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.

 

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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

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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.

The heat of the summer is finally upon us, and with this we are forced to wear less clothing in public. This is a good opportunity to feel good about your midsection when at the beach or picnicking in your bathing suit. If you’ve been eating properly and exercising regularly week to week as explained in Part I of this entry, your abdominals should look great or be well on their way to looking amazing, a model of health. If this is not the case, you know exactly why and what habits to cut out of your routine. I will begin to introduce some yoga poses and movements that specifically target the abdominals to build strength, stamina, and endurance to the midsection and surrounding areas. I recommend including one or two of these movements into your regular asana practice and putting them in rotation so you can experience all of these movements within a week and start the cycle again. I don’t recommend only doing these movements and no others as you will gain more benefit from engaging the entire body and including these to target the midsection rather than engaging the whole body and excluding these.

I am a big fan of the Side Plank Pose. Others may know this movement as the Iron Cross. The reason this pose is so powerful is that it challenges your balance, your ability to hold up your own weight on one arm at a time, and it targets the external obliques where things like muffin tops can form. It is classified as a basic one arm balance pose, so if you can’t do it, don’t be discouraged and keep trying; each time you revisit the pose, the body will have adapted and it will become easier with subsequent attempts.

Side Plank

Illustrations by Sharon Ellis 

Like most yoga poses that seem difficult at first, holding this position becomes easy when you find the neutral alignment of the spine and legs with the effortless structural support afforded by the arm position against gravity. If you enter this pose without the notion of struggling, you should naturally arrive at a pretty close approximation of how to hold this pose with minimal effort and therefore the least strain on maintaining balance. This exemplifies the simplicity of the pose, yet the difficulty of achieving it. Breathing can be deep in this pose, but this runs the risk of destabilization. Also, the use of abdominal and thoracic musculature in stabilization of this pose makes deep breathing difficult in side plank. By finding the efficiency afforded in neutral alignment from shoulders through spine, hips, and legs, minimum effort can be combined with minimum breathing that is not too shallow in order to provide the muscles with enough oxygen to hold the pose.

Great, but how do you get in and out of the pose? This is a challenge in itself! I recommend starting in a pushup position. Looking at the diagram above, imagine rotating the body so the chest is facing the floor and both arms are now on the ground holding you up. This moment is crucial, because just as the above illustration shows a neutral efficient position with minimal stress in any one specific location, so must the pushup position start in a neutral position where both arms hold up the body and the biomechanics of the skeletal system against gravity essentially hold you up effortlessly. This pushup position is called Plank Pose. So, to get into Side Plank, we momentarily start in Plank.

But what of the feet? This is another crucial point that must be explained or will cause problems. In an ordinary pushup position, your feet are hip-width apart, and this is where we start. Once you are balancing efficiently in Plank Pose with your spine down to your ankles in a straight line, begin to rotate the body to one side while lifting the opposite arm off the ground. Your feet will naturally rotate and your heels will fall to the side while your feet are still apart, and this will help stabilize you as you get fully to one side and lift one arm straight up to the sky. Once you are successfully in Side Plank Pose in an efficiently balancing neutral position, you can place one foot directly over the other as in the illustration. To complete the pose, turn your head in the direction on the lifted arm as shown.

Because I tend to challenge myself further, I like to add motion to the pose by slightly dropping the hips a few inches, carefully stretching the side that faces the floor while slightly contracting the side facing the sky. Then I bring my hips back up to a neutral position and symmetrically lift the hips a few inches, stretching the side that faces the sky, while contracting the side facing the floor. Do this while breathing smoothly and as deeply as balancing will allow. Then, drop into pushup position and balance on the other side, using the arm that was reaching up to hold up your weight, and repeat the hip dropping and lifting movements while breathing smoothly and deeply. You’ll know when you’ve had enough, and when it’s too much you just might fall out of the pose.

Boat Pose

My next favorite pose that sums up much of what yoga asana is all about and is great for targeting the abdominals is called Boat Pose. This one is particularly difficult for me because my legs are quite long in relation to my torso, and those of you with shorter legs and longer torsos may find this pose easier to some degree, so you can push yourself harder and get better results!

To perform Boat Pose, you will have to start by lying flat on your back with your arms at your sides. Breathe in smoothly and deeply for a few breaths while relaxing physically as much as possible and preparing mentally for exerting large amounts of tension for a short time. These two extremes of going from intense relaxation to controlled extreme physical tension is the essence of yoga asana, and swinging back and forth like a pendulum enables you to reach new, previously unexperienced realms of both extremes. Because yoga asana can be so intentionally strenuous and extremely relaxing, done regularly it can restore health and synergy to the human body where it may be lacking through dysfunction, revitalizing and renewing to a state of youthful strength and appearance.

