YOGIC BEING (from the pages of Weight Loss Through Yoga)

It is human nature to pretend we have a strong handle on reality, but truly there is much more going on than what can be seen in the material world. Often, our rigidly held outlook limits our ability to see beyond preconceived notions. In yoga everything is divided in two, purusa and prakriti. Everything we feel, experience and see is real, including our dreams, ideas and fantasies. That which has always been, purusa, is unchanging and will always be. That is the observer in each of us that even watches our mind think. Everything else is prakriti, impermanent and always in a state of change.

Yoga recognizes our physical body, but also recognizes other bodies, or koshas, occupying the same space as the physical body.

KOSHAS — from 'Weight Loss Through Yoga, Jewel in the Lotus'

KOSHAS — from ‘Weight Loss Through Yoga, Jewel in the Lotus’

There are five koshas:

1) A physical body comprised of matter.

2) A prana (energy) body. Prana is the Sanskrit word for ‘life force’ that animates all physical and mental activity.

3) A mental body.

4) A knowledge body (knowing beyond sensory perception).

5) An omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient body called the bliss body.

Prana, the life force energy, rides the breath.

 

PHILOSOPHY — A PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

Each of us has the responsibility to create the best possible philosophy. Your outlook has to be your own. No thinker or religion can do this for you. Only you know what is most pleasing to you, and that should be the basis for forming your belief system. Imagine the best possible world and order your thinking to be that world.

Until we are reabsorbed into the Absolute, which is Truth, all truths (small letter ‘t’) are relative. As we evolve and come closer, things become clearer —but at any stage of the journey, pure clarity hasn’t been reached yet. Choose to see what is most pleasant. We are all doing the best we can. It’s too easy to look back at those you may consider less educated, less experienced, not as mature spiritually, and make judgements. Remember we are all only children spiritually.DSC0034-web

Imagine a tetter-totter. An inclined plane balanced on a fulcrum. As you ascend one side, you are having to exert the energy to go up. Reaching the midpoint a shift occurs and now you have the ease of descent. Many of us are reaching a similar point of balance in our development. Now the effort is to relax and enjoy the ride. You have come to realize that reality is a manifestation of our beliefs, imaginings and dreams. Everything is out there and we empower what is to be.DSC0006-color-web

As an Example: It is unacceptable a child be born with a major disability and that be the expression of all their life experience. If that same child experiences the disability for this lifetime, learns what is to be learned from the experience, and goes on to have many many more lifetimes, to experience many more sets of circumstance. Wakes up from this life, like awaking from a dream. This seems balanced and acceptable. So believe in reincarnation — that you want it to be that way is all the validation you need. Your compassion has taught you a lesson – YOU MAKE REALITY.

Have your love and compassion order your perspective. What appeals to you — Have it. Be it. Allow yourself to accept it. It is yours. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. Don’t worry about impure motive or mistakes. We’ve got forever (now) – as you experience, expect your personal philosophy to reflect your growth. Things are going to change. Our resistance in embracing the natural order of change (evolution) only impedes progress. Things can be unimaginably better. Enjoy your desires in this moment. Have love and compassion form the next moment. ALL IS CONSCIOUSNESS.

YOGA AND SEX

The lessons we are learning on the physical plane are the reasons for our existence on this plane. Those lessons can only be learned here. Our physical form is the utility for the necessary experiences. We are divided into gender, male and female. Sex shouldn’t be treated as a hindrance to enlightenment or spiritual wholeness, but recognized as a microcosmic expression os the macrocosmic duality that animates our universe. The relationship represented by the yin yang symbol shows the ‘one’ being made aware of its self through interaction with the ‘other’, forming the ‘whole’.10174920_244410899077408_1100775321_nYoga reveres balance, and sexual union is the balance of opposites, a manifestation of our divine nature. Sex is sacred, not against God, not a sin. The yogi is God loving rather than God fearing. The yogi chooses to embrace his or her nature rather than deny it. If you call a healthy , natural expression of life a sin, then you can expect to live in a perpetual state of guilt.

The word for sex in Sanskrit is ‘kama’, as in Kama Sutra, the classic seventh century manual of lovemaking. Kama translates as ‘love-sex together’. Sex and love are entwined in one concept. Kama is also the name for the Hindu goddess of love.

Weight Loss Through Yoga, Jewel in the Lotus    Pages 102 and 103.

UNDERSTANDING BEYOND OUR RANGE OF PERCEPTION

Fractal — Weight Loss Through Yoga, Jewel in the Lotus

Fractal — Weight Loss Through Yoga, Jewel in the Lotus

…yoga tradition believes the universe is mirrored in each of us. Nature has a working set of solutions that is used on ever greater or lesser scales for everything, as our recent appreciation of fractals demonstrates. To understand something on a scale within our perceptual range allows us to imagine solutions to questions above or below that range.

