Yielding Yoga

How can on describe such a personal journey? The time, energy, devotion, breath, dedication, emotion and love that goes into your practice is a beautifully enchanting experience. Every practice is so uniquely different and each breath gets you further into a state of self-awareness of your body, mental state and creating a deeper sense of realizing you are so much more than you could ever comprehend.

Yoga creates balance and union. Balance of body, mind and soul meeting together without resistance or judgement. Your little realizations of balance within your practice are so intricately personal and delicate. Many hours of being absorbed in the asanas. Days of letting go of the asanas and turning inwards to the rhythm of your soul. Moments of reaching to what you think is your capacity – both mentally and physically – and then going further any way to the flow of your beautiful life force called breath. Engagement. Let go. Alignment. Breathe. Adjust. Breathe. Drishti. Bandhas. Breathe. Jump. Fold. Let Go. Engage. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe….

….but within the whirlwind components to process, you find the stillness. You start to harness your inner harmony and align with yourself in a way that can only be described as indescribable. You have somewhere to go where you can get some space; in whichever element of life you need it.

And it’s a lifelong process.

What does yoga mean to me? Sohum. I am.

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Ego Entropy

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Stumbling upon the overwhelming and endless subject in Vedic Philosophy called Ahamkara. You know, just the cause of all bondage and the chief barrier to the experience of inner reality. It loves its games, letting you place the noose around its neck but refuses to let you push the chair away.

Ego is the self-arrogating aspect of the mind. It separates the individual from unity with others and with the Self for the ego asserts I-ness. Greatest obstacle of tranquillity, it occupies the mind with thoughts of whether we are better or worse, possess more or less and have greater or lesser power than others. It is attended by desire, pride, anger, delusion, greed, jealousy, lust and hatred. The ego is the most difficult aspect of the mind to control for its nature is such that it deludes even while one is striving to overcome it. It is the part of the being that most strongly resists being controlled. Regardless, self awareness and practice will devour its flame and allow you to ignite your true Self.

Two can play, Ahamkara.

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Good Golly Gunas

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The beauty and heartache of dipping your toes into the pool of study and self development is that you realize you have a whole body that wants to get wet. As we delve deeper into the philosophy of yoga, the mind expands like an ever growing galaxy. The next path of this expansion delves further into Maya, where there are three qualities that bind us to this illusory world: Sattva,Rajas, Tamas.

Maya has no existence independent of the gunas and these are present in varying degrees in all objects gross or subtle including the mind, intellect and ego – operating then at the physical, mental and emotional levels.

Sattva manifests as purity and knowledge

Rajas manifests as activity and motion

Tamas manifests as inertia and laziness

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These three qualities always exist together and as long as a person is attached to any of these gunas, he remains in bondage. This creates a very interesting way of developing further self awareness as you realize that you rise and fall naturally in your day through each of these qualities. We humans have the unique ability to consciously alter the levels of the gunas in our bodies and minds and these gunas cannot be separated or removed in oneself, but can be consciously acted upon to encourage their increase or decrease and to ultimately achieve balance within Sattva.

“When one rises above the three gunas that originate in the body; one is freed from birth, old age, disease, and death; and attains enlightenment” (Bhagavad Gita 14.20)

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Reality Rinse

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Two weeks in and this is starting to get real. Or should I say, not real. After all, only that is real that does not change nor cease to exist.

Let’s begin where it all begins. With Brahman.

Brahman

Infinite. Uncaused. Eternal. Supreme Reality of the Vedanta philosophy. Source of Being, Intelligence and Bliss. Sat-Chit-Ananda. The upholder of the creation but unaffected by it.

We are surrounded and engulfed by Maya (illusion).

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Maya pulls us away with strong and false comforting arms from reaching Atman, our true self, which is one with Brahman. Think about anything tangible. Let’s take a building. Think about how the building came to be as the illusion it is. It is all just little pieces of matter collaborating together to make an object which ultimately, can cease to exist if broken apart. It can change, manifest and be disregarded and cease to be what we perceive it to be. Much like our bodies.

