacher will start singing. She’ll say ‘exhale’ as if there’s something orgasmic about it.  She might allude to the goodness of your heart, your hamstrings, or the light inside.

If you are like me, this may make you clench your bandhas like a fist.

There may come a day you lower down into child’s pose, “sweet, receptive, safe” child’s pose and feel nothing but boredom, irritability and dis-ease.  You keep lifting your head off the mat, looking at the clock.  There may come a day your brain starts swearing at the lovely yoga teacher saying something vapid about love in your newly blossomed chakra.  What are you supposed to do with that?

Here is the thing.  Yoga is not about bliss, but about honesty.  Spirituality is not certainty, but the longing of the heart.  Enlightenment is not ‘letting go’ of bad feelings, but understanding them, what they’re doing to us, and how they are expressed in the body.  Non-harming and forgiveness are not about feeling generous or big enough (bigger than and condescending), but knowing the difficulty of right actions and assuming responsibility for the difficult.  Forgiveness often comes directly out of acknowledging how bloody bitter we are.  Love is not joy, all the time. Sometimes, love hurts. Love is raw.

Yoga is a love story.  Not the fluffy, romanticized love story, but the real one.  The kind that leaves you changed.

Emotions are doorways, ways in.  The goal is not to exist without shadows, to become so spiritual we no longer feel fat, bored, envious, or impatient.  The goal is to swallow hard as we take on willingness to go into the dark.

Because yoga asks you to work with both your body and your mind, the inevitable result is going to be messy.  There will be times the body itself will start in on anger, hot and fast, trembly, without the reasoning mind having a clue what is going on.  There will be days the boredom or loneliness seem so sharp they may actually wound.  There will be five thousand ways your mind will tell you it isn’t worth it, it won’t work, that love is not real.

Yet, yoga has probably already given you a clue to this.  You’ve probably already felt how love – whether it be romantic or ethical compassion, right living, making a solidity of your name – is the only thing that is real.  The highest and best in human beings is subtle, mysterious, and usually tied directly to the shadows.  Life is both unbearably cruel and devastatingly sweet, often at the same time.

The shadows will show up.  Go there.  Apathy, acedia, what Christian mystics called desolation, existentials call despair, moves when we move toward it.  It isn’t the passage of time that heals us, but the passing through experiences.

There are hundreds of things telling us to ‘get over it’, to ‘think positively’, or to ‘let it go’.  Be wary of these as the roadside distractions that they are.

Yoga is the love story where in things fall apart.  God moves away, often at the same time he takes away the ground.  First goes this, then goes that.  Gone are the thrill of the first months of yoga class, the ease of learning something new every time you walked in the door.  Gone is the schedule that allowed you class three times a week.  Gone is the strength in your shoulders, the ability to keep on a diet.  Gone is the confidence of conversion.

And then a small movement in the heart.  And then two.

Karin L. Burke is a yoga teacher.  She started Return Yoga, a non-profit studio, just under a year ago in St. Cloud MN. 

This post originally appeared on her blog and has been republished here with her permission.





71 comments… add one
  • James

    Very impressive essay. That “Yoga is […] about honesty” paragraph is just fantastic.

  • Cathy Ge

    excellent! This is the deepness of spirituality- self-awareness and meeting it.. then with courage and support finding a way to become whole or solace.

  • Karin, Thank you for crystalizing your thoughts and sharing them. I throw up a little in my mouth when yoga teachers drone on incessantly about unicorns and bunnies and chant unrecognizable Kum By Ya like syllables that are supposed to “take me higher.”

    Life is, at best, bitter sweet.

    I love it when students leave class with a smile and thank you. Validation!!!

    I also know from my own experience that sometimes I just go through the motions on my mat. I also know that by just going through the “motions,” I allow my emotions to be whatever they are, recognize them and take a few breaths.

  • Trish

    Like a strong wind blowing through the bullshit that is yoga speak. Thank you for the courage to speak the truth.

  • Lala

    This is the most honest thing I have read about yoga in the 7 years I have practiced.

  • Excellent and articulate, and more importantly, psychologically valid. True words spoken in an environment taken over by marketers and positive thinkers denying the validity of their changing emotional landscape.
    Thank you.

