Hollywood, CA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 04/09/2013 --The new book Atheist Yoga by Anton Drake, which was released late last month by Puragreen Productions, has been generating a lot of interest and intrigue among yoga practitioners in the United States. Although yoga as generally practiced in America is a secular activity that is largely concerned with physical fitness and mental relaxation, some the traditional principles that underlie its mind-body methodology are a bit murky from a Western perspective, and Atheist Yoga delves deeply into the essence of the art in-practice to explore some of its key components. The book also explicitly makes the case that atheism itself is strongly beneficial to the practice of yoga, and that by stripping away any vague or ambiguous mystical ideas about it and approaching meditation and the hatha yoga mind-body connection from a thoroughly materialistic perspective, modern practitioners can greatly increase their mental clarity, focus and body-awareness. I asked Mr. Drake to share a few thoughts about the book, and if he thought any of these ideas should be considered controversial.
[Q.] “Anton, how did this book come about?”
[A.] “Well, I’d practiced yoga for more than twenty years, and I’d also always been a very tenacious and energetic practitioner who approached the art with a lot of energy and effort—very goal oriented, you might say. Along the way, I had gradually evolved from being what often gets described as ‘spiritual but not religious,’ that is, having a very mystical view of myself and the universe while at the same time staying clear of all forms of organized religion, to becoming an outright atheist. As this transition occurred, I realized that this was actually a very significant process for me, that not only was my practice of yoga not impacted by this philosophical shift to atheism, but that I was actually clearing what I would’ve in the past considered to be ‘spiritual obstacles’ through atheism: I was becoming more mature, more reasonable, more communicative, more understanding, more compassionate and more empathetic through atheism, and developing a clearer and more realistic understanding of myself and of others, transcending if you will this kind of solipsistic mystical fantasy that had been dominating my consciousness uncontested. My mind was becoming clearer, and my practice of yoga was improving; whereas in the past I had struggled with myself during meditation to find solid internal ground amidst the plethora of deities and mystical concepts, in atheism I found that I could actually allow the rational, logical side of myself to really switch off and take a break, and that then I could actually experience the full flower of meditation.”
[Q.] “But, of course, many people view meditation in purely spiritual terms.”
[A.] “Yes, some people do, although I’m actually not sure what is meant by ‘spiritual,’ to be perfectly honest. However, from my perspective, as an atheist and a realist who takes the material reality of the universe for granted, my practice of yoga is centered in these ideas, and the book simply flows from that. Religious or spiritual belief is, properly considered, never a choice after all; you either believe something or you don’t, and where ‘belief’ requires effort or coercion, we might properly question its essential nature. Regardless, for myself atheism is completely effortless, all the time, and this ideal of effortless clarity and relaxed self-honesty is something that I’ve found to be very key to yoga in general, and actually allows one to go deeper—not just in reflective meditation, but also in tracking down tension and internal sticking points while working to perfect the practice of asana.”
The book Atheist Yoga by Anton Drake is currently on sale on Amazon.com in both paperback and electronic format, and was released March 24th, 2013. All media inquiries are welcome.