Note: I will be splitting up my essay on bitcoin and yoga into seven parts. I hope you enjoy part one! I invite you to subscribe to receive future writings to your inbox.
Part I: Bitcoin and Yoga Shared Values
Part II: Mythical/Mystical Origins
Part III: Evolution of Money and Yoga
Part IV: Ashtanga Yoga - The Eight Limbs of Yoga (limbs 1-2)
Part V: Ashtanga Yoga - The Eight Limbs of Yoga (limbs 3-8)
Part VI: Bitcoin is Dharma
Part VII: Himalayan Kriya Yoga
With each passing day, month, and year, it feels as though our human civilization is becoming more dysfunctional, untethered, and unsustainable. Individuals are working harder, longer hours, yet most remain stuck in place, goals farther from reach. We live in a world where many have outsourced the most critical task that has enabled humans to prosper – critical thinking. I challenge each one of you to remove preconceived notions you might have about Bitcoin or Yoga before reading this series. I invite you to enter with an open mind. Think for yourself – you are welcome to agree or disagree with the information and arguments I put forth.
I also encourage you to go beyond thinking – feel. Use your intuition to understand if the way you’re living your day-to-day life feels good to you, or if you have sense, an inner knowing that something is off with our society today – that there can be a better way. If you open your heart and mind to receiving new information, there is potential to motivate yourself to change your thoughts and behaviors for more aligned action towards individual sovereignty. Every individual can choose freedom and independence. Yet it has become increasingly difficult to live a life of freedom due to the fiat system of inflation and the many distractions that keep us from going inward. After deep study and reflection, I believe bitcoin and yoga both provide the individual control over their own life journey, and frameworks to understand our connection to self and others.
I'm excited to share what I have found in my own personal experience, and hope to spark curiosity within you to follow your passion. This writing is intended for anyone seeking tools to lead a life of freedom, make positive changes and deepen your understanding of self. In addition, it is written for yogis who want to learn about bitcoin, bitcoiners who want to learn more about yoga, and anyone who is interested in a fundamental understanding of these topics that I believe contain the potential to transform your life.
Part I: Bitcoin and Yoga Shared Values
Bitcoin and yoga share many fundamental values with one another and provide deep wisdom on guiding individuals towards living better and more meaningful lives. Ultimately bitcoin and yoga share the goal of individual liberation, freedom from suffering, and a deep inner, lasting peace in Being. In yoga, this state is called moksha or samadhi. I believe everyone has a true essence, an inner being that knows what is best. However, our external environment and our own conscious mind push us away from this serenity, leading to regrets about the past or anxieties about the future. This perspective of linear time and our own individual stories and identity damage our ability to stay present in the Now, leading to endless distractions. In similar ways, bitcoin and yoga provide us insight for an individual’s path to inner peace, as well as for humanity’s path to collective peace and prosperity.
At the most elemental level, energy is the force underlying both bitcoin and yoga. Energy is the universal currency of life. We would not exist without energy. We require physical energy to fuel our cells and bodies to perform essential tasks like breathing, circulation, digestion, and movement. We perceive many forms of energy such as light or sound waves, yet there are many energy wavelengths we are not able to or are not trained to perceive.
Bitcoin is powered by physical energy in the real world in a process that secures the network and unlocks new bitcoin for distribution, a process commonly referred to as mining. Interestingly, 100 years ago, Henry Ford pushed for an energy-linked currency measured in kilowatt hours that could bring peace after a brutal World War, as seen in the New York Tribune headline and article December 4, 1921: ‘Ford Would Replace Gold with Energy Currency and Stop Wars’.[i] It took another century, but mankind has finally developed a digitally-native currency tied to the physical world through energy expenditure – bitcoin.