  • My teacher always said to “invite your emotions to sit with you on the mat.” Thanks!

  • Well done, Karin. Excellent work.

    Posting to Best of Yoga Philosophy.

    Bob W.

  • Muchas gracias I loved your article thank you so much for sharing this. Excellent work you talk about things we think, imagine or even experience and nobody talk about it.

  • Ana Catalina

    Thank you Karin, I really liked your article.

  • PattyS

    Anyone who has ever cried on their yoga mat knows the truth of your words. The practice of yoga is not a direct flight to Happy Land; yoga starts us on an uncomfortable journey to the core of the Self. It is a scary trip, and worse, we may not like what we find when we arrive. We may say we are bored or uninspired by yoga, or find ourselves hating it, when what we really hate is having to confront our truth. That has been, and continues to be, my experience. I will affirm that yoga is the most effective form of therapy I have ever participated in.

  • Westerly


  • Leslie

    Wow, just wow! I haven’t been back for 3 months because I was coming home so angry after class and really couldn’t touch on exactly what or why. This just completely resonated with me and my journey. Thank you so much, I really needed to read this today.

  • Thank you, all, for your reading and comments.

  • Kerstin

    Very well articulated. Some real truth. I spent a full 6 months in the depths of depression where I felt unbearably bored and disconnected on my mat and almost stopped practicing. The only release I got was crying in child’s pose. And now looking back….that was probably exactly what I needed. Thank you for this article

  • christine guenther

    Thank you. One class the teacher told us to think about a low point in the day and work to rid ourselves of the guilt or anger or anguish about it. I was having a horrible day with my toddler and I just started to cry. I stayed in child’s pose a bit longer that class..

  • Twisted Yoga Sister

    I’m at that point now, “the shadows”. I’ve just had to step back for a break. I’ve been pushing so hard for so long. I’ll be back. I know it…I just need a small break. Thank you for writing this article. So true!

  • This is an amazing post, heart-touching and truthful, thank you 🙂



  • Ally

    What a beautiful article. I intend to read it over and over again– I’m sure that each time I read it, I’ll find something new to contemplate. Today, the aspect that yoga is not about bliss but about honesty was important to me. Thank you for writing such a beautiful, well thought out, compassionate and WONDERFUL piece! Namaste~

  • Himix

    Thank you! We can sure use most of the stuff here… I loved: “Forgiveness often comes directly out of acknowledging how bloody bitter we are. “

  • This is so good, and so helpful!

  • bunny

    thank you so much for sharing. i can relate to this. i am very slowly learning to observe the darkness, rather than getting caught up in it. as yogis, we all need to be reminded that shadows are ok and they are what make us human.

  • Sara

    Sometimes you read something and say “oh my good god yes!! Finally!!” That’s how I felt when I read this essay. I’m a brand new teacher, and when I was in training we were taught how to speak properly when teaching a class so as not to bring or feed into any negative ideas about stuff to the students. I’m so not down with that; in fact, I think we as teachers are doing a huge disservice to our students if we sugar coat things or pretend that everything is happiness and light. Case in point: I went through one of the darkest periods of my life last summer, and thankfully my practice carried me through it by giving me the space to sit with the awfulness that was arising, put on my imaginary pith helmet, and forage through it all. Luckily I had teachers at the time who let me do just that and didn’t offer little cliches and anecdotes. They told me to hold on and keep moving forward because that part of the journey was a bumpy ride. I’m glad they did, because I’m a better teacher for it.

  • Valeria

    I needed to read this so much. Absolutely true! My yoga hasn’t been that blissful bubble lately and my body has been a knot of these emotions that just untangle into a big mess from first inhale until finger wiggles in savasana. It’s so important to accept yourself when you’re frustrated, angry, tired instead of feeling guilty at arm balance or innocent trikonasana knocking your dragon out. Thank you!

  • Feel the anger, feel the frustration, feel the depression, if that’s what’s there when you look. There’s nothing wrong to feeling those things if they are the truth, and as you allude it’s better to acknowledge them rather than cover them up with saccharine goodliness.
    But when you feel them, feel them with mettha for yourself first and foremost. It’s ok to be kind to yourself, even if you don’t think you like what you see.

