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.

 

The Living Corpse

January 20, 2012

“You’re just dead people that didn’t die yet.” -Louis C.K.

When was the last time you asked the question, “Are we not all titans and giants, imprisoned in hell”? If it’s been a while, or maybe never, after reading this entry you may want to ask it every day upon waking. Before I get into discussing more physically demanding musculoskeletal postures that are sure to invigorate your neurofascia, I’d like to take a moment to work backwards from what is the most important part of why you got into this whole yoga business, Corpse Pose. In terms of classification and level, it is all about perspective. As a matter of fact, your perspective will either take you on an amazing journey in Corpse Pose, or it will not move you at all, maybe even have you taking a short nap. In other words, it is you, your perspective, your personal involvement, the things that are internal and in the realm of nonshareability among others that will make or break this experience, leaving you fully responsible for what you get out of it. If it doesn’t work for you, it’s not the yoga that didn’t work, but it was you who didn’t show up to the party; depending on your perspective, therefore, lying there like a corpse after your self-imposed intense physical and mental stresses can be very easy if you understand that you are now uniting your mind, heart, and body in a scared trinity that project spirituality as they are overlaid, or it can be very advanced and difficult as you struggle with wondering, questioning, being lost, missing a connection to yourself, and only being able to view it externally as you lie there on your back and breathe. Perspective is what we have as our secret weapon to change absolutely nothing in the physical world around us, the external, yet by changing the internal, suddenly everything changes and the entire existence of all things from our earliest memories to the most now moment is different, in an instant.

Photo courtesy of BonesBob

What is working on your body in lying there as if you are dead, as you can imagine, is gravity. Ah, the ever mysterious gravity, that scientists still cannot grasp fully as a concept in context of our world from the very large down to the infinitesimally small. But you can lay there and ponder it with your mental focus, because, alas, you are not dead, yet. To reiterate the driving force that is your vehicle through your liberating perspective, whatever “gymnastic” demands your immediately prior asanas make on your body in terms of strength, flexibility, and balance, your new challenge here is to release all of the tension from every part of your body AND your mind; if you get this one wrong, you may fool others from a distance, but you’ll know if you are trying to fool yourself or you have been successful in letting go and thereby coming into the full embrace of not just this or that, but all that is. Atheists beware, this may be the most dangerous pose for you, unless of course you are interested in transformation and change. From my personal experience and perspective, the religion in which I was brought up had its own form of Corpse Pose, except you were expected to do it on your knees with your back unsupported, and with your hands folded in prayer in front of your heart. I don’t know about you, but I found that a lot more difficult.

So, what challenges do you face, with your little mind that is definitely going to be flitting about like a little moth in an almost empty closet, looking for that one forgotten wool scarf on a shelf in a corner way in the back, in the dark? You may have a problem with fully relaxing because you think too much about your body. The first thing you will struggle with is that what looks like you lying there symmetrically with your legs and arms straight, palms up, feet falling outward, may not feel symmetrical as your curvy parts of the backside of your body make contact with the floor. Just surrender to the fact that what you may be feeling proprioceptively (the information being relayed to your central nervous system about your environment) may not initially line up with the fact that your body is indeed positioned just right. This way you are now ready to achieve a deep state of emotional and physical relaxation. If you have body issues, meaning you have difficulty or inability to accept your body as it is, this will be the primary reason stopping your progress. You need to accept your body as it is, and not how you wish it to be.

Savasana

You will be breathing, concentrating on your breath, meditating on your back as you release and forget about your body once each and every part of it has been accounted for and systematically relaxed. You’ll know you are there when you get to that last area of your body and relax it; your mind will search for any remaining areas of the body connected to it that still require relaxation, and in finding none, you will feel both weightless and free, while still being in full participation with gravity as you feel your heavy body sinking into the floor as if it is ever more becoming softer, more accepting of your weight, wanting to get closer to you, one with your body. This deep state of conscious relaxation is different from sleep, so don’t sleep! If you can imagine how you breathe when you sleep, in other words breathing without controlling your breathing, that is your goal. Be fully aware of your breathing while not controlling it. The reason for this is your breath has a natural rhythm, and you have to let it run wild in that rhythm. When you are too aware and control your breathing, you cage it, altering its natural rhythm. Set the breath free and let it run wild, and you yourself will step out of your cage and run wild.

How long should this go on for? I like to generalize it to ten minutes, but I obviously don’t set a timer or look at a clock. You know what ten minutes feels like, so prepare for that. Just like all other asanas, when you know you’ve had enough, you just know. Good indicators that you are ready are experiences of having been fully released from conscious, mundane, egocentric reality for a time frame that naturally makes you want to jump back into life as if you have just been reborn into your body to start new. Your mind will start to nudge you to want to come back into being and have new levels of optimism and enthusiasm for the possibilities offered to you in this life. When the physical relaxation feels complete and complimentary to your physical demands that have come before this time, and the mental and emotional release have peaked and come back to a resting state, all three of these aspects will come to a synergy like three key aspects of yourself resting at the bottom of a deep bowl. Your eyes will naturally want to open; the smile on your face is optional.

