Lessons from the Sweat Lodge Tragedy

By now most of us have heard about the tragic Spiritual Warrior retreat and sweat lodge in Arizona that resulted in three deaths and dozens more hospitalizations. The retreat, led by James Author Ray, was meant to facilitate the "spiritual...
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By now most of us have heard about the tragic Spiritual Warrior retreat and sweat lodge in Arizona that resulted in three deaths and dozens more hospitalizations. The retreat, led by James Author Ray, was meant to facilitate the "spiritual...

By now most of us have heard about the tragic Spiritual Warrior retreat and sweat lodge in Arizona that resulted in three deaths and dozens more hospitalizations. The retreat, led by James Author Ray, was meant to facilitate the "spiritual cleansing" of the 60 participants. It seems the participants pushed themselves too far in an attempt to reach their spiritual goals.

It's something we can all relate to as yoga students. Bay Area yoga teacher Katchie Ananda wrote a column in the San Francisco Chronicle yesterday that I think draws an important parallel.

"As a spiritual seeker, I'm very aware of the "edge," the place where we
push ourselves past our comfort zone, to let go of old patterns and
explore a bigger potential. In a culture that is focused on comfort,
that's often an important exercise," writes Ananda. "But how far should we push
ourselves or encourage our students to push?"

Have you ever pushed yourself too far in yoga class--physically, mentally, or spiritually? And how can you tell that it's time to back off?