  • Equanimity. Your truth and courage is inspiring. Validating!

    Thank you

  • Wonderful article! Same goes for meditation. The pathway to higher consciousness is through clearing of the emotional body. I believe that yoga evolved when students saw masters moving themselves spontaneously into weird contortions for the purpose of releasing a stored emotional or physical trauma. The students said, wow, look what that did for him. I’m going to try it too. The key to evolution is learning to love our emotions, feel them fully, then let them go. My
    teacher said, the last thing to go before unity is judgement. And one of the most difficult things to do is to stop judging our emotions. Articles like this help us understand the path. Well done.

  • Rainbow Patchouli Bracelet

    I have been hearing things like deep seated emotions are in the hip stiffness. I just feel like I must be a beginner all over again with practice. Especially when it’s all alone in the middle of the night off-the-bed and instead on-the-carpet yoga that seems to be happening to me pretty much every night lately.

    Yea, honesty and going there is where the practice is.

  • Karen

    Wow – thank you…

  • HT

    Fantastic. What a window into thought and self enlightenment 🙂

  • Karen

    Friend speaks my mind.

  • I am really sad to say that this article takes intimate content from another author without citing her or linking to her. There are no rules for what constitutes honesty in citing sources here in blog land, so maybe what I’ll describe below is really no problem by others’ standards. But here’s what happened.

    I loved Karin’s article so much that I shared it with my yoga students (see http://www.facebook.com/a2ashtanga), moderated a discussion of it, and wrote to the author (both by email and on facebook) to thank her for her insights. When someone bares her soul on this level, not only is it beautiful, but I feel that as a reader is is nice to support her for doing this.

    Then today I caught up on my RSS feed, including the blog of a good friend who happened to visit our shala last week. Two days before Karin posted her original article, Cocco Yoga posted this: http://coccoyoga.com/2013/08/19/emo-yoga-rage-so-sorry-etc/

    Two of Karin’s searing insights, about how rage is either seen as “unfeminine” or alternatively as “too feminine,” and about the way rage erupts later toward an intimate, were written about previously in Cocco’s article.

    In addition, the Jung quote with which Karin’s article begins is the centerpiece of Cocco’s article. (Cocco is a long-time, tremendously dedicated, student of Jung. She did not lift the quote from a search.) And the Iyengar photo which Cocco used for her piece is not only used as a centerpiece of Karin’s piece at her blog, but also heads this post here at YogaDork. The poem and the image are public domain, but we can see that the image was taken directly from Cocco’s blog because Cocco renamed the .jpg as “lionrage” when she posted it, and the image was migrated over to Karin’s blog and reposted it without changing the unique name Cocco had given it.

    I’m really sorry to detract from a piece that has done so much good. But maybe doing so will add another level of reflection and interesting-ness to this topic. But maybe it’ll give Karin a chance to speak openly to us as readers and maybe address Cocco in the process.

    Or maybe readers will say none of this matters. I don’t know. For me, seeing this makes me quite disappointed and sad. So I guess that’s some negative emotion that I can work with.

    Much love and thanks for the inspiration all around.

    • I’ve compared the two posts and feel there’s way too much repetition for the similarities to be coincidental. Even the titles are similar: Cocco’s is “Rage, Fear, So Sorry.” and this is “Rage, Fear, Sadness, Fatigue .” Certainly, the posts are different enough to both be wonderful contributions in their own right. BUT it’s very important to credit the work of those who (apparently) inspire yours (particularly when writing only a few days later). I hope that Karin will speak to this matter because as it stand now, it doesn’t look good. This is really too bad and I share Angela’s distress about bringing up unpleasant matters. But, I think that it’s very important to uphold basic standards of giving credit where it’s due, on grounds of both asteya and anti-plagairism.

      • Thank you, Carol. Your words are much appreciated.

        As I’ve said a few times now, while I’m really happy to inspire someone else’s work, it would have been [so many good things] had I been credited.

