Graceful Anger

March 1, 2011

Anger is an emotion. We all get angry, and as healthy people, we should allow for anger. Anger is a visceral, energetic emotion that sometimes evokes physical involuntary action. It is at this critical juncture where anger can be harnessed and transformed into a healthier, more useful mode of action. The rewards are unlimited amounts of happiness and joy.

The best way to describe this is by attempting to envision a concept called joyful anger. The best ordinary example of this would be in physical sports in which you strategically drive your physical energy toward a goal of winning. In times of anger and related emotions, it’s easy to envision losing, or feeling hopeless because of the fear of losing in the face of anger.

It sounds so simple, it’s difficult, so you will have to meditate on these ideas if they are hard to grasp. I would even suggest bringing up anger that you are harboring below your mask emotions that you put on every day to function in society. It’s ok, we all have them, but we are at our happiest when we can manage them down to zero.

Think of your life as a programmed destination in a GPS device. The moment your life begins, it’s like pressing “Go!” and the destination on the GPS is your death. You are by nature programmed to fulfill your life destiny as long as you follow your true nature and don’t take detours from it. You can think of anger and the situations that bring up anger as consequences of taking a detour from the shortest, truest path. The GPS will automatically recalculate a new route to your destination, but it is at least one step removed from the easiest, original route.

What are the tell-tale signs that you’re doing it wrong? Anger can lead to other emotions  when not transformed into joy. Simply, if your behavior doesn’t outwardly exhibit pure radiant joy and boundless energy, then you’re doing it wrong. Anger will sap your energy before you direct that energy into determined joy. Then it can sap even more energy once you allow it to manifest itself as hopeless depression brought on by self-doubt and a pessimistic view of the presence of anger.

On the contrary, anger is the driving force behind innovation, progressive action, and previously unrealized creativity. Harnessing an emotion that for some is the source of power behind lifting objects and throwing them, punching things, or yelling at the top of one’s voice, is one of the secrets to life few understand. Use this resource and you can open new, unseen modes of action that define who you are.

Advertisements

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.

Suffering is directly linked to wrong identifications. Let us take for example the well known figure, Jesus Christ. It is important for all to understand that based on what Jesus Christ represents, if he were crucified, nailed to a wooden cross and left there to die, he did not suffer. The phrase “suffering Christ” does not make any sense to someone who truly understands the story of Christ. A figure like Christ knows exactly who he is, and has no wrong identifications or attachments, no fear of dying and death, and therefore no suffering.

Attachment is a source of suffering, a cause of suffering, and even an expression of suffering. The source of attachment is the desire for repetition of pleasure. This does not mean to put a negative connotation on pleasure and to restrict it. Avoiding pleasure, inviting pain, mortifying and torturing the body, these are all wrong identifications. In worshipping Life, loving Life, we use our beautiful senses and experience pleasure always, maybe for a moment, maybe for a fraction of a second. To seek these pleasures to be repeated, to want to capture the individual or object that has caused the pleasure in order to own it, possess it, dominate over it, exploit it, him or her, then we suffer.

There is pain in life, and it is unavoidable. You don’t go inviting it either. Pleasure is also unavoidable. If you run away from pleasure , afraid that it will excite, run away from pain, afraid it will create a permanent imbalance, you are destined for suffering.

Lastly, we are all conditioned to take care of our bodies so that we may continue living, clinging to the body, obsessing with the body, because we identify with this body as ourselves, who we are. Such a desire to cling to the physical body brings the fear of dying or death. The body becomes the center of all your attention, bringing no openness, no receptivity to open out to life, isolation from overprotectiveness. This is a kind of suffering that is the result of this inhibition of being infatuated with the body, obsessed.

To be more specific, it does not allow you to mix with people, to be with them, an inhibition in the movement of relationships, always being on your guard. Your image of yourself always has to be protected. This keeps you in a shell, weaving around you a nest of your knowledge, inheritance, ideologies, unable to receive anything new. This causes a clinging to the old, an inability to live creatively, to meet death as a culmination of the act of living, a fear of everything.

It may even be that alone and free to act on our own we do not display any of these characteristics, but in the presence of certain members of our family or acquaintances we are somehow forced to act along the paths of suffering, as a conditioned form of respect, or a difficulty to escape the suffocating grasp of a personality that dominates all attention like a black hole. A respect for old, obsolete ways of being that no longer have a place in the world of progress and enlightenment is disrespectful to all parties present, creating another dimension of tension and suffering the longer we allow ourselves to give in to it.

Once we are aware of all the paths leading us to suffering, and luckily they are few and easy to understand, we can see clear as day the habits and characters of others that create suffering manifesting before our eyes, and then we can also see them in ourselves. The obligations, distractions, and pace of our modern world is not enough to cloud this awareness, and the whole of life for everyone is waiting to be enriched by our wiser actions.

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.

Vernal Equinox 2010

March 18, 2010

Lucifer, most beautiful conductor of music in all the universe.

We on this planet earth with all of our unique differences have a myriad of things in common. As we approach this year’s vernal equinox for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, a notable change is about to take place on March 20 at 1:32pm like the node of a sine wave whose frequency is one orbit around the sun.
The change of the seasons is a rhythm that we adhere to and is inescapable. Curiously, we have four distinct seasons that when related to the passing of time are like the beats of the time signature of the music of our solar system on one side of the Milky Way Galaxy. Is it a coincidence that the most common and popular time signatures in written music today are divisible by or multiples of four? If our grand musical time signature is 4/4 with one measure lasting a year, we can fit any time signature variations we would like and synchronize with our given larger framework.
As individuals with different rhythms that have begun at the moments of our creation, we are given the opportunity to become aware together and adjust our tempos to accent as one this beat in the symphony that we write and perform. Like an orchestra comprised of every living thing on the planet, our celestial sheet music calls for every instrument to play a note in the key of life.

Meditation And The Eyes

March 6, 2010

I used to think without thinking that my eyes had to be closed in order to withdraw from sight or to pull back from visual stimuli with the intent to meditate. At first, this seemed to work, immediately giving me a dark backdrop much like a green-screen for my mind’s imagination to roam freely and fluidly in synch with the desired effect of my introspection. But it didn’t take long before I began to question this, suddenly feeling uncomfortable with shutting my eyes. Sometimes my meditations brought about such epiphanies that my eyes shot open in wonderment, and I wanted the workings of my mind to operate equally successfully in a biological awake state, meaning I wanted to feel more aware and awake, with eyes open.

Trying it, I immediately found it was easy. I would focus on the area just in front of my eyes, about an inch and a half from my face. As soon as I did this, it felt like I was disabling my vision, shutting off my eyes while still keeping them open and being aware of my general visual surroundings on a lower level without being distracted by them. I made my visual backdrop with eyes open just as distracting as the dark backdrop with eyes closed, and could meditate while feeling naturally more aware and awake.

Now I have an option to either keep my eyes open or to shut them, whereas in the past I would only rely on closing my eyes. Either way, concentration is the goal, and I’ve learned more about liberating myself from visual stimuli both inward to the eye and outward by ceasing to look.


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?