Iron WorkAs you have decided to take action through your own volition to advance your abilities and transformation potential in human form, it is important to solidify the basic concepts that few elucidate about the basics of the yoga meditation atmosphere. What follows is an explanation of these, as well as further metaphorical description of the arc of the yoga interval as it pertains to metals in elemental form.

The yoga space is a space of mutual respect, no judgment or criticism, and equality amongst all of humanity. Silence is the atmosphere, and inward communication is preferred.

A greater importance is put on the meditation that one is striving for during the interval. With the very first breath and movement, it is the beginning step toward meditation.

You are nothing, thoughts are not welcome; walking into the room, your brain is a blank slate except to compute your biomechanics as an automatic background task; this mental simplicity opens the ability to connect with the stream of information rushing into our minds from the matter around us that is often blocked by thought.

The asana aspect of yoga is purely for overcoming physical challenges. The poses are intentionally designed to pose a challenge that is felt as positive stress with a blank slate mind. Relaxing momentarily from this stress prepares one for meditation. The true strengthening is of the mind, with the added bonus of strengthening the body.

I strongly advise on learning to be independent of the crutch senses and relying less on ordinary physical senses. In developing a higher sense that is outside of the normal five senses, feeling will become a direct information pathway, outside of seeing and hearing primarily, and also of touch, smell, and taste. Seeing is the typical biggest crutch sense, hearing is the second. The five senses are what leads the mind to thought, and intellectual processes, thoughts, are the enemy of meditation.

A yoga interval is simply an accumulation of stresses and releases to move one through the phases, beginning with the hard metals phase, through softer metals, and ending up in the liquid state, where one is ready for the meditation that defines the entire interval. Outside of metals, the ultimate liquid state of being would be Water. Transcending the molecular complexity of metals and entering the simplicity of two hydrogen atoms joined with one oxygen atom, one is free of the weight of all metal states. Yet, consider that hydrogen, the lightest and most abundant element on earth, when under enough pressure becomes a metal.

Now here’s the kicker: when I spoke about the yoga space, and walking into the room, where is the room? Herein lies the problem because there isn’t any room, any space. In yoga, it is not where you are or when you are, it just is—or it isn’t.


Elemental ChromiumMetal as a music genre is identifiable by its attributes of strength and power. These sounds are performed by humans expressing power and strength as technique in their playing styles. There is nothing overly delicate or fragile, nor soft or forgiving in metal music. This characterization of being carries over to Metal Yoga, where the skeletal framework is aligned to positions, over a short interval of time, inducing structural integrity inherent in the biomechanics of the human body. The repeated alignment creates a memory and awareness that translates into the unlocking of potential power and ultimately empowerment through knowledge that contributes to wisdom.

Beginning a session, which I will call an interval, one may feel inflexible and hardened by the situations of modern life that irritate and wear one down. This beginning state of hardness can be called the Chromium state, a state of physical and mental hardness, a general rigidity. One can move through soft metal states like a Lead state, ending an interval in a state of Mercury, a liquid metal, or ultimately in the Gallium state. Elemental gallium does not occur in free form in nature, but as a brittle, solid, silvery metal it will melt in your hand above about 85 °F. Gallium in this sense is a good metaphor for the scarcely real experience among yoga exercisers and poor meditators with actual spirituality, awareness, and enlightenment. The molecular structures of the hardest metals form lattices that combine to exert stability and strength over the span of their surfaces and interiors, while others can be malleable; the combining of different metals with special attributes to achieve specific results has resulted in the most spectacular and most beautiful metal objects the world has seen.

Chrome Engine

To pick up where we left off in the last entry, we work on advancing out of Chromium. Because the majority of individuals move repetitively and cause muscle injuries that require healing through stretching techniques, it is most important to begin by carefully and slowly stretching from the center outward. At the center for these purposes is the spinal structure, and this muscular center spans the entire length of your trunk to the base of your skull; the spine is your power center. When radiating out from a point with an ever increasing radius, the most minuscule radial motion results in greater distances in circumference. These beginning motions should be small and gentle at first at the spine, but can result in appearances to be greater motions at the extremities which when outstretched will trace greater circumference distances. Because it is also paramount to choose at discretion beginning movements that take the spine into movements within all planes, a variety of movements are available at this stage of stretching and lengthening from the core that will lead to greater strength potential to be unleashed in movements of later states during the interval.