        I find the lack of integrity in how this is being handled by those who published it both sad and disappointing, but am extremely heartened by the comments both here and elsewhere in the interwebs. *Thank you.*

        • Annette

          I agree with other’s assertions that details lifted from another blog should have been properly credited. That can still happen — and definitely should.

          Silver lining: I was introduced to your blog, Anastasia, through this incident, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who is grateful for that. Thanks go to Angela for making the connection.

    • Marcia

      Ideas and insights are a dime a dozen and are not owned by anyone.

      One does not need to credit ideas, but one needs to credit the exact lifting of phraseology, when one is authoring, in order not to infringe on one’s legal, copyrighted, autho rights.

      I don’t see any lifting here. “Intimate content” has no meaning.

  • Interesting article and you bring up some good points, however, from my perspective– you also miss the mark. First of all, Carl Jung wasn’t a Yogi and there is a huge difference between therapy and Yoga. Therapy is all about maintaining some sort of normalcy in the regressive cycle of the human experience. Yoga is about growth and expansion of the human into the Divine (apotheosis). The real problem with yoga today, is there are very few real Yogis and as a result we have a large amount of what the Sutras call avidya (ignorance – mistaking the impermanent for the permanent). Yoga is a love story and it is all about bliss, wonder and awe but it requires the separation from duality and the reunion with the Absolute. If you don’t know how to do this, then the practice misses the mark. Rage, fear, sadness and fatigue are the flip side of joy, courage, happiness and endurance, they are both dualistic. The physics of spirituality is like attracts like and two things can’t occupy the same space at the same time. You can’t draw from fear and limitation and expect to become truth and wholeness. Namaste!

    • judith

      yes. yes. yes. thank you.

  • @Kenneth: Your comment is interesting, and I addressed some of what you mention on the post from which this quote was lifted (see A. Jamison’s comment above). ​I disagree on a few points.

    First, Jung’s Psychology is most definitely not “all about maintaining some sort of normalcy in the regressive cycle of the human experience.” Nor is it therapy. There is a difference between psychoanalysis and therapy​.​ Jung’s work and its practice is as easily a “love story” as yoga​ is​, should we chose to describe yoga that way.

    Second, Yoga is not inherently non-dual.​ ​The Yoga Sutras are decidedly dualistic, and the emphasis on non-dualism is quite recent in yoga’s history.

    I do agree that there are very few “real Yogis,” though I’d stop short of labeling anyone yay or nay.

    @Everyone: As for the intimate content that was taken from my blog (see Jamison’s comment above), I have yet to reach out to the author as I am still quite hurt and angry to see my words and ideas lifted so audaciously​ without crediting me, especially on a platform with the reach of YD.​

    As I truly believe that anger can guide us toward appropriate action if we acknowledge it, feel it, process it, and let that information inform us as to what action we take, I will be in touch with her when that process has happened.

    In the meantime, I will sit with what’s coming up for me, and I will write about it​.​ Or, as a friend said, “Make it art.” I will do my best.

    @Angela: *Thank you.* Your beauty is incredible.


  • Courtney

    I’m disappointed that Anastasia/Cocco were not credited in this post, since acknowledging the source of content in the text and via hyperlink would have benefited readers of the blog interested in these issues. I hope the author will consult some of the many guides online for providing appropriate citations and acknowledgements of sources. For example, see: http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/plagiarism/
    It would be appropriate to add a correction below the original entry crediting Anastasia/Cocco, in addition to writing a separate post acknowledging the omission.

  • My apologies to Anastasia as she sees this article as “lifted”. I can say that I have not yet read her piece and won’t get a chance to for the next few days, nor to respond to this in more depth.

    I can say that they are different articles; hers appears autobiographical and specifically explores women’s anger. Mine does not take that approach, but spoke to grief and boredom and crises of faith as well as anger.

    Spiritual bypass is a very popular philosophic concept among spiritual writers right now; Jung’s writings are equally powerful tools for a Yoga teacher with an interest in yoga psychology; Women’s anger as “bitchy” is a trope. Iyengars lions breath I did lift from the Internet, google searching specifically for that photo, and I’m not surprised if it DID come from Anastasia’s blog. My writing, as can be found in ALL my earlier posts, is consistent. I frequently write on all of these subjects. “rage” I’ve been playing with in its semantic connotations going back to Achilles and filtering down to PTSD. There was no willful theft of ideas nor content. My apologies again for what appears to be very similar exercises in writing; there was no malicious intent nor theft of ideas involved.

