Start with what you call every day, normal thoughts, actions, perceptions. This is an idea filled with things we can all generally agree upon because we have all learned the names of things, definitions of surroundings, basically all that man has created for us in consciousness to refer to so that we may function in society as civilizations and cultures. Our modern way of living ignores the dimension of Silence or motionlessness. Meditation is a silence and an aloneness, a necessary self-education. If you were to still the body on the outside, stillness from walking, standing, running, sitting, you still must go deeper and still the internal movements. So, you put the body in a posture which is convenient, agreeable, enjoyable to the body and persuade it to be steady for half an hour.

Then you close your eyes so that the eyes make no contact with any matter outside the body. As soon as the eyes see an object, then your learned memory will turn up the name of the object, your attachment to the object, your likes, dislikes, prejudices, judgements, and so the movement begins, so closing the eyes is a help.

You abstain from speaking, something taught in order to function at school, at a job, communicating in public. When speaking is silenced, we do it internally, chattering to ourselves, trained to think, to acquire and organize information, comparing and evaluating, making judgements. The brain is always busy. We have become addicted to the movement of knowledge within us.

Sitting in silence, we are educating the brain to be free of that incessant movement of knowing, experiencing, accepting, and rejecting. Once you have tasted the nectar of Silence, then it does not matter whether you are sitting in a room or walking on a street, talking to people; the quality of aloneness, the quality of motionlessness, the freeness of thought does not get affected by physical or verbal movement.

Before you are living in harmony with non-knowing, stillness, silence, it may help to acknowledge who you are in this cosmos. Outside of the perspective of knowing, the man-made definitions of the cosmic life, there is no death. There is not Life, creation, and destruction. There is only emergence of creative energies and merging back, a cyclic movement. Remember that you are a newborn baby that does not yet know any of the ideas that man has put into your brain to fool you into knowing a false reality. You experienced this when you were born and it is still with you now as you strip away all of the things that keep you moving and addicted to moving. Not knowing is where Truth lies. The rivers and oceans and sky and land were here long before man came into existence, long before man gave these things their names, before there was knowing, and here lies the Truth. When you still your mind and body the Truth remains and in the Silence is Everything.


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Discernment in Yoga

May 5, 2010

There is at the core of Yoga, discrimination. One key thing to remember about yoga for yourself is that it is only about you and no one else, until you make decisions to include others into what may be your practice. Just as you may decide to include people into your life as friends or acquaintances, there is a process that each of us has that is a personal acceptance strategy. We all have our own reasons for acceptance or non-acceptance, and yoga should be no different, lest we prepare for distractions in our practice. Although the actions related to yoga lifestyle exude acceptance of everyone and love for all, it does not mean the inclusion of a level of comfort that invites lax behavior leading to a slowing or halting of growth. Through my personal yoga practice, I have attained everything I owe to yoga without the inclusion of another, by discriminating to keep all possibility of distraction in my power away from my practice. I am not convinced that a class setting can be as beneficial to a practitioner as this kind of practice where there is nothing to distract the mind, both conscious and unconscious. But this is my perspective, and others may vehemently disagree, and that is their path to take. The single most important step in discrimination I urge all to take is not to follow another’s move but instead to read and meditate and practice from a place within that is true and take the first moves forward from there. Yoga in the western world is being filtered through our culture and understanding of experiences that may or may not ordinarily exist without yoga. That sets up a lot of individuals for a misunderstanding of what yoga is, and it is very easy to have a class full of people utterly confused and in the dark. A common phrase these days is “to take yoga”, and is at the crux of this kind of misunderstanding, whether it is meant to be misleading or not, listeners are always interpreting and misinterpreting. I can go my entire life without taking yoga, because that is something I have no interest in. I must discriminate, however, in order to live and be yoga.

Resisting Yoga

April 25, 2010

Besides people who are frequent practitioners and people who have never tried yoga, there are also people who in the face of practicing, resist. I often hear that it is crisis that draws people to doing yoga, or to put it another way, yoga finds those in need. When bodies and souls have been neglected and become contorted and unable to operate freely without obstruction, asanas get right to the troublesome areas, expose them, and put the body in a position to begin healing. When I first began doing yoga and saw and felt firsthand all the physical, psychological, and spiritual benefits that less than 30 minutes each morning did for me, it was not difficult to suggest it to those who obviously could benefit the way I did. To my surprise, nobody I knew actually tried it or wanted to do it.

One day my mother was suffering from an upper back muscular discomfort that looked like a buildup of tension manifested into a shoulder knot. Days later I found about it, and it worsened to the point that her right shoulder was sitting higher than her left and she woke up in terrible pain. I immediately gave her instruction for tension-releasing movements in the area to massage the muscles back into shape. Ten minutes later she was beaming, ecstatic, walking straight, and so relieved that this wasn’t going to require a doctor’s visit.

If you resist yoga, you are only making a statement about your own inability to face something about yourself. You may not be searching for anything that yoga seems to offer, or you may be looking for them in other forums that are unfulfilling. One day yoga will find you and it will be your choice to listen or ignore.

Yoga Attitude

February 24, 2010

Before we all got brainwashed into thinking we need $75 yoga pants and $45 yoga tops and whatever commercialism that comes with yoga here in the West, old men in gauze diapers were the authority on Yoga thousands of years ago in silent daily practice alone beside their beds at the crack of dawn. Look through leading Yoga

Biological Infinity

publications today and besides the muted, benign, unassuming look of people in casual outfits bordering on Star Trek The Next Generation costumes, the newest infiltrating ads have no problem bringing the dance club into the yoga class. Butt-enhancing, butt-cloaking, high-technology fabric that makes it easier and more comfortable for you to…do Yoga?

