Monday, December 6, 2010

Some nuts on bolts to consider when practising asana

Assuming you have a warm, quiet room where you won’t be disturbed. Also you have an empty stomach and you’re of ppotential distractions.
Down to practice. As you get older it's good to warm up slowly, especially so if you live in a northern climate. If you get the body really warm without overdoing it you’ll find the breath and body coordinates and opens up revealing what you need, what could be challenged physically if that’s your bag and what/ how to play with what there is today.

Depends what it is. Look at what is going on in your life. Take a step back. Slow down. Watch. Pick up the practice slowly and listen to your body, watch your inner dialogue. Respect and have compassion

NOTICING ATTENTION LAPSES....watching, witnessing, giving space to allowing thoughts, feelings and any manner of body/mind stuff to express itself. Order and magnitude varies greatly.

THE KLESHAS or afflictions we humans acquire

 If we are to block or negate the fluctuations of mind then it is only in order to experience the Self as consciousness in essence. In order to do this we must discover what is Avidya, often translated from Sanskrit as meaning Ignorance or misidentification of the Self with the Body/ Mind.

Through the practice of Yoga we work inwards, peeling away layer upon layer of that which is known as the Kleshas or tendencies towards pain. Basically we come into this world with stuff, Karma and we collect more of it and that gets in the way and though it’s all our responsibility it’s a tad tricky to get hold of owing to the fact that it’s controlling us at a level of consciousness that by its very nature we do not know- the subconscious. With Yoga subconscious transmutes, by meditation, tapas , mantra , kriya, Yantra. Patanjali offers us a number of methods depending on where we’re at in this current mind/ body field.

Avidya, you may call it Ignorance or Psychosis is the Mother of all Kleshas, it gives rise to Asmita, the 'I' feeling, and to Raga or liking and Dwesha otherwise known as disliking and finally Abhinivesah or fear of Death. So Involution involves working from Abhinivesah through to Avidya and finally to Vidya which turns out to be the oppostie of Avidya.

It is very important to understand that this process if worked on with guidance, be it one's own inner guide or that of a Guru is a diving inside oneself and therefore has little to do with the effects of what we have done or what the mind decides. It is an experience not accessible via the Intellect. It is what the Advaitists would call a rooting out of the who in the question 'who am I?'. It is the spaciousness and the rockbed from which the the 'I' arises where recognition of Reality and the Nature of ourselves, no longer in a state of identification with the body/ mind but with God or what the Samkyha Tradition call Purusha ( not a God as such but Consciousness itself, though there may be some who quibble)

Ashtanga, the eight limbs of yoga

 A little note on the eight limbs. Don't spend a moment trying to understand, trying to intellectualise the following. Generally they start to make sense when you practice. i have included them here in order to flesh out one's understanding, but as Guruji says 'practice and everything is coming'

  1. YAMA- self restraint, living by a moral code.
There are five threads of Yama.
Ahimsa- non violence.
            Asteya- non stealing
            Aparigraha- non greed
            Satya- truth
            Bramacharya- sexual abstinence, perhaps the most challenging of the Yamas
  1. NIYAMA- Internal practices, self purification. Again five aspects. These are
Saucha- cleanliness
Santosa- contentment
Tapas- austerites or other practices which burn or reduce the samaskara quotients
Svadhyaya- self study, questioning, scripture reading
Isvara Pranadhana- surrender to the supreme, give up seeking the fruits from your actions

N.B. Nishkama Karma- desireless action

So says the Baghavad Gita ....STHIRAM SUKHAM ASANAM postures should be steady and comfortable. Curiously they should not feel like they’re killing you.

     4.  PRANAYAMA - breathing according to the requirements of the practice, technically
5. PRATYAHARA -the withdrawing of the senses.
6. DHARANA- concentration
7. DHYANA- meditation
8. SAMADHI- bliss consciousness, a pure state of Being, the Identification of self as       Purusha


Abhyasa Vairagyabhyam Tannirodhah...

..Patanjali explains in the yoga sutras in order to perform ashtanga yoga constant practice with dispassion will stop the mental fluctuations.

Yes as such that boils down to much blood sweat and tears


LINKS PAGE interviews with people describing consciousness

NamaRupa; Journal of Indian Thought For discussions on Consciousness 
Within the Scientific Community see Youtube and Christof Koch, Ramachandran and lectures on the Neural Correlate of Consciousness. This is positivistic, mechanistic views on consciousness. Do what you can with it..

Also check out the film director David Lynch on Youtube who has also been a practitioner of Transcendental Meditation for 30 years, and his excellent description of consciousness.

My favourite dude, Mooji, teacher of Advaita Vedanta and student of Papaji whose Guru was none other than Ramana Maharshi, of Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, India. Many satsangs on Youtube

what yoga IS NOT

Yoga is not Yogasana alone. It is not merely the physical. If you're interested in simply performing challenging physical postures in order to get fit whilst developing further conceits and satisfying the ever burgeoning egoic drives then do that....but don't call it yoga.
You wish to do yoga for a flatter stomach, tighter buns, do something to help with stress- these type of classes and many more in the west would lead one to believe that yoga was simply another cleverly merchandised quasi spiritual passtime with a real agenda in getting you to part with your money. That may be so, but sure even in this very limited sense this thing we call yoga can still help. But the real benefits of yoga are far deeper than this, being a way of freeing the individual from his/her past and present patterns or is a way regaining true clarity of perception.

As a teacher

Yoga is adapted to the individuals' needs and capacities and leads to a state of integrity of body/ mind. Whilst the approach is dynamic, as the practice develops you are encouraged to be still and witness the self as it is, without deep attachment, using yoga as a tool to aid awareness of the self.

Overall we're interested in creating balance, this is not possible by general prescriptions but in accordance with the specifics of each individual, in this sense balance is a very broad term!



May 2011, Patika, Southern Turkey, 10 day course uniting Yoga and Permaculture DesignCertificate

September 2011, Patika, Turkey 10 day course uniting Yoga and Permaculture Design Certificate

October 2011, Patika, Turkey, 10 day course uniting Yoga and Permaculture Design Certificate

Exact dates to be confirmed, please email for cost and any questions, happy to help

why practice yoga?

Preventative and corrective aspects acting upon the structure of the body which bring about Integration, and therefore for radiant health and well being

Improved mobility

To connect to stillness through asana,pranayama, sensory awareness, concentration and meditation. To connect the external with the internals realms of being

To encourage openness of the heart and honest communication with yourself and fellow human and other beings

definitions of yoga

yoga is the balancing of opposing the union of opposites

'yogash karmashu kaushalam' is skill in action. ( Baghavad Gita 2.50)

'samattwan yoga uchyate' is evenness of mind (Baghavad Gita 2.48)

'yogashchitta vritti nirodhah' the blocking of patterns of consciousness ( Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, ch1, sutra 2) or some say the cessation of mental fluctuations