    • Spiritual Bypassing is a specific and complicated idea first created by the psychotherapist John Wellwood.

      Robert Augustus Masters wrote a wonderful book on the topic a few years ago. It developed the concept so much that it’s now difficult to explain/understand within the wordcount of a blog post.

      Masters cites and credits John Wellwood in his book.

      In the first sentence of the first chapter.

    • Karin,

      I’m not troubled that you used that image. What is extremely troubling is that the image on your blog, called lionsrage.jpg, is not searchable by the words “Iyengar,” “Lion,” “Breath,” or anything remotely similar. You could not come upon my blog by searching specifically for that image, as those words are not connected to the image or post in any way.

      I was eager to find this a coincidence, as both Angela and Carol know from our discussions about this. But when I saw the name of the Iyengar image on your blog post (which happened while I was chatting with Angela), I knew you had to have seen my work, posted only two days earlier.

      I rename my images so they are not easily searchable by description, so others don’t drag down my server by linking directly to my site. That image is called lionsrage only on my site, your site, and yogadork.

      Again, my site will not come up in an image search even remotely close to what you’ve suggested, especially so quickly after it was published. It’s a small blog.

      As both Carol and Angela point out, there are just too many similarities. And too many improbabilities for you not to have seen my site before you posted yours. That you did not cite me is problematic. This could have been a lovely exchange and building upon of ideas. It’s disappointing it didn’t work out that way.


      • paul

        I’m not sure changing the name of an image to cover your tracks (or frame it how you like :), cycle harmony as it were ;)) bolsters your case that sources ought to be transparent, nor that boundaries can be transgressed if there is a collective (regardless of the ones we aren’t always conscious of), so I wonder how those ideas (and particularly the Jung quote) landed in your awareness, if perhaps you both read some other something and abused the rights of that author(s). Your site does come up in an image search of the Jung quote, a way it could have arrived in Burke’s results.

        Reading Jung quote in context (the horny woman causes trouble, but there’s a happy ending), I giggled at the same time I was reminded why (arche)typing people in a narrative frames them in a seemingly inescapable way.

