The Yoga of Curious George

By Leah Kinney, February, 2014

I have a four-year-old son, so I read a lot of Curious George. Nearly every book begins with the lines, “This is George. George was a good little monkey and always very curious.” As you all know, this curiosity leads George on many exciting adventures. It’s a shame that we non-monkeys eschew the more curious aspects of our minds in favor of concrete knowledge. It’s a shame because declarative knowing dulls our experience of the world and ourselves. And yet, we so often grasp for, and then concretize around, an idea, instead of suspending our minds in the ripeness of not-knowing for sure. Colleen taught a beautiful class last week. We slithered in and out of familiar shapes, tasting the poses but never indulging fully enough to find our habitual experience. It reminded me of something Richard Freeman wrote in his book Mirror of Yoga; he said that through our yoga practice “we discover that the human body is far more than any of the theories about it. Through our own body, we learn to understand the universe.” I believe that in order to practice in a manner befitting such potential, we must have our own adventures. However, in most Curious George stories, there is a moment where George’s unbridled curiosity creates so much chaos that order must be restored. Here we learn that, even for monkeys, the vastness of wonderment can be as overwhelming as it is intoxicating. Sincere inquiry requires the diligence of steady attention, the openness of awareness, and the capacity to really listen. Dona Holleman writes, in her book Centered Yoga, “A mind that is dogmatic is a stiff and unforgiving mind. This mind can never know freedom…. Only a supple mind can be genuinely silent.”

Leah Kinney

Born and raised in Montauk, Leah has a deep appreciation and love for the East End of Long Island. A regular teacher at Yoga Shanti Sag Harbor—and a mentor in the Yoga Shanti Teacher Training program, Leah is so pleased to be sharing and participating in the practice of yoga within this community.

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