Yoga is similarly rooted in energy that individuals tap into through breathwork, physical movement and meditations practices. This life-force energy is known in Sanskrit as prana. Prana is not bound by time or space, and it flows through individuals in over 72,000 nadis, or channels. There are three main nadis - the first is ida, our left side body which corresponds to the feminine, receiving energy, or the moon. On the right side is pingala, relating to our masculine, giving energy, or the sun. The central nadi runs through our shushumna, linking our seven main energetic centers, known as chakras. These chakras run from the base of the tail bone, up through the spine and the top of the head. Each chakra has a name, a color and key characteristics that can often become blocked through negative emotion, trauma or stress in the body. Different yogic practices target these energy centers to unlock what is stuck and enable energy to more freely flow through us in an open exchange with the earth and out the universe. This energy is ever-present; one need only to tap into this energy, feel it and utilize it for the strengthening of one’s inner being that then radiates outwards on others in your life. The energetic experience and upward surge can also be referred to as kundalini energy, a creative power of divine feminine energy that originates in the muladara chakra at the base of the spine.
Proof of Work
In both Bitcoin and Yoga, "proof of work" is required to operate, practice and move forwards. In the Bitcoin network as described in the original white paper, miners contribute tangible energy towards running a hashing algorithm on a computer – SHA256 – to earn the right to add the next block to the blockchain and collect both the coinbase and transaction fee reward.[ii] The work is difficult to produce but easy to validate by others. Miners are collecting all of the valid peer-to-peer transactions being propagated to the network and establishing them as truth into the distributed ledger. The rules in bitcoin’s code incentivize honest behavior from miners through unforgeable costliness – if a miner were to lie about any of the transactions it includes in a block, independent nodes in the network would reject the block, and the miner would have lost all the real resources it expended to solve the proof of work calculation.
In yoga, dedicated work is needed to learn the asanas, postures, and practice for oneself; you won’t just be able to go upside down or flow through sun salutations without first learning proper alignment and breathing techniques. An individual needs to conscious decision to work on a daily yoga practice that requires energy to flow. There are several ways to work on your yoga practice beyond physical movement; these include bhakti yoga (devotion/prayer), jnana yoga (study/wisdom), karma yoga(selfless action) and raja yoga (ashtanga). Raja yoga includes ashtanga, the eight limbs or paths of yoga that Patanjali detailed ~2000 years ago that we will explore in more depth in part IV. These ancient margas (paths) and subsequent development of these ancient teachings provides individual with ample opportunity to dedicate and work towards individual enlightenment.
Next, there are no external barriers preventing an individual from participating in Bitcoin or yoga. Bitcoin does not discriminate and can be accessed by anyone around the world. Yoga provides a way of life full of mindfulness and appreciation. The only barriers are internal blockages, or unwillingness to ask questions, learn and take responsibility for oneself and state of being. Therefore, Bitcoin and yoga can both be defined as decentralized. There are no centralized gatekeepers preventing one from accessing the Bitcoin network or using bitcoin as money; anyone can spin up a node, download a wallet or mine bitcoin. There are over 16,000 nodes geographically distributed around the world voluntarily running the bitcoin core software code establishing the payment network, validating transactions and storing the entire transaction history of bitcoin.[iii] It costs as little as a few hundred dollars and requires less than 600 gigabytes of storage to run a node – in 2023 you can find mobile phones with that much storage. No one can prevent you from sending a peer-to-peer transaction or storing your own wealth with 12 words in your head – you need only decide to take true freedom into your own hands and learn how to do so.[iv] The common maxim is “don’t trust, verify”. You don’t need someone else’s permission to participate in bitcoin or trust anyone else (eg, banks) to hold your wealth.
Similarly, no one can stop an individual from practicing yoga, learning yogic philosophy or connecting with one’s truest self and inner guru. Anyone can choose to follow the path of yoga, focus on ones breath or develop a strong asana practice. There are many different ways to learn and interact with yoga, with experienced teachers willing to share their lessons to students all over the world. One need to simply find yoga studio, enroll in a teacher training or and engage with a teacher to experience yoga for themselves. Yoga looks and feels different depending on what country you are in or in which lineage you are being taught. Tapping into these profound lessons, as fundamental as controlling ones own breath, requires only an individual desire and the conscious decision to act. There’s no CEO or central authority dictating how Bitcoin or yoga has to be. Individuals have the freedom to express themselves voluntarily guided by frameworks we will dive into deeper.