        (Hull’s translation in his Four Archetypes):
        I drew a very unfavourable picture of this type as we encounter it in the field of psychopathology. But this type, uninviting as it appears, also has positive aspects which society could ill afford to do without. Indeed, behind what is possibly the worst effect of this attitude, the unscrupulous wrecking of marriages, we can see an extremely significant and purposeful arrangement of nature. This type often develops in reaction to a mother who is wholly a thrall of nature, purely instinctive and therefore all-devouring. Such a mother is an anachronism, a throw-back to a primitive state of matriarchy where the man leads an insipid existence as a mere procreator and serf of the soil. The reactive intensification of the daughter’s Eros is aimed at some man who ought to be rescued from the preponderance of the female-maternal element in his life. A woman of this type instinctively intervenes when provoked by the unconsciousness of the marriage partner. She will disturb that comfortable ease so dangerous to the personality of a man but frequently regarded by him as marital faithfulness. This complacency leads to blank unconsciousness of his own personality and to those supposedly ideal marriages where he is nothing but Dad and she is nothing but Mom, and they even call each other that. This is a slippery path that can easily degrade marriage to the level of a mere breeding pen.
        A woman of this type directs the burning ray of her Eros upon a man whose life is stifled by maternal solicitude, and by doing so she arouses a moral conflict. Yet without this there can be no consciousness of personality. “But why on earth,” you may ask, “should it be necessary for man to achieve, by hook or by crook, a higher level of consciousness?” This is truly the crucial question, and I do not find the answer easy. Instead of a real answer I can only make a confession of faith: I believe that, after thousands and millions of years, someone had to realize that this wonderful world of mountains and oceans, suns and moons, galaxies and nebulae, plants and animals, exists. From a low hill in the Athi plains of East Africa I once watched the vast herds of wild animals grazing in soundless stillness, as they had done from time immemorial, touched only by the breath of a primeval world. I felt then as if I were the first man, the first creature, to know that all this is. The entire world round me was still in its primeval state; it did not know that it was. And then, in that one moment in which I came to know, the world sprang into being; without that moment it would never have been. All Nature seeks this goal and finds it fulfilled in man, but only in the most highly developed and most fully conscious man. Every advance, even aspects of the mother archetype the smallest, along this path of conscious realization adds that much to the world.
        There is no consciousness without discrimination of opposites. This is the paternal principle, the Logos, which eternally struggles to extricate itself from the primal warmth and primal darkness of the maternal womb; in a word, from unconsciousness. Divine curiosity yearns to be born and does not shrink from conflict, suffering, or sin. Unconsciousness is the primal sin, evil itself, for the Logos. Therefore its first creative act of liberation is matricide, and the spirit that dared all heights and all depths must, as Synesius says, suffer the divine punishment, enchainment on the rocks of the Caucasus. Nothing can exist without its opposite; the two were one in the beginning and will be one again in the end. Consciousness can only exist through continual recognition of the unconscious, just as everything that lives must pass through many deaths.
        The stirring up of conflict is a Luciferian virtue in the true sense of the word. Conflict engenders fire, the fire of affects and emotions, and like every other fire it has two aspects, that of combustion and that of creating light. On the one hand, emotion is the alchemical fire whose warmth brings everything into existence and whose heat burns all superfluities to ashes (omnes superfluitates comburit). But on the other hand, emotion is the moment when steel meets flint and a spark is struck forth, for emotion is the chief source of consciousness. There is no change from darkness to light or from inertia to movement without emotion.
        The woman whose fate it is to be a disturbing element is not solely destructive, except in pathological cases. Normally the disturber is herself caught in the disturbance; the worker of
        change is herself changed, and the glare of the fire she ignites both illuminates and enlightens all the victims of the entanglement. What seemed a senseless upheaval becomes a process of purification:
        So that all that is vain
        Might dwindle and wane.
        If a woman of this type remains unconscious of the meaning of her function, if she does not know that she is
        Part of that power which would
        Ever work evil but engenders good,
        she will herself perish by the sword she brings. But consciousness transforms her into a deliverer and redeemer.

        • Paul, Karin told us herself that she found the photo “google searching specifically for that photo.” The Jung quote is far from a specific search.

          I find it beyond amusing that someone who argues that sources need not be transparent than go back to an original source of a CITED quote.

          You’ve made our point. Thank you.

          • (then, not than)

          • paul

            How wonderful we find our hypocrisy amusing! Google likes to give results that are new and targeted to a user’s history, so if she searched the quote and then the image (if not the quote itself), your site might have been a part of her results. This is not to try to convince anyone of anything; increasingly I see people can really only be convinced of what they’re convinced of, so I think exploring possibilities is the only possible approach toward agreement or understanding, though making weak arguments are also supposed to be helpful to this.

            If your point is that sources should be indicated, I agree, it is helpful for those few interested, though again I’m not sure not doing so trangresses boundries. If your point is that you should be indicated as the source for this piece, I have not made it, and could not given your only claim to authority is the date you published and an image whose use by you indicates your active disinterst in sourcing, so showing Burke lifting other’s works the only refuge to make this point (for which you will be called an obsessive badie :)). These are blogs, and you both may be unknowingly lifing from someone else- a conversation, a lecture, etc (Greenspan’s Healing Through the Dark Emotions?). Burke’s presentation is somewhat more as a teacher, but both are part of the “personal journey” first-person narrative that consitiutes most of today’s spiritual dialogues, and as such (and as far as I can tell) are supported by nothing but opinion/lived experience, so I question the necessity of sourcing, even the Jung (though his authority is what makes it valuable, a value eroded for me reading it in context). Were either of you are academics (experts though you may be), or shareing innovative ideas, the second point would be stronger and I wouldn’t be wondering what collaborations you two will come up with next, as your blogs and ideas are so much the same, sourcing from the same miasma as they do.

