Why DSL Developed DSL Yoga …
underlying principle of nearly everything I do)
DSL Yoga …??? David Scott Lynn.
Yes, those are my initials. If nothing else, they’re easy to remember because of the hi-speed internet connection!
BUT, have I named a system of Yoga after … myself? … Isn’t that a bit … presumptuous? Maybe even arrogant?
Well, sort of, I guess. But I’m trying to make a point. (And lots of other people have systems named after them, too!)
I’ll get back to that “point” in a moment, but first, a more practical and early reason I developed my system of Yoga/Bodywork/Whole Health Therapeutics:
Helping People Get Out of Pain & Dysfunction
(after they’d been given up on by many others)
Back in my early teens, I raced motocross and 4-hour marathons (dirt bikes in often rough, very hilly, sometimes treacherous terrain). Not being very competitive, at least against other people, I crashed a lot, too. (I would rather get run off the track than cut someone off and have THEM crash. That was my early Buddhist non-violence, I guess. — I got into Buddhist meditation at 14 years old. — Of course, I was doing violence to myself on the racetrack, but … well, I didn’t think about that much because it was so much FUN!) Anyway, I received quite a few injuries as a result. Only one partially cracked collar-bone, but MANY neuromuscular and myofascial injuries. I didn’t call them that back then, but that’s what they were.
I was also, in my later teens and early twenties, a structural steel ironworker. That’s one of the heaviest of the construction trades, and among the most dangerous, too. But I was way too gung-ho and pushed myself really hard much of the time. As a result, I had a lot of neuromuscular & myofascial injuries there, too.
I Had Worse Pain Than Most Of My Clients Ever Had!
yet I was able to learn from it … a LOT!
An YOU Can Benefit
So years later, while I had temporarily mitigated pain with a relatively basic yoga practice, little did I know, some of those older injuries had laid dormant in the background for several years. Then, in 1982, I had a major resurgence of those injuries. And it was REALLY painful and often debilitating. There is a lot more to the story, which you can read more about on my DSL Yoga History & Biography web-page, but suffice it to say I was in SEVERE, throw me on the floor pain much of the time, and it just hurt A LOT the rest of the time. There were many days I could do little more than lie on the floor and roll back and forth trying to relieve the pain.
Ironically, though I had already at this time done a LOT of yoga in my life, and was already a bodyworker, every time I did yoga I got WORSE. A lot worse. Which of course mystified me. So I stopped doing yoga and started looking for someone with another technique who could help me. I never found one. I really got fed up with The Search when people started telling me I needed to “strengthen” my muscles. I was one of the strongest people I or any of them knew, so I knew it was NOT about “muscle weakness.”
Combining Structural Analysis with Physical/Mental Yoga
Fortunately, through my Structural Bodywork studies with Daniel Blake, I had accumulated enough knowledge and experience that when I first saw a full body X-ray of myself, I knew exactly what I had been doing wrong in my yoga practice. I designed a custom yoga routine, based mostly on the principles I learned from Joel Kramer. I started doing about 3 hours per day, 5 or 6 days per week, along that design.
Sometime during the fourth month, I had my first pain free day! It took many more months of the same internal, “yoga-based bodywork” before I was pain free most of the time. It was years before I did not have to do an hour or so a day just to stay vertical. Now, I can get away with only ten or twenty minutes a day, and even miss a day now and then.
Yet even ten years ago, when I was living in Sedona, a couple of chiropractors X-rayed me. They found a LOT of structural degeneration. They also told me they were amazed I could even walk let along not be in pain all the time. … Again, you can read more about all that on the Bio/History page.
THE POINT, though, is once I got better, and because I was already in the healing arts, I determined that I would teach my newly developed system to as many other people as I could. Because I knew, while it might only be a small percentage of people, there were at least many thousands of sufferers who had issues of similar nature to mine, and I could help them. And more than a few of my Clients had been to many places, a few of them all over the world, looking for relief. But they did not find relief till they found me.
That’s when I began developing the DSL Yoga & Bodywork System with real intentionality. And I started on the path toward developing & teaching my system in earnest. .. It became the first part of my Main Mission in Life.
And, as it developed, everywhere I went, people said no one did what I did, and that it was an unique system. … So why NOT name it something unique to ME?
Why My Life Is Devoted to This “Yoga” Thing
(but not exactly the Eastern version from India)
It might be helpful at first, to have a definition of what yoga “is” …
Yoga is, among many other things, The Quality of Attention
one pays to whatever they are doing.
Joel Kramer, if you’ve not read many of my other pages yet, was referred to by Yoga Journal as the Father of American Yoga, and the First American Yoga Master. So you might say he knows something about it. But notice, many definitions of yoga say it is a system of merging humankind with a deeper spiritual presence, or a cosmic force, or God, or whatever. In many yoga systems, yoga is an overtly religious practice (despite the denials of many).