Most people would agree that Yoga exudes a lack of attitude. This is wrong. To decide to do anything, let alone follow the principles, philosophy, and methods of Yoga, it takes sureness, conviction, fervor, and an attitude to follow through. Sometimes a lack of attitude can be the attitude. Many people walk around with an attitude problem and don’t even realize it. It doesn’t mean they are bad people, it just means they are not following through with their actions with the most beneficial attitude.

Attitude starts with the Self. Yoga ends with the Self. The two together are like a serpent eating its tail, a symbol for infinity. If the attitude that drives you through yoga is selfless, you arrive at the ideal agreement of a lack of attitude. If you inadvertently put yourself between Yoga and the way you practice Yoga, then there is an attitude problem; you have become your own obstacle and can’t even see it in your way, your lack of attitude becomes your attitude, and chances are that when you leave your yoga class you leave Yoga behind in the class as well.

I will not enhance my butt. I will not cloak my butt. I will not buy “yoga clothes”. I will not wear colors that look like I’m in a Bananarama video. I will do yoga in what I feel most comfortable. I will not let someone else tell me what I can and cannot wear or look like while doing Yoga. Before I do Yoga, I am doing Yoga. When I’m done with Yoga, I am still doing Yoga. I am Yoga.


The Look of Yoga

February 5, 2010

Let’s face it. Yoga isn’t for everybody. The reasons why are different for each person. A friend of mine states his reason simply by saying, “I don’t do yoga”. In a recent group conversation, this same friend was trying to convince everyone else in the group to do other things that in his mind are confidence-building, motivating, spiritual experiences. People began to reply after some consideration that they didn’t think what he was proposing was “their thing”. Everyone has their thing. Some people jump out of airplanes, drag race, hang-glide, fire walk, scuba dive, climb treacherous mountains. On some level, my friend was equating these kinds of things with yoga. Every time he said he doesn’t “do yoga”, with the conviction of choice, the more I saw he didn’t know what yoga is and doesn’t know what it is that he will not bring himself to do. He may even be surprised to find out he’s been doing yoga all along. I understand what it is he doesn’t do: he doesn’t carry a mat, he doesn’t buy yoga clothes, he doesn’t see himself fitting in with the look of yoga as it has been represented in the United States. Yoga isn’t for everybody. But if some don’t even know what it is, how can they be sure?

Rock, Metal, Yoga

January 31, 2010

Coming from the mindset of rigorous workouts building lean, hard muscle slowly over time, certain aspects of yoga poses are always a breath of fresh air for me. When I’m in the gym, motivational music can be very helpful to get through my workout goals.

When I’m learning asanas that are challenging, motivational music can have an equally beneficial effect. For example, one of my favorite poses is headstand. When doing headstand, ten seconds can be very strenuous if you concentrate on engaging multiple muscle groups while concentrating on the lift at the shoulders. I found that playing some of my favorite rock music at the time that only had 2-3 minute songs was a good way to get both motivated and encouraged by the attitude of the songs. I didn’t worry about how long I’ve been in the headstand because all I had to ask myself was whether or not a whole song went by to gauge time. Soon enough I felt confident in a good headstand posture without strain or uneasiness, and I didn’t need the music anymore, enjoying the silence within.

Sounds are around us always. You can close your eyes and block vision from affecting your mind as an outside stimulus, but how do you close your ears? When performing asanas or dhyana, choices can be made to include sounds or not. Even with the choice not to include sound, there will be sounds in our environment we have no control over. This contrast can be applied to your choice of sound to be considered. For example, I’ve made simple stereo recordings of waves crashing on a shore at night for the purpose of listening back when I was nowhere near a beautiful beach. This kind of sound is more universal than something like the sound of a piano or trumpet, and deep in our minds we have a closer connection with the sounds of the earth that have been there since before a piano or a trumpet was invented. The waves are soothing to my mind because I have learned through my experience with the beach to feel that way. Therefore, it is a good choice for me to include this facsimile of an outside stimulus to still my mind during meditation.

Music, in terms of what we buy to feel a certain way, doesn’t have to be the only kind of sound to consider or avoid when meditating or creating a mood. If your asanas are in need of outside motivation to push you through them, music that physically motivates will make it a positive experience for you. Or the sounds of birdsongs may have that affect on you. Everyone’s ear-brain is different because it is based on individual unique life experiences. Think about what soothes and motivates you in terms of available sound and ask yourself if you’re willing to incorporate that into your practice. You may surprise yourself.

Yoga And Sound

January 27, 2010

What sounds are appropriate for you while doing yoga? If you are in a class setting, the teacher may set the tone with no sound, meaning the instructor will not introduce sounds willingly, or perhaps sound is an integral part of the class, as in kirtan. Music is a very personal thing. Yoga is a very personal thing. I’m open to listening to any form of music, but maybe not so comfortable with someone else choosing what I listen to while doing yoga. Enter Metal Yoga.

My music of choice is Metal. And the philosophy behind Metal’s genre applies comfortably to my yoga practice. Those of us who listen to Metal understand that behind the aggressive sounds comprised of forceful drums, thick staccato guitars, and earth-shattering bass rumble, resides a place of inner peace and transformation of negativity into realizations of victory. Through Metal we turn anger into motivation to realize positive goals, and live in moments of self-empowerment through being surrounded by these sounds and feeling their energy.

Maybe simple droning sounds or relaxing tones, either natural or synthesized, are all you want and need for your yoga. Maybe yoga is just a thing you do for a set time with a certain frequency during the week, then you don’t think about it until you do it again. Or, maybe when you’re done and roll up your mat you are still doing yoga, walking, talking, working, going to bed doing yoga, dreaming yoga. It’s your choice. No answer is the wrong answer, no way is the wrong way. Your way is the right way.