Since the first ten minutes of sitting and breathing covered in the last post is also a time to activate and focus on root chakra energy, the beginning spinal movements serve to move that energy up the spine to energize the rest of the body during the interval. Good spinal choices are Cobra, Lord of the Fishes, Bridge and its variations, Cat/Cow, Sphinx, Alligator, Canoe, even Child’s Pose and Sleeping Baby for initial relaxation, as well as poses that can begin by stretching the hamstrings so tightness of the spine is not exacerbated by the back of the legs. Staff Pose is a good opener to these, sitting as tall as possible and seemingly doing nothing while the tiny muscles around each vertebra are brought to action.

Next I will talk about standing strength poses that use an awakened spine throughout the extremities and our Metal state moves from Chromium to softer metals like Iron, Copper, and Bronze.

Bulletproof Yoga

April 21, 2014


Have you experienced nirvana? If not, I’m sorry to hear that, but the following short entry may help. If you have not, you may find it consoling to hear that it is only entirely your own fault.
Welcome to Bulletproof Yoga. I’m not referring to making you bulletproof in any way. I am describing a method of delivering yoga to others in a way so that nobody leaves feeling that they missed the point. It begins by my unmistakable delivery of yoga to you, through my words, and continues on indefinitely as you deliver these concepts upon yourself through movement, concentration, effortlessness, stillness, and the absence of thought.
Let me begin by stating (once again) that there is nothing in my solitary practice that ever left me looking for more. This means I have no desire to attend a yoga class anywhere, and although I am constantly being asked to teach yoga, I have no desire to teach in a class or group setting. This may change in the future, but only if a situation would arise where ego cannot be found in my intentions.

I’ve just completed a 65 minute sound file that can be used during your full yoga practice if desired, based on the previous 30 minute Theta wave binaural entrainment file that I created for relaxation at any time. You can stream the file here, or download the file for your personal use. The binaural and audible tones move through the frequencies attributed to the chakra points from root to crown over the length of the program material.