Yet Joel’s definition does not include that element at all. He and his Life Partner, Diana Alstad, teach a form of spirituality, yet it is non-mystical or non-supernatural. In fact, if you consult a comprehensive lexicon of the Sanskrit language, many, if not most, of the meanings of the word “yoga” have NO spiritual or religious implications AT ALL. In further fact, some of those meanings (contrary to many who claim it’s anti-yogic to have a commercial interest in yoga) refer specifically to business and commercial enterprise!
It is important to note that Joel and Diana, while respecting some or many of the insights from The East, do not teach “an Eastern form” of yoga. While they acknowledge their approach as a synthesis of East & West, you’ll find none of the religious or cultural influences — nor the overt authoritarianism — as is present in much of Yoga from India and the East. Joel & Diana are pretty hard-core anti-authoritarians.
I had already been developing a strong anti-authoritarian streak myself from an early age, so upon coming into contact with Joel’s work, initially in 1973 when I was 19, it was a pretty good match from the beginning. So another reason I’ve devoted my life to this kind of work is …
Countering (what I call) the Authoridigm
That’s a term I coined, putting together authoritarian plus paradigm. And yes, we have, in our personal relationships, in our country, and most of if not all of the world, an overarching Paradigm of Authoritarianism in politics, economics, religion, spirituality, and society in general. Joel has said (approximately):
Fish are probably not aware of water, for it is all that they know. …
Authoritarianism is the water in which we humans swim.
And while I had already been on that path before studying with them, they reinforced my youthful ideas that Real Yoga — whatever that might be — did not require mysticism, magical thinking, Hindu or Indian rituals (or any other organized or ordained rituals), or religious elements.
And it was unnecessary to use the Sanskrit language, either. There are plenty of concepts and words in English to get the points of physical/mental & relational yoga across.
Joel also taught that yoga was more about opening up to one’s own, internal creativity and innovative Self, rather than following some pre-ordained path. He taught along Krishnamurti’s idea that Truth is a Pathless Land.
I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or to coerce people along any particular path.
From a speech given August 3, 1929, the opening day of
the annual Order of the Star Camp at Ommen, Holland
Yet even in hatha yoga, among various physical posture systems, there is a strong tendency for some people to want to “organize” the postures into specific forms, series, routines or, yes, paths. And yes, some of them present their particular Postural Path as The Truth, handed down from “The True Yoga,” from some revered sage in the ancient, distant past, usually in a land far, far away.
In some systems, Students are often coerced — physically or verbally, sometimes subtly, sometimes overtly — to get into such organized postural flows. They are “posture driven.” We are even told, by some, that failure to adhere to such “postural paths” (proper alignments) can be detrimental to our physical health and even spiritual well-being.
Teaching & Practicing Yoga As A Way to
FREE One’s Self From The Authoridigm
— be it internally or externally imposed —
Yet Joel Kramer taught that the hatha yoga process — which intimately integrates jnana (the mental) yoga into the physical practices — was at its best as a very individually creative, somewhat free-flowing exploration of our unique self, and a way to release the creative processes within. While respecting tradition, he claimed it was something to learn from, but not “a vice to squeeze the present into.”
Yes, it helps to know some basics. And a competent teacher might help a lot. But many “certified” — and even a few “world famous” — yoga teachers are causing a lot of harm in their Students too. So … that’s why I provide guidelines in these webpages and my e-books to help keep you out of trouble, while maximizing results. Or get you out of trouble if you’ve already been injured.
Hatha Yoga, then, in Joel’s approach, is not “posture driven.” The aim is not to put, pull or push the body into a specific “form” or “proper alignment” or “positioning.” Yoga, done creatively and awarely, allowing energy & consciousness to flow spontaneously through our bodymind system, is a more extemporaneous, free-flowing practice. We trust our bodymind to take it where it needs to go. As in Truth is a Pathless Land (a la Krishnamurti in mental yoga and social discourse) then in this approach …
Hatha/Jnana Yoga Postures are a Pathless Process.
~David Scott Lynn
Yes, postures are, by definition, somewhat structured. But there are no hard and fast rules that your body should go this way or that way. There is far more to it than that, especially if you have injuries or therapeutic challenges. But back to the anti-authoritarian theme for a minute …
Joel and Diana were and remain quite anti-authoritarian, even co-writing a very well received book called The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power. In it, they examine many of the very well known and popular spiritual and personal growth systems, from Buddhism to A Course In Miracles to 12 Step Programs, and delve into the often hidden authoritarian elements.
The point I’m making is, EVERY practice of yoga, done by EVERY particular person, is a Unique, Ever-Changing Form of Yoga, in and of itself. And my form today might be very different than tomorrow’s, just as it is very different than yours is, today, tomorrow, or next year.
~David Scott Lynn
“Yoga,” done this way, is by definition, unique to each individual, at that moment, at that place in time. Unique to what that person is going through or experiencing in their Life, Mind & Body, on that particular hour, day, week and year, or location on Earth. They have unique circumstances affecting their muscle tension, how they feel, how tired or energetic they are, happy or sad, and so on. And each day, each physical yoga posture is done with just a little variation, however slight or even imperceptible, it might be. It is always different.