Low Time Preference
Another core value that bitcoin and yoga share is low time preference. In Austrian economics, time preference refers to individual decision making. An individual with a low time preference makes decisions with greater consideration of the future, quieting immediate cravings and desires to pursue a higher goal.[v] In bitcoin and money, lower time preference decisions include putting off consumption to save value for the future. Unfortunately, our fiat (by government decree) system induces individuals to make high time preference decisions, heightening consumerism and poor habits today that we see rampant in our society. There is a disincentive to save, as inflation of the money supply leads to debasing value of the dollar and other fiat currencies, decreasing individuals purchasing power of cash they hold onto and don’t spend soon. For example, the purchasing power of your dollar today will be cut in half over the next decade at current levels of inflation. In many ways, bitcoin is time, described brilliantly by Gigi, as it creates a decentralized clock that establishes consensus with each block.[vi]
In contrast, the hard cap supply of 21 million bitcoin enables individuals to save with the knowledge that governments and central banks will not be able to debase their hard-earned value. This allows for one to plan with greater certainty, making investments that have a longer payoff period rather than chasing quick, material gains. Likewise in yoga, developing your own practice will not bear fruit right away; it takes discipline and time to continuously improve and strive towards a better future self. For example, in modern Ashtanga yoga taught by Pattabhi Jois, there is a set sequence of asanas that one studies and repeats each practice. It may even take months to have find the right alignment of body and breath for a single pose! The hours-long sequence requires dedication to practice and learn. The dedicated yogi understands that wholehearted commitment today will pay off for one’s mental, physical and spiritual health in the years to come. The ability to develop a calm mind can also be beneficial when people don’t initially understand or are intimidated by bitcoin. This approach can also enable you to stay grounded and discover the signal through the noise when learning about bitcoin.
Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj”, which means ‘to join’ or ‘to unite’. Yoga represents the union of the mind, body, and soul of an individual. Yoga provides a pathway to individual sovereignty through disciplined practice and purpose. Yoga unites an individual internally and to one’s community, fostering connectedness and support.[vii] Similarly, bitcoin provides a pathway to individual sovereignty in many ways. Bitcoin empowers the individual authority with property rights over one’s value, which in turn frees individuals from outside control (government or otherwise). Bitcoin’s technology enables one to hold their own wealth and life’s energy in a self-custodial fashion. Bitcoin is money that can be stored forever and transmitted through space at the speed of light on layer two via the Lightning Network.
Bitcoin is an open economic network with the potential to unite eight billion people together in a way our current unfair and fragmented financial system could never do. In many countries, a majority of people are unbanked, while intermediaries take a cut of the value to transfer slow, legacy payments like Western Union. While tens of millions people around the world have so far interacted with bitcoin – we are still early – similar to the internet of the mid-nineties. Bitcoin eliminates counter party risk associated with non-bearer assets, such as fiat currency (e.g., dollars, euros, yen). Bitcoin’s supply schedule is set and eliminates inflation time theft that fiat currency wages on individuals, which leads to anxiety and depression or feelings of hopelessness. Fiat is money enforced by the monopoly on violence that modern nation states grip tightly.
In contrast, bitcoin and yoga empower the individual to remove the shackles and embrace personal responsibility to improve ones life. Bitcoin and yoga also connect people directly to each other and tap into truth, ones inner being, bringing peace in the present and ultimately offer hope for a better future for each person, your community, and the world. Bitcoin and yoga have the power to unite humanity in love.
In the next section, we will explore both yoga and bitcoin's mystical and mythical origins.
Note: Bitcoin with a capital "B" generally refers to the protocol/network; bitcoin with a lower case "b" refers to the money/currency.
[i] Redman, Jamie, How Henry Ford Envisaged Bitcoin 100 Years Ago — A Unique 'Energy Currency' That Could 'Stop Wars', News.Bitcoin.Com, October 11, 2021 <https://news.bitcoin.com/how-henry-ford-envisaged-bitcoin-100-years-ago-a-unique-energy-currency-that-could-stop-wars/>
[iv] Hall, Stephen, What is a bitcoin seed phrase and how does it work? Unchained.com. December 17, 2021 <https://unchained.com/blog/what-is-a-bitcoin-seed-phrase/>
[v] Ammous, Saifedean, Making Time Preference Low Again, The Bitcoin Times, Austrian Edition (V). November 8, 2022 <https://bitcointimes.io/making-time-preference-low-again/>