Let’s jump right in with the most difficult, the absence of thought. If with your first figurative step and your first actual inhalation you can stop all thought that comes from you, halt the mind, all else will be easy. Even in difficult physical movements under the banner of yoga, the mind will be your biggest obstacle. This leaving behind of all mind activity is the impossible for some, a great challenge for most, but everyone can do it nonetheless. Your mind is your greatest enemy, it is what will be the root of your undoing, and it is also where your idea of who you are is seated. Who you are is nothing. What you think is so high and mighty and amazing about anything you pin on your chest is just another dark spot on your being; any self-describing character trait that shines like the bright lights of vanity in the mirror of morals and virtues is actually the most disgusting thing about you that you could do well to lose quickly. When you are nothing, you are pure beauty. Only then do you become loving, and with that you can radiate unconditionally for all and everything like you did before your mind learned how to be deceptive, conniving, selfish, guarded and emotionless, conceited, and unable to see without the filters of “my world only” through dead eyes.
With these concepts you can breathe slowly in and out, aiming for 4-7 seconds for each. Eyes closed, or open if you are able to ignore visual distraction, with silent privacy or on a busy street, it won’t matter when your mind is appropriately calibrated to stop all inner thought. Here you will stay for a matter of minutes, up to about ten, breathing and not thinking, hopefully learning to be newly amazed and appalled at who you find you were up until just now, losing all identification with the ridiculousness of descriptions like “retailer”, “manager”, “CEO”, “athlete”, “businessman”, “entrepreneur”, “salesman”, “vegan”, “writer”, “creative”, “doctor”, “teacher”, “pilot”, “mother”, “husband”, or any other foolish word that is attached to who or what you may think you are. From here on out, you are nothing.
If you are familiar with yoga sitting poses and use a mat, do this while attempting to be as comfortable and relaxed as possible in what is called Lotus. The reason this is important is because your goal is to become the “lotus floating in the pond”. If you’ve never heard this before, it is a very powerful concept that cannot be overlooked. By beginning here, you still the mind like a lotus flower gently floating atop the stillest pond you can imagine, with a still air, but not a freeze frame like pausing a movie; you are in the living universe that is extremely calm and still, so much so that it may give the illusion that nothing is moving but you are moving with the movement of living and with your slow breathing only. By sitting with your legs apart like longish and slightly full petals in Lotus Position, you resemble that lotus flower, and seated on a flat surface you are floating on that unmoving water that delicately holds you up with its surface tension. Your spine moves gently into a straighter and more erect and comfortable posture with each breath, until eventually little by little you do finally become that lotus, perfectly still, effortless, in one short moment of extreme joy in being that an eternity has just come across you, not from within but by tapping into the “thoughts” of the cosmos beyond the confines of time and space once you got your horrible, petty, worthless mind-thoughts to stop, vacate, and make room for nirvana, where you can know without question that “the jewel is in the lotus”.
Quick enlightenment checklist:
1. Do you feel an overwhelming love and compassion not only for all living beings that you have encountered in your life with a personality you can perceive, but also for all those you have not met as well as every atom and particle that vibrates to the living frequencies of reality in you, around you, and furthest away from you? If the answer is no, I’m sorry to say you are not ready and have missed something very big in your ten minutes of alone time. Work on that.
2. Do you smile so openly and wide with joy deep from within your being that not only is your face clearly smiling, but so is every cell in your body as it functions in its daily living tasks? If the answer is no, then I’m sorry to say you are not ready and seem to have missed something very critical about what it means to be a human on this planet striving to understand the meaning of life. Once again, work on that.
3. Are you still having thoughts that come from your mind, things relating to you, your memories, your experiences from the past, material ambitions, socio-political goals, etc.? Sorry, try again!
4. Have you quieted your mind to the point that you’ve noticed something different and are amazed at what is happening because your mind is being flooded with experiences that are clearly not your own (that your mind can tell) and the grand truths of unknown intelligence have graced you for either a millisecond or a lifetime or more, and you’ve been disassociated from your physical body in any way? If the answer is no, try harder to work on yourself. Only you are standing in your own way, and anyone can do it without any outside assistance. The key is in your pocket, you just have to get it yourself.
5. Are you able to differentiate from your mind that distracts you by having useless conscious thoughts about yourself, your body that is a biomechanical vessel housing your blood, organs, and flesh, and your emotions that have nothing to do with your mind and body unless you mistakenly entangle all three into a knotted mess that sets you up for unlimited suffering and personal turmoil? If the answer is no, try harder next time, but always be effortless!
6. If you state the six words, “The joyful participation in life’s sorrows”, and feel you can answer all of the above 5 questions correctly, then I no longer need to speak or write on the subject.

Next I will continue by going into asanas that will deliver you to your final pose, savasana. But for now you can go and get into Lotus and reread this post while actually doing it. For help with Lotus, feel free to search it on YouTube, there are plenty of extremely fit women eager to explain it in thorough detail, along with just about any other yoga mat acrobatics. Please remember that I am nothing.

Your Band Sucks

March 15, 2014

Your Band SucksEven if you don’t have a band, and most of us don’t, there are individual components that make up who you are, and if they aren’t playing in concert together, your band sucks. To clarify, let me begin by defining a word that bothers me, then I’ll get back to how your own personal one-man-band sucks (hopefully not). There is one word I dislike as much as the word Yoga because of its connotations. I may dislike it more, but not by enough to discern at this point, and that word is spirituality. Yoga and spirituality go together, and in one subjective viewpoint they can be obvious and beautiful; but in another, the skeptic, doubtful, close-minded viewpoint, a misguided or misunderstanding one, the two words together are ugly and laughable, a point of embarrassment for anyone who dares use them without joking. So which is correct? Probably neither, and it is irrelevant. It is the differing comprehension of the meanings of these words that is at fault, much like when using the word God.

Grumpy Band Sucks

So, onward we proceed to discuss not God, not the creation of the universe nor the creation of the creation of the universe of the universe. Let us first agree that the human body is a thing, much like all things are things, but the human body has the appearance of a unique identity through a complex collaboration among different areas of that body, performing specialized tasks. To be a person, with a name, and unique identifiers to be singled out from any other similar other human being, even a genetic clone like a twin, is the result of a whole that is clearly greater than the sum of its parts.

