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.

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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.


Use What You Already Know

February 12, 2010

Unless you are a newborn baby, your hearing is biased by what you have learned over the years to be your hearing. Your hearing is your brain, combined with your ears picking up vibrations that your brain then interprets. You have learned over the course of your life what sounds are and what they aren’t, alongside a certain grey area of what you believe them to be, leaving more room for constant learning to continue to take place. If you were to ask yourself what sounds you consider pleasing, strengthening, soothing, comforting, etc., you will come up with a list that is pretty unique to you, although there can be an average mean where most people within a similar society with similar upbringing can agree with very similar lists. Thinking globally, this average mean cannot apply. Yoga being a philosophy and method developed in a very specific part of the world during a specific time in the history of man, the music considered┬átraditional to yoga practice will also be just that, traditional. In this modern world accepting the principles of yoga, we have a choice to follow tradition or not, and music is one. If the traditional sounds or lack of sound of yoga will stop someone from experiencing yoga, the principles of meditation concerning the isolation of the senses supercede the choices of external aural stimuli. Use what you know, what your ear-brain has already been trained to interpret as desirable, motivational, inspirational, empowering, calming, soothing, whatever you need to enhance your yoga experience. Only you can say whether a certain sound is beneficial to you or distracting. Even in silence we have a baseline noise floor of the blood pumping past our ears up and down our necks or a ringing that won’t go away. Even silence must be isolated from the senses to still the mind.

When sound hits the ear canal and vibrates the eardrum and the inner ear, a complex combination of bio-electrical impulses are sent to the brain where sound must then be interpreted. Sound is always open to interpretation. To say anything more distinct and certain about how one might react to a sound or collection of sounds entering the transducer that is the inner, middle, and outer ear, would be to begin making assumptions. If we zoom out as far as we can to make the safest of assumptions and still be guilty of them, we can say that we all know what rainfall sounds like, what thunder sounds like, or what the ocean sounds like. Although most of that may be true, you still cannot say with certainty anyone’s interpretation of these sounds but your own. I am making a bigger assumption right now by not considering that people may not have their hearing and therefore excluding all deaf and hearing impaired people. If I can say with certainty that I know what rainfall sounds like, and another person says the same, we can both agree that in our minds we each have a distinctly different concept of that sound that overlaps in a common area where we both share a similar memory of experience. But maybe my memory is the sound of rain on concrete and asphalt, or hitting a wood-shingled roof, or how it sounds from the inside of a car, while another person’s memory is that of rain hitting a tin roof, falling on bare earth, tree leaves and grass, echoing through a forest instead of off the sides of buildings. These are minor differences if our focus is the rainfall itself, but make all the difference if we are concerned with the way the rain falls, what it hits, and basically the reason that we hear it.

When sounds enter our ears, it is up to us where we have our focus while at the same time involuntarily drawing on past experiences to identify first where our choices of focus are. These are examples of not only why a silent yoga class can be a more focused yoga class, but also examples of how a properly constructed introduction of sound can benefit any experience, compliment it, or take it to a level previously unforeseen.