Weight Loss Through Yoga, Jewel in the Lotus        page 8

ASANAS III

Because asana quiets the mind, it is preparation for meditation. Indeed, it can be a form of meditation. It fosters awareness of the mind’s functioning, the body’s state of wellbeing, and the mechanics of breath. Asana helps us reconnect with the vast wisdom that controls and directs body function, the same wisdom that wants to bring our body into healthy balance.

weight loss through yoga

weight loss through yoga

ASANAS II

 

weight loss through yoga

weight loss through yoga

Asana helps to calm the mind and temper emotions. Challenging the physical body helps the practitioner connect with the other levels of self. Because of the rapid ability of the physical body to reflect change, it demonstrates the capacity to change on deeper unseen levels. The physical body is our home in this reality. Memories can be stored in our tissues. Asana is away of strengthening the will and exploring our psychological makeup, creating a balance between our material and spiritual existence.

ASANA

Moving into and holding various configurations of the physical body as part of the practice of yoga is called asana. When people in the West think of yoga, this narrow range of the total discipline commonly comes to mind. In Sanskrit, ‘asana’ translates as ‘seat’ or ‘seat next to the teacher’, expressing the need to be comfortable in the body before other learning can commence.

weight loss through yoga

weight loss through yoga

Asana practice improves health, strength, flexibility and balance. The lymphatic system of the body needs movement and the flexing of muscles to propel lymph fluids through the body. All the components of the body need to be exercised to maintain optimum function. Without stimulation they tend to atrophy.

MEDITATION

You are being let in on a big secret. This shouldn’t be a secret, but it is: ‘enlightened’ and ‘relaxed’ mean the same thing. They are synonymous. We are easing into liberation of the full expression of ‘Self’. If you had the capacity to fully let go, you would literally fall into the full perfect expression of your being. Since enlightenment is so infrequent, the ability to completely relax appears to be very rare.

Asana is helping us to be at ease in our bodies so the body is no longer a distraction. Pranayama is helping create the necessary energy and balance. Now we can start to relax. We can meditate.

MEDITATION —weight loss through yoga, page 101

MEDITATION —weight loss through yoga, page 101

BIKRAM YOGA

Bikram Yoga is a style of Hatha Yoga imported to the United States by Bikram Choudhury in the middle 1970’s. It is the forerunner of the ‘hot yoga’ becoming broadly popular. High heat is used to limber the muscles. Bikram Yoga is practiced in studios heated in excess of 110 degrees F.

The exact same twenty-six postures are performed in the same order, for the same length of time, each ninety minute class session; starting and closing with a breathing exercise, and finishing with ‘deadman posture.’ Instructors are taught a dialogue that is repeated almost verbatim. Mirrors are surrounding the participant, so they can observe their performance.

I will discuss some of the benefits of the practice, having participated in four to five sessions a week, while still doing more conventional Hatha practice in addition, for over a dozen years. Entering the studio, at times, your first impression is you’ve entered a too hot sauna — the heat does limber the body at a very deep level. When practicing Bikram, you should be cautious performing the same postures without the heat. You can harm yourself because of reduced flexability. Doing the same postures, in the same order, for the same duration, while under exacting instruction, it is easy to observe and appraise your performance. The postures have unique subtle differences from conventional Hatha practice, and are very effective. They are sequenced in a very logical and complementary order. The high heat causes sweating, the skin being our largest organ, this can get rid of toxins, is purifying and good for the skin.

Bikram instructors have been known to tout the very one dimensional ‘physical’ nature of the practice. “This ain’t no incense, candles, and chanting–gazing at your navel yoga.” No mention or claims of spiritually are made. Because it is yoga, and because of the nature of yoga—a Bikram practice can be very spiritual. Its demanding nature forces the participant to explore their relationship with themselves, pushing through great exertion and exhaustion. The ‘sameness’ of the session frees the mind from thought. It’s a common to experience altered states through extreme exertion, what athletes call entering a ‘zone’. Think of the altered consciousness sought by swirling dervishes. During practice you are encouraged to focus on a spot between the brows on your image reflected in the mirror. It’s easy to lose subjective awareness and meld with the field. Exerting the will to accomplish a very difficult arduous task, one moment at a time, can be very educational and gratifying. It can be possible to have a glimpse of our more than human nature.

Some aspirants can’t take the heat and a person should know some yoga and be in pretty good shape, with a well hydrated body, before attempting a class. In all the thousands of classes I participated, only once did I see an ambulance have to cart someone away.  Bikram Yoga’s greatest detractor is Bikram Choudhury himself. Why his guru, who developed the sequence, chose Bikram to bring the teaching to America is interesting to speculate on. Bikram projects a public persona of arrested development at around twelve years of age. He flaunts his narcissism and materialism. His ego appears to have no consideration for the feelings of others. Maybe there is a lesson here too. We’re all human and with fault— learn to look beyond the messenger and evaluate the message on its own merits?

Feel the Heat – WALKING STICK

Feel the Heat – WALKING STICK