We can compartmentalize these parts into three categories, thereby simply adding the sum of only three parts, and coming up with one whole that is greater than the sum of these three parts. This whole we will call the fourth part, slightly greater than any human body, yet fully containing the whole human being. This fourth part is the right of every person, the skill of utilizing these three parts of the human body no matter if your body feels lacking in some way, and this fourth part is also absent from many people who do not understand how to be alive in the sense of making themselves whole. The three parts identified are the Intellect (the mind), the Body (the entire physical mass of your living flesh that occupies space), and the Heart (the emotions that are felt). We can say Mind, Body, and Heart while understanding the delineations of how these three do not overlap each other even though the words can be confusing if we think the mind is the brain which is part of the body and the heart is in the body so it is all body. But, just as the mind is separate from the brain, and emotions are separate from the heart itself, these assumptions are misleading and the delineations should be recounted or simply different words used.

Now with these three parts defined, dwell on your own experience of owning and using them. Confirm that you have them and define them within you. See that they are separate and individual. Also see them in the next closest people in your life and think about how they are expressed so that you perceive them. Think of every human being on this planet as owning, using, and expressing these three aspects of their being that contain everything that is who they are. That’s right, now back to you, everything about who you are is contained in these three categories independently expressed by you out in the world.

Now if these three things that make up all of you are used together, sympathetically, they resonate into something bigger and greater and unexpected, a greater whole. What this means is that when using the Mind and being aware of the Body and Emotions, not just being all-Mind, or all-Body, or all-Emotion, all three aspects of you are included in everything you do or don’t do. When you live this way, a greater whole emerges in a wisdom state, a knowing that is mind-knowing, body-knowing, and heart-knowing, so you KNOW with not just your little 3 pound brain and your Mind, but you know completely, with your whole self. This knowing which is still you, not God or even a god, not the universe or any universe, but you. This “you” is spirituality.

Bass Solo

Now look up the definition of spirituality as all popular dictionaries define it. Here is an example, and see how wrong, confusing, and lacking of explanation the definitions are in comparison to the above:

World English Dictionary

spirituality  (ˌspɪrɪtjʊˈælɪtɪ)
n  , pl -ties
1. the state or quality of being dedicated to God, religion, or spiritual things or values, esp as contrasted with material or temporal ones
2. the condition or quality of being spiritual
3. a distinctive approach to religion or prayer: the spirituality of the desert Fathers
4. ( often plural ) Church property or revenue or a Church benefice

spir·it·u·al·i·ty [spir-i-choo-al-i-tee] Show IPA

noun, plural spir·it·u·al·i·ties.


the quality or fact of being spiritual.


incorporeal or immaterial nature.


predominantly spiritual character as shown in thought, life, etc.; spiritual tendency or tone.


Often, spiritualities. property or revenue of the church or of an ecclesiastic in his or her official capacity.

It really is no wonder that the word spirituality makes people like me cringe and the misuse of the word, or should I say the disuse of spirituality as the fourth sum of everyone’s three parts, is ruining its own chances. One very welcome benefit of living with spirituality realized within yourself is the independence of the self. Many people without understanding spirituality are too dependent on one or more of other people’s three parts, pulling and draining from them what their own body craves naturally, the greater sympathetic resonance of all three categories of self. In using the word resonance, it applies to the way sound energy resonates objects and causes them to ring at their resonant frequencies. Your three parts can be focused to ring at their resonant frequencies to the highest extent of their amplitude like three notes being played on an instrument, or like three instruments being played together in concert. Within each of us is a trio of musicians dying to play together the most beautiful music imaginable at the loudest volume. When they don’t it’s like your band sucks because they’re each only interested in their own terrible solo projects. So when you see somebody lacking in spirituality, don’t even try to talk new-age mumbo jumbo, just know that their band sucks, and no one is coming to their shows.