            Where did you come upon the quote (which you quoted; citing would have included at least the name of the work from which it was lifted, ie. CG Jung, Psychological Aspects of the Mother Archetype, 1938)?

  • We’re all upset and hurt- I’ve answered as requested and there is no further answer, really. For us to hash out our feelings on a comment thread doesn’t feel right by any of us. I’m open to communication but not this way.

  • It’s unclear to me why the comment thread is an inappropriate place to “hash out” what is an inherently public issue, that of acknowledging sources.

    The tone of your comment on my blog takes a strikingly different tone than what you’ve written above:

    “Dear Anastasia I am so sorry for the anxiety or grief caused by my piece. I had no awareness of your piece until I was accused of plagiarizing it. I think we are exploring similar themes and I’m guessing the iyengar photo did come from here; I google searched and copied without visiting the hosting page.

    If you read the two pieces, there is clearly a shared reading background and ideas, but they are quite different explorations and expressions. Again my apologies; I am gut torn; I in no way intended to pitch your ideas as my own.

    Your own is wonderful.”

    And YogaDork does not comment here at all, but on my blog says:

    “hey there!
    just piping up to say thanks to Anastasia for the enlight(and dark)ening piece and also just to clear up any misunderstanding over the posting of the return yoga piece on YD. to be clear, it struck a chord and was simply republished in its entirety. we had no idea about this post prior to publishing. we believe it’s ultimately up to the authors to bring further clarity but we will stay on top of the situation and do what we can to help remedy.
    the ydorks”

    I’m not sure that a “thanks” is the appropriate response.

    While I’m open to further communication, it seems that as it stands, we’ve come to an impasse. And somehow private emails have a way of being forwarded around the interwebs, so in the end, it’s best if everything is just said openly, honestly, on the soapbox where it all began.

    All best,

    • YD

      Everyone’s comments about this are very welcome and valid. Thanks to all.

      For the record, the comment placed on returnyoga was to acknowledge that there was an issue because, besides being emailed to us, another commenter had mentioned the link, and also to say that we believe it is ultimately up to the authors to work it out together. We still do. There was no official comment from YD here as we believe it initially wasn’t our place to say who took what from whom and who didn’t. Giving the authors a chance to dialogue was the right thing to do.

      In our opinion, thanks is exactly the appropriate response.

      In the end, both pieces have reached many people in profound ways and we’re grateful for the efforts of both authors and the open dialogue that may occur from them.

      our comment on returnyoga:

      “hey there!
      just piping up to say thanks to Anastasia for the enlight(and dark)ening piece and also just to clear up any misunderstanding over the posting of the return yoga piece on YD. to be clear, it struck a chord and was simply republished in its entirety. we had no idea about this post prior to publishing. we believe it’s ultimately up to the authors to bring further clarity but we will stay on top of the situation and do what we can to help remedy.
      the ydorks”

  • I find it interesting that both of you are writing about how emotional movement is a natural part of yoga, yet when you find them arising, you are projecting your feelings on the other. Here is a suggestion. Lie down on your yoga mat in the corpse post. Recall the words that stimulated your “trigger mechanism.” Then scan your body for the physical sensation that will be present. There is always a physical sensation when you are having an emotional response. Now begin a stretching movement into the sensation as you continue to watch it. Simply watch it until it releases. Release frequently comes with awareness of what created the original trauma that may have been trying to find release for years. Now you can begin to feel gratitude, (release the judgement) for the person that provided the trigger that gave your body a chance to heal. After all, isn’t that the purpose of yoga? And the purpose of both your stories? Neither of you are victims. In fact I would say that you are powerful creators, drawing to yourselves such great healing opportunities in a public forum.

  • Elise

    Stealing is stealing.

  • Beautiful writing and right on the mark. Here is another one from Psychology Today that validates it; It is called “How I Found Ecstasy In Depression” and is about the same concepts – http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/bipolar-advantage/201207/how-i-found-ecstasy-in-depression

    • Wow. I had not read through the controversy before posting a link to my article. Upon further contemplation, I owe an apology to Anastasia for not crediting her as the inspiration for my work too. I was not careful enough in my writing to avoid any similarities, of which there are many.

