Shamanism and Yoga


When I was looking at this years line up for Barcelona Yoga Conference I noticed that Danny Paradise will be teaching Shamanic Ashtanga. I never tried this kind of practice and I decided to do a bit of more research about this type of Ashtanga experiment. I did practice Ashtanga, and I have to admit that it can become very ‘trance like experience’. Especially if you get into the 5 rhythm breath and wake up every morning at 5:30 to do your practice. After just 3 constant months you are in a different space. With 35 years experience as a yogi, American Danny Paradise which is also a gifted musician, philosopher, political commentator and practicing shaman claims: “yoga is shamanism,” because “both are about healing and awakening the body.” According to Danny:

 “Yoga arose out of man’s perception of nature and is a journey back to nature. As an ancient Shamanic practice, Yoga is about creating personal empowerment, personal authority and total freedom with an understanding that Nature is our Spiritual Teacher and Guide…”

Danny links yoga and shamanism especially because of the underlying spiritual lineage of both, calling shamanism “the root of all religions,” and describing yoga as a way to “allow clarity to increase, and to step outside the regular order of things.” Many of us in the West start practicing yoga strictly as an alternative physical fitness exercise. Danny Paradise reminds us that doing yoga is not just about getting in shape or even closing our eyes and meditating—there’s something special about synching both. The ancients likely realized this. By emphasizing shamanic awareness through yoga, I believe Danny Paradise mission is signaling to us that making contact with our bodies in a mindful way creates a potent opening to energy, power, and information. 

We often tell ourselves stories to just believe what we are most comfortable believing and any information that conflicts with this is simply deleted or ignored. This isn’t good enough, especially for the the enlightened way of thinking the planet requires now—yoga is the technology of understanding the human organism. Shamans (including ancient yogis) have sought to penetrate, transform and understand their consciousness, probably since long before recorded history. One of the main tools for the transformation of consciousness is shifting perception; this is how shamans learn the details of the organic machine they inhabit.

The true shamans/yogis/gnostics/mystics/sufis stretch the limits of their outward perception in every possible way as part of their (ritualized or not) external process. Their internal process constitutes learning everything about their instrument.Shamans recognise that other beings (and even things) have different consciousness; therefore they study how to communicate as deeply as possible with other parts of creation by dissolving their sense of identity into other people, plants, animals, rocks, starscapes, etc.

Yoga supports an expanded state of mind, which, in my view, and perhaps Danny’s too, can be the gateway to a deeper and more fulfilling co-existence with our inner and outer worlds.

Yoga equals samadhi; shamanism equals fusion—all of it means ego dissolution.

See you at the mat in Danny’s class ! 

Danny Paradise


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