The Desolation Of I

February 21, 2014

The Desolation Of II stood on a drizzly night at a corner waiting to cross the boulevard contemplating the freedom and power of being alone, acting alone, choosing to be alone. Not truly alone without other people, but alone in the sense of following no one, moving ahead with conviction, and choosing not to be weighed down and held back by those who will not propel you further and faster through this world with your inner purpose at the helm, those that latch on to you to catapult them forward at the cost of taking away some of your inertia that ultimately needs no hangers on. While having these thoughts, I saw a multitude of doors left graciously open by me inviting others to come and join in on the ride, because if they could put in as much effort as I do (my common flawed assumption), the sum would be greater than all of its parts and quite remarkable to behold.
I felt the draft of all of those doors left open for so long that it seemed nobody was minding them as dozens of seasons passed with unswept piles of autumn leaves building up around the untended thresholds, damp with a staleness of disrespect. Doors began to slam shut, locked with a key, as I spoke the phrase, “The Desolation of I”.
Desolation has many meanings. One definition is a state of complete emptiness or destruction. I prefer this one over extreme sadness caused by loss or loneliness. Some people are incapable of sadness from loss or loneliness because they have transcended the reflex attachments of the ego that define the existence of loss and loneliness, that harbor the possibility of either loss or loneliness. On the subject of ego, the cause of all suffering, desolation of the ego with emphasis on destruction may very well be the goal or meaning of life that few will achieve before they breathe their last breaths. The sooner one can comprehend this and put it into action, the more enjoyable the life will be that flashes before one’s eyes just before it’s all over. Somewhere in that selfless life is a moment defining the whole purpose of being here, and if you blink you could miss it, keep on living aimlessly, and still die lost and confused after a life that felt too short.
A life filled with the depopulation of the self will not be the life one needs to escape while passing on to a better place. An ego ruled life will be a dissatisfied collection of regrets and painful memories of a wasted lifetime that needs to be relived just as the last grains of sand have run out, hoping for a new chance at all we so deserve but didn’t get, ending finally on some idea of happiness. Are we entitled to happiness? If so, why not make the simple correction within? To be unhappy is to be unwilling to be happy, mostly because of taking something so personally that it drowns you in an ocean of your own creation. All unhappiness can be dissipated in an instant by stepping away from the self and seeing all reasons for suffering fall into a loose writhing pile of parasitic creatures at a loss for a nurturing host.
One would do well to be comfortable early on not in fear of loneliness that brings on sadness, but instead the strength of being alone and requiring nothing for the self to want or need, just as it is in the final moments of passage from life into death. Happiness alone with the purpose as simple as the falling autumn leaf that helps signify the abandonment and disrespect of somebody else’s doorways that suddenly need to be slammed shut in the desolation of I can be the difference between life and death done right and life and death done with the intention to come back and do it all over again because you screwed it up so royally.

Stepping Away From Yoga

September 8, 2013


Yoga is the brain eraser. You don’t come in to a session with yourself in order to leave with more. You step in to let go. The reason you are even seeking yoga is because you have too much weighing you down that is making you ill or has made you ill and you now need restoration. If you are holding on and trying to gain and attain more just like you do in other aspects of materialist life, you have not only been wasting your time and energy but you have also only been feeding your ego the whole time, and most unfortunately not been engaged in yoga at all.
It’s not too late to start with proper and immediate results. The mind, not the brain, but the mind, which is where all of your thoughts exist that scheme, plot, plan, desire, lead to dishonest behavior and selfish habits just to show you what it means to be a typical weak human being among all other weak human beings, must be shut down, disconnected, and erased during each session with yourself. What happens when you do that? The body takes over, with its incredible intelligence, and healing and restoration take place.
And now the point of it all. If you’re doing it wrong, doing it while leaving the mind on and plugged in, with no erasing but instead with more accumulation, you will continue to become addicted and attached to yoga with no progress, no further results, for years and for as long as you live. To progress is to erase with each session little by little until the corrupt data is removed, the reason for seeking yoga in the first place is removed, you live each moment of every day with no weight of a corrupt mind corrupting the body, having with each session with yourself stepped away from yoga and stepped closer to yourself until you can finally walk again undivided and whole. Step away from yoga as you step in and see how much deeper you can live with yourself, what you have been missing in life.

Entrain Your Brain

April 19, 2013

Non-local ConsciousnessSomehow years ago I became aware of binaural beats and a vague connection to brain waves. Eventually the concept that meditation, its effects on the brain, the results of those effects in how reality is perceived, and the effects of listening to binaural beats, were similar—or linked in a way to have the same results—came into my general sphere of understanding. Yet, I really didn’t understand it, until now. It’s quite simple actually, so I’d like to explain it.

Since I’ve experienced both ways of getting to the same place, I’ll try to give you both perspectives, and I can say that both work well. I have specific blog entries that deal with how to begin meditating naturally, so I suggest to look there for details on how to do that. Since meditation requires zero outside technology and can be done in a natural environment with only your breath, and your mental focus, it is the clear winner here, and the most rewarding. Binaural beats require a playback device like an iPod and stereo headphones, as well as two working ears, so you’re going to need more than just your physical body as-is, but it is a great way for lazy people that just don’t want to do the work and prefer that others do things for them to suddenly have what looks like a brain that has been meditating. However, non-meditators may not actually be ready for the higher focus of a more synchronous brain and the effects at first could have you feeling like a spoiled child that didn’t get what he or she wanted for Christmas this year. If you fully accept what it means to have a newer, better brain, no matter what you think is happening, and you won’t meditate for whatever reason, strap on those ear buds.