      But wait – mine came before either article. Should I be outraged as so many seem to be? Or should I practice the essence of Yoga as described in the Bhagavad Gita instead of undermining whatever credibility I have by exhibiting what Yoga is not?

      “Be steadfast in yoga, devotee. Perform your duty without attachment, remaining equal to success or failure. Such equanimity of mind is called Yoga.” (Yogananda, Paramahansa, The Bhagavad Gita, translation, 2003 Self-Realization Fellowship, CA, 2:48)

  • Luisa

    Interesting posting, shunning yoga away of self-help path. Many oms,

  • To quote my friend and student Rachel,

    Attribution Is Badass.


  • Beautiful, powerful and true…. thank you.

  • Mandy

    It’s interesting to note that yoga is a type of psychological therapy at the same time as being physical therapy and the secrete to therapy is that it bloody sucks at times. I’ve been in psychological therapy for so many years I’ve lost count (abusive childhood leaves some deep scares) and most people don’t realise that in order to heal and become stronger you’ve got to drag up the demons and fears…I’ve left sessions crying and I’ve canceled appointments the day before because it’s just too hard that day. However if I didn’t drag up the demons and have that crying session I wouldn’t make the break thoughts that I have and I wouldn’t be as stable as I am now. I take this same attitude to my mat. It was the same experience in physical therapy, my muscles had started breaking down but due to the insane amount of pain it was actually easy to catch before too much damage was done. Now because I was avoiding moving they also started atrophy and the only way to fix that was to get up and walk a lap of the hospital floor. Again this hurt and there were times when I had a tantrum (I was roughly 16 at the time) over it but I did learn to walk again with little pain and I did build up muscle strength again. In some ways I’m lucky because I know to expect this in yoga and meditation but other people find it scary and avoid it and they’re missing out on a whole well of strength.

  • ross

    This is so true. As a beginner in yoga, my first 2 months are like the “honeymoon stage” wherein everything is new, exciting, challenging.. now as I am slowly learning the true essence of yoga, i face limitations of my own body, of re-learning what patience, focus and breathing is. Yoga has helped me to keep my sanity just when I need it. My yoga journey is more on personal aspect – to heal and self-regain, as I focus on my intention at the start of my practice and bowing down my head at the end as my sign gratitude. It is a love- hate-loving relationship and I would very much like to keep this relationship working and making it more stronger.

  • “Here is the thing. Yoga is not about bliss, but about honesty. ”

    Wow. Just wow.

  • Nora

    Thank you so much. This went to my heart.

  • Exactly what I needed to hear this day! Thank you so much for your insight. Thank you so much for being Light for me today!

  • Joanna Feldheim

    I was so taken by this that I havent been the same since. thank you for your bold
    honesty. You have brought to life exactly how I feel. Thank you.

  • Rajiv

    Karin, thank you for your depiction of the darkness we may experience in yoga. I have always attributed those feelings to something else, so to read it in this context is heartening. We are on this incredible journey. We need to note our experiences without judging our responses.

  • Honesty is all about TRUTH … esoteric truth will be found to be the unconditional love that we all seek, consciously or not.

    Such a TRUTH is about the WHOLE, the Trinity of (+=-) … the Basic Equation of TRUTH, the BET (+=-)

    Most people have been conditioned to think in terms of Duality (+/-) where they seek separation towards the very best (+) across the divisive void (/) where they try to destroy and/or escape from the worst (-) …

    It is the Spirit of INterconnectedness, the (=) in Trinity (+=-) that keeps the required connection which will result in the SYNERGY of creation when the “opposites” work together for Common Cause.

    Dualistic POLARization is the unnatural separation that devalues the “Other” and results in the Fear that produces Hate and ends in destruction …


    IMnsHO and Experience. 🙂

  • Paula

    Simply amazing in its honesty and truth. I am going to share this, with credit of course, with my yoga students. Thank you for writing it!

  • wonderful article, sharing it as link in email and google+ Thanks for your honesty and thoughtfulness!

  • mac

    Thank you. This is beautiful, and so very true.

  • Love this truth!

  • Michele

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart. After months and years of devastation and desolation, your essay resonated in me and reasured me in wasnt in vain.

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