What Yoga Can Do For Casey Anthony

July 18, 2011

Now that she’s out of jail, what will Casey Anthony do? Apparently, her parents have not welcomed her back into their home, and she’s not particularly well-liked in her home state of Florida. She’s got little hope of finding a job or getting into college because, well, is it even necessary to explain why that would be? Appealing her four-count conviction of lying to the police can keep her busy for only so long, especially considering that her defense attorneys opened with an admission that Casey had been lying to law enforcement from day one of the investigation into the disappearance of her daughter, Caylee Marie Anthony.

Talking to the media can’t be particularly time consuming, especially when she will not be able to tell her “real story” of how Caylee drowned because that would involve an implicit admission that she had lied to law enforcement officers whom she led on a wild goose chase in search of a child whom she knew was already dead and disposed of in a swamp.

Casey may be able to go back to a life of “partying”, although it is unlikely that she will have much success in finding more than a handful (at best) of people who are willing to be friends with her. And she could go to Ireland seeking that adoption she spoke of, but that won’t likely occupy her for long, since it is unlikely that any individual on this planet would willingly put a baby in Casey Anthony’s hands.

So, what should Casey do?

Well, the answer seems obvious: Casey should devote her life to studying yoga. And by “studying yoga”, I do not mean procuring a membership at Pure Yoga or Jivamukti or taking random Vinyasa classes for the purpose of shaping a “hot body”-worthy yoga butt. No. What I mean by “studying yoga” is going to India, or really anywhere in Asia, finding a teacher who has followed the yogic path of nonjudgement and nonattachment and prostrating herself to that teacher, surrendering herself to everything that teacher has to offer.

It is possible that Casey will not be so easily recognized in an Asian country, particularly one which is heavily populated and heavily visited by Caucasian tourists. More importantly, albeit theoretically, a yoga teacher who has truly walked the path toward enlightenment will not judge Casey for what she has done in her past. That teacher will accept Casey for who she is RIGHT NOW, at this very moment, the bad parts and whatever good parts there are.

That teacher (again, theoretically) would set Casey upon the “Eight Limbed Path” to yoga, teaching her the “Yamas” and the “Niyamas” (the things we should and should not do in our human life), the “Asanas” (what everyone comes to think of as “yoga” – the physical practice), “Pranayama” (breathing exercises which help control the mind), “Pratayahara”, “Dharana” and “Dhyana” (practices aimed toward concentration), and finally “Samadhi” (the ultimate union with the divine within oneself).

From my own experience as a yogi, I believe that the Asanas would likely be the first thing Casey would learn. But in the course of learning to do the physical yoga poses, Casey would also be taught aspects of the other limbs. In fact, Asana practice is rich with metaphors that help teach a yoga student to understanding the Yamas, which include “Ahimsa” (the practice of not doing harm to any living being), “Satya” (the practice of committing to being truthful) and “Asteya” (the practice of not stealing, whether material things or time and other non-material resources).

For example, if Casey found it painful to stand on her head, the teacher might instruct Casey to treat her body with “Ahimsa” and not push herself to the point of pain. If Casey fell on the teacher while attempting to stand in Tree Pose, the teacher might point out to Casey that it is best not to harm others or to put oneself in a situation where harm of others might be possible. Satyah, or truthfulness, comes through the practice at times that we try to fool ourselves into thinking we can do what we cannot do, or vice versa. Casey might benefit from seeing Satya in action. And Casey could certainly benefit from learning to not waste her teacher’s time and energy by going out drinking the night before and arriving at class with a raging hangover. This is a teaching that comes square within the practice of Asteya.

The other Yamas are “Brahmacharya” (abstinence, or at least abstinence in the absence of a healthy relationship) and “Aparigraha” (non-greediness, such as not seeking to make millions of dollars out of your daughter’s death that you may have caused or covered up). Clearly, Casey could benefit from immersion in these teachings.

Or at least theoretically. If Casey Anthony were to go to Asia to practice yoga in earnest. If only.