I’ll begin by breaking down brain waves and ranges of operation within broad, understandable definitions. The good news is that brain waves are in a narrow band of low frequencies generally below 40Hz. Beta waves are the black sheep of the list, the ones you want to avoid; Beta waves may be the reason you should start meditating in the first place. From 13Hz to 39Hz, these are called Beta waves, usually associated with active, busy, or anxious thinking and active concentration, arousal, cognition, and or paranoia. However, beginning at 40 Hz and above to the upper limit of brain wave frequency are Gamma waves, associated with higher mental activity, including perception, problem solving, fear, and waking consciousness. Because Gamma waves are above 40Hz, these are not considered meditative ranges. Below 13Hz and down to 7Hz are Alpha waves, the realm of waking relaxation, pre-sleep and pre-wake drowsiness, REM sleep, and dreaming. From 7Hz to 4Hz are Theta waves, deep meditation and relaxation and NREM sleep brain activity. Below 4Hz is deep dreamless sleep and loss of body awareness, or Delta waves. For more detailed descriptions of these ranges, read this.

Way before I’ve tried binaural beats to stimulate my brain into certain frequency ranges, I’ve meditated with great success and the results were high creativity, constant sense of well-being with rational optimism, more detailed sensory feedback from all of the senses, and a strong desire to continue engaging in daily routines that promote meditation as a start to every day. After the first few weeks of aligning the mind into a flowing whole instead of a polarized two halves, you invariably have no choice but to experience your strong connection to everything around you and how the biggest, most obvious defining characteristic of your being is that you are here now and every millisecond is a celebration of that truth by the excitation of every atom or force field around you, including you. You can, for the first time, realize the existence of what some may term spirituality, and it also explains clearly that those who cannot acknowledge spirituality have not yet meditated successfully. Binaural beats don’t have that effect, and probably won’t get you there alone, but if a deep understanding of the universe without words to describe it is not your goal, you can still be highly creative, focus your mind into greater relaxation, rid yourself of anxiety, and prepare yourself for the richer organic experience. Since I am doing both, the experience is triple rewarding because I have the three experiences of organic meditation, binaural beat meditation, and both, or some may even argue that a fourth option is now open to me, none at all.

The experiential descriptives used in the list above are a good guide on how to meditate: want to put your brain into Theta wave ranges? All you have to do is breathe and still your mind while staying awake, not going into REM, and not dreaming. Some people only need that much information, and I may be one of them. For the rest of you, there is still hope. Binaural beats coax the brain into operating in these ranges through entrainment. The phenomenon called frequency following response allows binaural beats to be played into your two working ears, and the brain has no choice but to listen and to move towards the frequency of the stimulus, which in this case would be the range of the meditative brain wave frequencies. I will be creating and posting meditative sound files in the specified ranges of desired brain activity on the cloud for all readers of this blog to access and enjoy, all tested and approved by me with any detailed notes for the listener that I find noteworthy through my experiences with them. Since these binaural beats will also be dressed up in musical tones and recordings of natural sounds that I myself have captured, they may even be played during your daily practice without distraction.
Update: Here you will find a stream of a 30 minute Theta wave sound file. Be sure to listen with a relaxed focus, either with your eyes closed or in an environment that will not visually distract you. I find that lying on your back before sleep while listening to this Theta wave audio is very effective and allows the mind to easily move into restful REM sleep. An alternative would be to either sit in a comfortable meditative position while listening during the day and breathing with focus, eyes either closed or open focused on a point about 6 inches in front of you so that your surroundings are out of focus, or simply lying down as you would for a short nap but staying awake and aware. It is important to listen for the full thirty minutes without interruption.

You can download this file here to keep on your device without the need for streaming.

Better Than The Fist

April 14, 2013

FistWhat I find in general when deciding to add a new entry to this blog is a common impetus: a very simple desire to spread information to those who listen. Most readers probably see the words, take in what they choose, and either get stuck on concepts that apply to their personal lives, and discard the rest from any attempt at comprehension, or the remaining few listen, the people I write for, the individuals I write to.