Anyway, there is another interpretation or explanation to naming DSL such …
The Dynamics of bio-Structural Learning
About 15 years ago, I wrote a small, 44 page book titled What Is DSL?
Here is what “DSL” stands for: The Dynamics of bio-Structural Learning:
- D = Dynamics: The moving Physical and Moral Forces causing a body to move in space & time.
- S = Structural: Structure refers to Patterns and Relationships of entities
- L = Learning: A way of Internal learning
HERE ARE MORE COMPLETE DEFINITIONS:
Dynamic: The above is an older definition I found in the 1911 Cyclopedic Dictionary including the philosophical meaning — i.e., moral forces — as well as materialist — physical forces — causing a body to move and act in space and time. (In earlier centuries, physics, biology & religion, and such were all considered within the same overall discipline. They were attempting to discover and understand the Mind of God. This is one of the things inspiring Isaac Newton to discover Newtonian Physics. Newton was anything but “anti-science.”
There was far less differentiation or specialization among disciplines, including religious studies. Separating them as they did in the late 19th and 20th Century was probably very good in the sense that specialization led to vast improvements and expansion in specific areas of knowledge. Yet something of the spiritual basis of all studies got lost in the process. Even religion loses at least some part of its soul if it attempts to deny science, because doing so must be denying much of what “God” ordained.
Structure: is a fundamental, tangible or intangible notion referring to the recognition, observation, nature, and permanence of patterns and relationships of entities.
Later, I added BIO as a preface to Structural. I did this to differentiate the purely material and bone-based interpretation of the word “structural” in “modern” medicine.
BIO stands for:
- B = Bioenergetic: the study of the transformation of energy in living organisms
- I = Integral: having or containing all essential parts necessary to be whole or complete
- O = Optimum: the most favorable conditions or level for growth, reproduction, or success
A Note On The Evolution of Alternative Structural Therapies
So-called “modern medicine” tends to think of “structural” as bones, joints, discs, cartilage, and maybe ligaments. They do not usually include the soft tissues — the muscles and fascia — in their thinking when they consider “structure.” It was modern “alternative” bodywork therapies such as Rolfing®, yet probably beginning with 19th Century Osteopathy, that included the myofascial system as part of the “structure.”
But bones have no action generating components, such as a neuromuscular unit that, driven by the brain and central nervous system, can actually produce movement and musculo-fascial pressures. In chronic problems, it is the excess tensions & stresses developed in these soft tissues that put too much pressure and distorting forces on the bones.
This narrow thinking is part of “modern” orthopedics, sports medicine, and some chiropractic, that often misses the fact that the soft tissues are the real cause of much pain and dysfunction. They are looking in the bones and joints. But very often, the true source of the problems is not really there, even if there is tremendous degeneration in the bony tissues. That degeneration is, in many cases, the result, the symptom, of excess pressures and stresses caused by the excessive actions, contractions and imbalances of the psycho-neuro-musculo-fascial system.
It became a part of my Mission in Life to help bring more knowledge like the above into a more widely known status.
Learning: From Wikipedia … “Learning is acquiring new, or modifying existing, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences and may involve synthesizing different types of information. The ability to learn is possessed by humans, animals and some machines. Progress over time tends to follow learning curves. Learning is not compulsory; it is contextual. It does not happen all at once, but builds upon and is shaped by what we already know. To that end, learning may be viewed as a process, rather than a collection of factual and procedural knowledge. Learning is based on experience. Learning produces changes in the organism and the changes produced are relatively permanent.”
Some also say that education, another word for learning, means to lead out.
Bringing out that which is already in your form implies a more organic, internal form of learning, rather than just trying to “put information into the mind.”
Wikipedia Again: Education in its general sense is a form of learning in which knowledge, skills, and habits of a group of people are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching, training, research, or simply through autodidacticism. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts.
(Please See Time-Binding, below.)
Looked at this way, Yoga is far more than a “system of movements,” even if intended to be done with a higher level of awareness, consciousness or attention. Yes, that extra added element over and above simply physically stretching the materials of muscle & fascia and moving the bones is what makes yoga “yoga” rather than just Regular Old Stretching.
As we stretch, certain things begin to happen.
Yoga then, for me (DSL), is indeed a System of Learning
And because of that, one of the reasons I got into teaching yoga is I felt and thought yoga was way to enhance, widen and deepen the ability and enthusiasm a human being would have for the learning process. And, it would happy to any field of learning, because it was not focused on the content to be studied, but focused on the internal structure and function of the system of being doing the learning.
But WAIT! … There’s MORE!
Now, let’s take it a little deeper
Fernando Flores, Maturana & Varela, Alfred Korzybski
[TO BE CONTINUED]