What Makes Yoga So Metal?

November 24, 2010

Everything about Yoga is metal to me. If I start to think about Yoga or being a part of the Yoga lifestyle without it being Metal, I don’t want to be a part of it. This is because otherwise it doesn’t come with the fervor, authority, conviction, and sacredness that it has when it’s Metal Yoga.

Metal means it’s scary. Scary means it excites you, like going to an amusement park and getting on the biggest, fastest roller coaster. Good Metal music is like a scary roller coaster or like the real world event that the roller coaster mimics for the price of an admission ticket, and bad music is the kind that isn’t scary, doesn’t get your heart racing, feels like soft vanilla ice cream being poured into your ear canal. But keep in mind that amusement parks are for children, not adults. For adults, they are just there to remind us that life is the amusement park, and in life you scare yourself to live fully and to grow. So, Yoga is not easy. Yoga is also not about being soothed like during a Swedish massage. The soothing comes after you’ve done the work, and pushing your body and your mind will allow you to be soothed deeper than if you just floated on the winds of life like an autumn leaf.

Nature is Metal. Lightning, thunder, hurricanes, howling wind, tornadoes, the dead of night, fire, earthquakes, pestilence, death, these are all ideas out of which Metal is born, as are the many anthropomorphic deities that represent such things. Metal is nature, and therefore Metal calls upon that which is bigger and more powerful than man, and all that which man must be in accordance with to survive. If Pop Music is your thing, you always have the option of going here or there, being in accordance with nature or not, and you will ultimately not care what you are doing as long as you are happy and joyful in trends of what is popular culture. If this is your Yoga, you can easily see the discrepancy: this is the Yoga of trendiness, following Yoga as a fad, concerned with what mat and clothes you wear to a class, doing things so what others see and think about you is in accordance with what you want others to see and think about you.

This doesn’t mean you have to like or listen to Metal music. Not all Metal music is good, and with this understanding you can discern the good from the great and from the bad. Without previously understanding Metal or listening to it, your Yoga may be Metal without you knowing it, and being aware of it can make Yoga more effortless through simply extending your instinctual behavior if it is Metal Instinct. If you never understood Metal music, you would now after making the connection, and maybe if you are a musician you would have an idea of what great Metal music would be if you composed it. In this way we compose our lives instead of just sitting and watching life go by like a spectator sport.

More Yoga Muscles

November 10, 2010

Do you, or have you ever gone to a health club? Whether you belong to a gym or not, it can be an intimidating place because of the way most health clubs are run. You enter through the front door and have to pass the front desk by either signing in or swiping a card across a laser, or having an employee enter a number into a computer for you. Now you enter the facility and it’s all up to you. Everyone is there for varying reasons, working toward different goals, and at different stages of attaining those goals. How do you know what to do once you join a health club? You’ve paid your money, you’ve shown up in your workout duds, and you’re in a sea of people off doing their own things. Some people may be coupled with personal trainers, guiding them through focused plans with supervision. The truth is, if you don’t feel confident that you know enough about your body and what brings results without hurting yourself or pushing you along that edge that will promote changes that you want, hiring a personal trainer is a good idea. And this brings me to Yoga.

No matter who you are, what level of fitness you are at, or what your physical fitness goals are, a personal trainer will tell you, among other things, that the suggested place to start is stabilization training. This doesn’t mean benching, or squatting, or curling, or pressing anything that comes near your maximal strength ability. Think of putting your fast twitch muscles on a temporary vacation so you can concentrate on your slow twitch muscles, the ones that require oxygen to work and can endure longer durations of use. These are the muscles that stabilize your body when you think you’re not doing anything, like standing straight, sitting upright, bending over, or moving your body to change positions for any reason. This is one of the reasons Yoga has become so popular here in the US as a fitness trend. As a whole, Americans do less from day to day because more of their work and home activities are becoming more automated, causing a deterioration in the conditioning of the stabilization muscles of the body. Yoga happens to condition exactly those muscle groups through the asanas, preparing the body for movements that can be built upon a strong core.

Of course, there are many different kinds of Yoga that one may choose to practice, and all or some of the above may not apply to your practice. Also, in order to build a solid stabilization base, very specific core adaptation variables have to be chosen for the possible goals of any individual. A general fact is that Yoga produces a stronger body, and is much larger in scope than stabilization exercise. Yoga goes beyond the body and tunes what can be referred to as the psychology, awareness, and spiritual aspects of living, something that is absent from all forms of conventional fitness training that deal only with the body, its systems, biomechanics, motor control, and flexibility. Yoga is not flexibility. If it is any one thing, it is steadiness. It is important to understand that while most people will be drawn to Yoga for fitness or social reasons, the goal is to move past all physical connotations and attachments, as these are only inroads to the destination. In the gym, the destination is just another road, and this is perfectly fine if you understand it.