Maya manifests in the individual in the form of Avidya (ignorance). Avidya makes us forget that we are the Self (Atman) and we identify with the Uphadis. Keeping up? Uphadis are that which veil the consciousness – or otherwise known as the body and mind. The self identifying with the Uphadis is called Jiva. Jiva believes itself to be bound and limited by the Uphadis and consequently suffers. Jiva will have to be born and reborn again until realizing his true nature – Atman.

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”Atman is the person in the earth and the person in the body… in fire and in speech; in wind and in breath; in the Sun and in the eye; in truth and truthfulness; in humanity and in the human; in the Self and in the self.”

This makes for a beautifully visionary experience watching the world go by, being peeled apart like a refreshing satsuma, dripping into the hands that hold it.

http://www.brainpickings.org/2012/04/27/when-einstein-met-tagore/

Naughty Navasana

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Experiencing an injury of pressure on the lower back and bruised cocyx from incorrect alignment. Turns out Navasana is not what I thought it was.

It is one within the Primary Series that is challenging me like a like a boxer ready for a knockout in the ring. The mind feels like a sparrow trapped in a cage when I enter this pose and trying to find the point of stillness with what is and what should be requires breath. And letting go.

Accepted.

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Chakra Channeling

The discovery of the energy centers within us opens a whole new perception to the practice of yoga. Moving through asana with breath awakens the the life force known as prana within us to move through our nadis – the energy pathways within our subtle body. The main channel of energy is called the sushumna and it runs directly through the spine. The spine. Is everything. Extending from the base of the spine, wrapping around the sushumna like two vines growing up a tree are ida and pingala. These are about balancing the two sides of the brain and two sides of the body. Where ida and pingala connect as they intersect each other up the spine to the crown of the head, are the chakras.

To have the understanding of the postures relating to the chakras allows the awareness within to grow like a seedling pushing through the earth and rising up to bloom. All is connected and one must strive to achieve balance within all.

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Ashtanga Adventures

The journey has begun. The flame has been ignited. Energy awakened. Sight, sound and touch heightened. Words that flicker to mind – physically sore but mentally soaring. 

Ashtanga is the foundation of this course and having not practiced in the style previously,  the asana has been quite challenging. Yet with this challenge comes a wide open door to a whole new pathway on this sensational practice of yoga.  With this challenge has come the discovery of comfort in knowing that this is exactly where this energy is meant to be. Becoming more attuned to body, mind and breath is like coming into this delirious world and inhaling your first breath of life. Ashtanga, I welcome you with open arms. 

OM

Vande Gurunam Caranaravinde

Sandarsita Svatma Sukhava Bodhe

Nih Sreyase Jangalikayamane

Samsara Halahala Mohasantyai

Abahu Purusakaram

Sankhacakrasi Dharinam

Sahasra Sirasam Svetam

Pranamami Patanjalim

OM

I bow to the lotus feet of the Gurus,

The awakening happiness of one’s own Self revealed,

Beyond better, acting like the jungle physician,

Pacifying delusion, the poison of Samsara.

Taking the form of a man to the shoulders,

Holding a conch, a discus, and a sword,

One thousand heads, white,

To Patanjali, I salute.

Rivka Does Yoga

This journey started nearly 4 years ago, with an unsteady body and a mind shaking like the last leaf falling to the ground before winter takes it final victim, this arrangement of energy arrived at the mat for the first time and has never looked back. 

There have been many practices, many laughs, many tears through Kapotasana. Many soul shaking, body awakening and mind altering realisations. Countless breathtaking experiences in Shavasana. Endless ways to search within for rest in Adho Mukha Svanasana.  And this is just the beginning.

It has never made more sense than in this ever beautiful present moment in realising that this journey is life long. That it will rise and falter just as the tides kiss and run away from the sand. It is an intention and dedication to the self and it couldn’t be more exciting. 

Hello, yoga teacher training. I have been waiting for you. 

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