In many aspects of life, whether job skills, goal management, discipline in any field, I find the same situation when problems and questions arise. I will summarize this recurring lifelong situation that echoes across generations with an analogy that concerns bow technique for cello. There is much distracting misinformation that actually bears almost no importance on bow technique, and anyone that plays a bowed instrument like a violin, viola, or cello will understand and agree with this: how you hold the bow doesn’t matter. However, when one is first learning or problems arise with tone, teachers tend to focus on students using a better hold, if not your best hold. Gregor Piatigorsky, a great cellist, has been reported to have broken his thumb on his bow hand right before a performance, and having no time to go to hospital, performed while holding his bow in a fist. Nobody noticed. People even complimented his tone.

A student may say to a teacher, “when you hold the bow like I do, it still sounds like you. If I hold the bow like you do, it still sounds like me. You must do other things that you haven’t told me.” And so, much of life is all of the things that people do that they haven’t told us. I’m trying to tell you all that I can.

When you take that personal, intuitive journey, pay attention to those small details that nobody tells you that make all the difference and actually have great importance. People will have to tell you something when they are in the position of giving advice or instruction. If the words aren’t simple and common sense, they are more often just rhetoric that becomes the norm, and you’re on your own anyway. Don’t be so quick to feel you need company or instruction. Clear your mind of all the daily, weekly, monthly, yearly clutter, and move ahead with confidence in yourself. Start with anything better than a fist and then listen closely—what you experience then is the only guide you need.

Turn Your World Upside Down

February 6, 2013

Proper movement of the body depends entirely on the manner in which you carry yourself. The feet carry the body and the body directs the feet. –Miyamoto Musashi

From Wikipedia: Miyamoto Musashi (宮本 武蔵?, c. 1584 – June 13, 1645), also known as Shinmen Takezō, Miyamoto Bennosuke or, by his Buddhist name, Niten Dōraku,[1] was a Japanese swordsman and rōnin. Musashi, as he was often simply known, became renowned through stories of his excellent swordsmanship in numerous duels, even from a very young age. He was the founder of the Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū or Niten-ryū style of swordsmanship and the author of The Book of Five Rings (五輪の書 Go Rin No Sho?), a book on strategy, tactics, and philosophy that is still studied today.

Whether you realize it or not,  the world in which we live is a violent place, with vast differences in gradations of violence spread across all society. The more you realize this even in the most peaceful of situations, the easier it is to accept the violence in our lives and live accordingly, not with resistance which causes more violence, but with understanding. Through our individual understanding we can be the diffusers of violence with the purpose of ending it altogether. To give you perspective of the most subtle violence I can now think of, much like the image of Dancing Siva standing on one leg on a dwarf’s back, the world we live in is set up to operate in a way that imposes structural violence onto every waking moment. This is fact, because we live in a world where money is everything if you want to participate, and although millions of people die of starvation and poverty-related circumstances, there are enough resources and technological advances present today on Earth to make sure every single person is taken care of with at least basic needs so that nobody dies. That’s just a start, talking about living and dying, but as we all know there is a large thing called life bookended by birth and death. The dwarf is us humans, and we live our lives laughing and smiling without even knowing the degree to which we are being stomped, yet we carry on with courage. It is no wonder that in the many gradients of violence we face not only psychologically but physically and eventually spiritually, violence toward the human spirit, that we feel we must do something about it. The teachings of yoga deal directly and comprehensively with this basic human need. Because we are all victims of violence, we all need daily care and attention from within to keep the life force as strong and as purposeful as possible.

In this entry I will focus on inversions. Some, but not all individuals will have fear of inversions that will stop them from being done. Others will be fearless, only to be challenged by physical inability at first and little by little the systems of the body will adapt and strengthen enough to hold inversion poses and experience deeper and deeper revelations beyond mere thought and motion, enriching the wisdom of being.

Some of the most subtle poses in which the heart falls below the hips even slightly or for an instant can be classified as inversions while keeping the feet on the ground. Let’s start with a pose that Beryl Bender Birch is known to say has all of yoga contained within it, Downward-Facing Dog Pose, or Adho Mukha Svanasana. It’s considered an arm support pose, and although your arm strength will be challenged, it is helpful to divide your attention among the arms, the legs, and their effects on the spine while breathing deep in the pose. Seeing these three sections of your body working together in this pose is one way not to get lost from the start, and a way to have a eureka! moment even after a long time just going through the motions. I’m willing to bet it is still Beryl’s favorite asana.