Destiny

November 9, 2010

We are each like a flashbulb going off for an instant in the field of time. We each experience our own personal drawn out perspective of time ever so slowly moving forward, equally quickly slipping away. Who says life is short? Who says it’s excruciatingly long? We can imagine both scenarios and both would be right. Even the light of the stars we are familiar with that make up constellations are but flashbulbs while we flash repeatedly over the earth, illuminating as brightly as we can for shorter instances. Therefore life is an incredibly magical place in which time is slowed down to such a crawl for us that we can become masters of our own destinies. This allows us to breathe deeply and slowly instead of quickly and shallowly, and we can think deeply on all that we have in and around our lives to fulfill destinies of our choosing, or the only one that feels right laying before us. This shifts focus to a determined view of time as something coming in to our lives as we anticipate it, without grasping the past and being distracted in our forward motion. If the past contains elements that repeatedly pull you away from now and have you repeating in loops like a movie you’ve already seen, it is an indicator that you have to let go, or you may miss your destiny. Also, if you are the progenitor of forward motion based on the past that needs to be released, you are still caught in a loop but it’s so big in circumference you cannot see it as anything but a line or an arc.
Consider time the next occasion you have in savasana as you breathe deeply, intent on the sun and other stars that do not warm us but fill the sky at night, and see your entire life as you would a day in your life where the sun is clear, the weather is comfortably warm, and light clouds sweep the blue above without interfering with the sun. When the day is over, your life that you know is over and after a short night, the day begins again with a new life and you are back again, a new person, completely new possibilities, new family, new friends, a life you haven’t experienced yet. Imagine the sun still strong and clear and the clouds sweep by quickly, as you are greeted kindly into this world. Night comes, and with it the bright stars that also greet you, and they are just as you remember them. Then a new day comes and yet another new life. Watch the cycle progress quicker and quicker as the sun and stars remain bright and you are still there as well. Try then to imagine these familiar stars and sun slowly go dark and fade as new ones come into being, and you are still there, observing, breathing deeply not with your body but with your energy while this body you have uses its lungs to take in that energy and exhale energy. Know that we are still here, there is no running away, there is no abandonment, and that eternity is not a measurement of time but a place we all know where we are not bound by time. When you open your eyes, experience the magic of your life as you are suspended in time the way we all share it together, one second at a time, new masters of our destinies, each new day reminding us of whole new lives.

When talking strictly asana, you are moving your body from starting positions, or neutral positions into very specific destination poses and holding them. You don’t have to hold them still unless you are advanced, but that is what asanas are, with the combination of integrating the breath the whole time, and also specifically to inhalation and exhalation throughout the movements. The breath is the source of your energy, so it is vital that you understand it and do not obstruct or limit your breathing. Even if breathing is compromised due to lung disease, simply keeping a smooth even breath is the goal. The beauty of Yoga asanas is that it is compounded threefold compared to what it looks like on the surface, a dynamic stretching exercise. With breathing and postures we also practice concentration of the mind. So, one hour of practice will give one hour of exercise, one hour of deep relaxation, and one hour of meditation, through developing the concentration powers within the pose.

The asanas will not only strengthen certain major muscle groups, but will awaken and enliven your core muscle groups. For example, if I were to attempt to dead-lift 315 pounds repeatedly, or even just once, the next time I went to the health club, I would most certainly hurt myself if my core muscles were not strong enough to stabilize my skeletal system under that force; it wouldn’t matter if my major muscle groups were indeed strong enough to lift the weight, and even if they did, I could walk away with an injury. Yoga allows me to lift 315 pounds repeatedly in a dead-lift with no injury. It is the whole-body armor, Metal Yoga, that one needs to perform great feats. It is no wonder that when personal fitness trainers suggest dynamic stretching postures to stabilize your core, they look almost like Yoga Asanas, with names like bridge and cobra.

My asanas are filled with the breath of lightning, filling my entire body from marrow to skin with electric white radiance, enveloping everyone around me with the oneness of compassion. I am not a solid form, but mostly empty space, and every movement of this body brushes through the finest of all matter that permeates all that is. As my arms grow heavy or my legs lose strength, I smile with the sight of the grace and beauty of nature resting on them for me to uphold. As I concentrate and still the mind, the sun is still, pouring its love and warmth over the spinning and rotating earth that we walk on, and at the same time, the earth is still and the sun passes countless times from east to west over the sky, quickly, with rushes of clouds sweeping across, between us, and I watch the fire of life, burning, and consuming, dying to be reborn, the eye opening and closing, the breath in, the breath out, the great wall Maya before me that I walk through as I get a glimpse of transcendence.

Vishuddha

November 4, 2010

When it is time for you to die, will your heart be consumed by a monster as it is weighed heavy with matters of the earth? I was born a crotchety old man. My baby pictures prove it: I looked like Yoda. I could barely keep my head up during the photo shoot I was so weak. I came out early because I just couldn’t take it anymore, the waiting. Ever since I’ve been getting stronger and younger, and now that I’m here I have immeasurable patience. By the time I was 24 years old I looked 44, so I was on the right track. By the age of 35 I appeared to be in my twenties. I know it will be time for me to leave this earth when I start to get it just right and I look exactly my age. But even then I may be around for a long time because I didn’t come here to just sit around playing with my appearance. I have loves, and that is my purpose. You can tell who your best friends are because they are the ones who expect only that from you that you love to do. Everything else is the wrong path. The mask of society puts to you the tasks it wants so that it can thrive, and if that is your love, go with society. Otherwise, cut off your head and walk around holding it before you for all to see in horror and disgust.