In the search for pleasure of the senses, there are dangers that come with it. In sutra number 1, the Buddha preached Kama Sutra. Kama refers to aesthetic and erotic pleasure. On the list of the “four main goals of life”, Kama comes in third. In order of importance are Dharma (virtuous living), Artha (material prosperity), Kama (aesthetic and erotic pleasure), and Moksha (liberation). So, simply interpreted, first and foremost live virtuous lives. Make all actions fall into this category. Second, while living virtuous lives, earn a living in which you can support yourself. Third, experience the pleasures of the senses. Lastly, release yourself from the cycle of death and rebirth.

The first three are aims of everyday life. Are people running to Yoga for better sex? Are Yoga enthusiasts in the West lacking some kind of fundamental cultural and psychological framework in which the American way, for example, doesn’t work for their lives and Yoga is going to fix it? Or are they just looking for something to do a few times a week because they are barely engaged in any physical activity and have no hobbies, following trends as they come?

Better sex is a selling point for Yoga, and Yoga is an increasing business that can command high prices. People have had emotional, psychological, physical, and other problems before it was cool or an option to introduce Yoga into lives to improve quality of life, so why Yoga, and why now? These days, what isn’t a selling point for Yoga, and why not sex? After all, isn’t the Kama Sutra a book about human sexual behavior describing 64 different sexual acts as practical advice on sexual intercourse? Maybe, but I’ve never read it, and my sex is just fine, thank you. But, today’s Yoga sex books are flying off the shelves and the authors tend to be women. Ellen Barrett, author of Sexy Yoga, says, “Yoga increases flexibility, which helps you be free and just go for it in sex.”

Let’s go over what some of the supposed benefits of Yoga are in the sex department. Some poses increase blood flow to the pelvis. If you live a lifestyle in which you are worried about your blood flow to your pelvis, maybe Yoga has the power to transform your physical sexual experience. Blood rushing to your privates not only makes them hot but causes a swelling sensation, heightening sensitivity and desire. There are other aspects in which the pelvic floor can be strengthened, which can play a crucial role in how sex is experienced. Apparently, women experience more intense orgasms with stronger contractions and releases as a result of a well-conditioned pelvic floor. The relaxation from releasing tension after inducing it through asana can relax the hips of women who otherwise have hip and thigh tightness that can make sex tough for them.

Mentally, or psychologically, Yoga allows one to be more comfortable in vulnerable positions. Sex or the lack of sex can stem purely from a psychological point of interest, and for some, Yoga can be just what the doctor ordered. Yoga practice helps in improving one’s sensitivity; breathing exercises can help overcome anxiety. A person relieved from tension and stress will actively participate in sexual activity, even with refreshed vigor. Ian Kerner, PhD, a New York sex therapist and the author of Sex Detox, says, “You can’t worry about work, money, or unfolded laundry when your frontal lobe is focused on a reenactment of the train scene in Risky Business. To tune in to a sexual experience, you have to first turn off the parts of your brain associated with stress and anxiety, and fantasizing is the most effective way to accomplish that.”

Kundalini Yoga, often called the most powerful type of Yoga and the mother of all Yoga, seeks to awaken a powerful point at the base of the spine called the Muladhara Chakra. The region of the body referred to as the Kundalini region is located in males between the anus and testicles and in women between the vagina and clitoris. Power and equality for both sexes form the elemental source of all energy when united, Siva the masculine and Sakti the feminine. The union doesn’t take place at the genital region, but in the brain. The rise of Kundalini energy up the spine targets the nervous system which is the pathway between the brain and the body, helping to eliminate negative feelings like jealousy, anger, depression, and sorrow.

Overall energy levels can be improved, harnessed, and accumulated through Yoga in general. With more endurance and fortitude, your body will be able to engage in long sexual activity without tiring. A tired person without the desire for sex may only be lacking the energy reserves to deal with sexual activities. With this comes an improved fitness level and an awareness of potential capacity. Posture is greatly improved along with balance, leading to greater muscle tone and a higher response during intercourse, translating to a better sex experience. A stiff and flabby body is limited to what experiences are available when having sex.

Even those who aren’t getting any sex may think yoga can be a good substitute. Classes have an analogous structure to sex: there is an easy, pleasing mood upon entering the room, a building intensity through asanas into poses that may become more difficult, a sweaty, overheated phase, then a nap at the end. The social aspect of yoga classes can be the closest thing to having sex with strangers without actually having it. Then there’s Hot Nude Yoga. I’ll let you use your imagination.

Nobody’s perfect, and nobody has perfect lives; there has to be a challenge. Each morning is a new gift of a new day for each of us to experience, and with proper time and goal management every day can be filled with time periods allocated to living life fully and happily. This means we lead virtuous lives, prosper, enjoy aesthetic and erotic fulfillment, and become liberated. We can all do it. It’s why we’re here.