Downward-Facing Dog

Illustration by Sharon Ellis

With a neutral spine in position, the hip joint is in flexion, along with the glenohumeral joint, or shoulder, while the knees and elbows are in extension. Once these four main points are enacted, there are many subtle biomechanical adjustments for you to focus on with each inhalation and exhalation: an upward rotation and elevation of the scapula, with abduction for beginners and adduction for advanced students; external rotation of the glenohumeral joint; forearm pronation and wrist extension; ankle dorsiflexion, with the possibility of internal rotation of the hip.

Illustration by Sharon Ellis

Illustration by Sharon Ellis

Neutral spine alignment begins this pose, meaning deep extensors are working with precision to maintain spinal synergy. In the legs, while hip flexion is the desired result, the hip flexors are not what you want to activate to get you there. Instead, that large inner thigh muscle connecting the femur to the hip, the adductor magnus, internally rotates and moves the femur into position. The shoulder joint flexion is assisted by gravity, meaning the anterior deltoids can relax while the posterior deltoids externally rotate the shoulder joints. The scapulae abduct with upward rotation by activating the serratus anterior, shown along the ribcage in the illustration.

Collapse of the shoulder may feel imminent, but the triceps resist this in activation to extend the elbow. Sun salutations employ repetitive downward-facing dogs, and this can lead to injury if there is overarticulation in the wrists or elbows, or similarly internal rotation of the arm at the shoulder joint, so be sure what you do before you’ve hurt yourself unintentionally. The hands, as in the feet, must maintain their arch. Doing so in the foot is what releases the ankle in dorsiflexion, and the carpi radialis and ulnaris should activate to resist collapse of the hand, thereby integrating the whole arm through intrinsic action.

When breathing, understand that in an inversion the diaphragm is in a position that promotes deep exhalation. With focus on your breathing, your world literally has turned upside down: ordinarily, you are fighting gravity to exhale as your diaphragm is being pulled down toward your hips, while inhaling as deeply as possible is comparatively easier, subconsciously taking in easier than letting go or setting free. In an inversion, the opposite is true. This is your chance to exhale as deeply as possible, releasing and purifying, letting go and giving easier than taking in. Take advantage of these moments, these opportunities to do so, as they are less frequent and you have so much to give, so much to let go.

Patience Of The Ages

December 31, 2012


SagittariusYoga as a revelation of absolute truth to the individual through personal experience is its greatest attribute, but it doesn’t end there. Most disturbingly, most so-called practitioners don’t even get to the starting line to participate in the race, so to speak. If I had any say in the matter, I would like to change that. This would happen when one is lying prostrate, in full awareness with eyes closed in full relaxation; this only happens when one is no longer there, but everywhere, and everyone, no one person in particular. This happens without thought, so if you are thinking, you’ve failed. This happens in savasana.

zodiac-constellation-800x800One of life’s most important lessons may be the understanding that you are everything that you aren’t. What this means is that through your gifts of consciousness and physical mobility, you are in a very special category of life on this earth with choices of what you can do and not do, and you are responsible for every last one of them. You are not a rock, not a tree, not the wind, yet contained within you are all of these things and more; you are free to move on your own, unlike the rock. You are free to stand up and walk about, unlike the tree, and you are free to stand still in motionlessness, unlike the wind. You can be taken apart, deconstructed, to be like any of these things, and one day you will be. But right now, you are all these things and more.220px-Beit_Alpha


Remember that you are not you, you are not only the name and face used to identify you in society, you are everything, and your body is a magnificent gift given to you to free the rock and the tree and the wind to do the things they couldn’t do, even within our personal unique limitations. This gift will not last long, it will be gone like the flash of lightning that leaves its mark in an instant and recedes. Our lives can be summed up as lightning in super slow motion, advancing and receding, touching down onto the earth, rising up to the sky. Now go and do what you are meant to do on this earth.

Tomorrow will be the first day of the new year. I will be with roughly ten thousand other people at Coney Island beach in NY to jump into the ocean and float on the water while I contemplate all of the above and more not with my mind, but with my heart. Maybe I’ll see you there.