Still lying flat on the ground and ready to exhale, the only place the body should now bend is at the hips. Keeping the spine straight and erect, slowly start to fold in the middle by evenly bringing your torso up off the ground and bringing your legs up at an equivalent angle. In the meantime, keep your arms in front of you and parallel to the ground. Once you are feeling secure in your balance and are aware that you are continuing to breathe without interruption, take this pose to the next level where you will reap all the benefits of abdominal strength and toning: tense up your abdominals as much as you can while making tight fists with your hands, tighten and tense up the muscles in your legs, and keep a steady breath. Become metal, become steel in this pose, and just as you previously relaxed and prepared for extreme tension, breathe and prepare for extreme relaxation as you are putting yourself into the most tense expression of your body in this position. It is not necessary to express any tension in the face, and it is not recommended to create or express extreme tension in the face, so be aware if you do this involuntarily, and learn to separate the two; expressions of extreme tension need not be expressed in the face at any time in any yoga pose, and throughout this focus and concentration you can carry this practice into other aspects of your life. When you’ve had enough, slowly come down evenly and return to the original lying position, and feel the new depths of relaxation you are able to achieve with the next few breaths. Prepare again and repeat, preferably for a total of 3 to 4 repetitions.

Shoulder Stand

Shoulder Stand is another pose that although is not directly targeting your abdominals like these previous poses, it uses the abdominals and back muscles together to stabilize the body in an inverted posture. The reason I am including it in this entry is that it activates the thyroid in the chin lock position and will push your metabolism forward out of a slump so you can burn extra unwanted fat in the body. The illustration below shows an unsupported version of the Shoulder Stand, but to begin doing this pose you will want to support your back with your hands, and therefore your legs can reach higher straight up, lengthening and standing tall while upside-down. Keep in mind that this pose is not called Neck Stand. Because the entire static weight of the body is resting in the muscles that raise, lower, and rotate the scapulae, these muscles need to be strong enough to support that weight, otherwise the cervical spine will be subject to what the shoulders cannot handle. A related pose is Plow Pose, and it has similar chin-lock benefits with added stretching of the spine extensors. Often, I will first attempt Plow Pose before Shoulder Stand, and in that order Shoulder Stand is both a relief and seemingly easier to endure.

To get into this position, you will start by lying flat on the ground on your back, and with an exhale bring your legs up by bending only at the hips. Now that your two halves of your body are at a 90 degree angle, with your arms at your sides slowly lift your pelvis off the floor and begin to bend your arms at your elbows to bring your hands to the small of your back for support. Continue lifting the pelvis until the hips straighten out once more and the only angle now is the one between your neck and torso at the shoulders. Your chin should press firmly against your sternum as you reach high with your feet and support your back tightly by reaching for the thoracic spine in the middle of your back. Breathe smoothly and deeply while pulling in the navel and activating the gluteal muscles. You should begin to feel the heat that this pose generates rather quickly, and before you come down out of the pose you can expect to be covered in sweat.

 There is a very effective isolation exercise called Prone Iso-Ab, in which you are in pushup position but instead of being on your hands, you are on your elbows so you are lower to the ground, creating a lesser angle with the ground and therefore more stress for the abdominals. The yoga asana that resembles this is called Dolphin Plank Pose, and it is essentially the same movement for the same purpose. Above is an illustration showing a similar pose, called Chaturanga Dandasana, creating the lesser angle not by being on the elbows but by remaining on the hands and lowering oneself down to this abdominal stress position. This pose is really just Plank Pose lowered down, and is actually called Four-Limbed Stick Pose, so you are transforming from a plank to a stick. Stay in this pose anywhere from 5 to 20 breaths at a time, finding first minimal effort to maintain the position without weakness. Then, just as in Boat Pose, attempt to ramp up the tension to become stiffer, most like a stick, and petrify yourself while keeping the abdominals in mind before you relax out of the pose momentarily, lie down, and begin a again.
Belly Twist

Finally, the Belly Twist, or Jathara Parivrtti, is a great way to end your abdominal stressor movements to tighten, shape, and tone that midsection. With the body supported by the floor and the main action provided by gravity, breathing method becomes very important to achieve specific effects. By choosing how to direct the breath, either to the abdomen or the thoracic structures as in mula bandha, extraneous muscle tension can be released from the lumbar region or the costovertebral joints. The twist although is in fact for the belly, the lumbar spine does not twist as it is extremely limited in axial rotation (5 degrees total!) A neutral spine must be maintained, meaning without lumbar flexion for example. Lumbar flexion during the rotation would put pressure on the lumbar vertebrae and discs, particularly loading the T11-T12 disc. Furthermore, spine extension would lift the far shoulder off the floor, compressing the brachial plexus, often resulting in a numbness or tingling sensation in the arm.

Belly Twist  Legs ExtendedWhen doing this Belly Twist with legs extended, there is more adduction of the top leg which can lead to more internal rotation, lengthening the iliotibial band, along with good stretches of the gluteus minimus, medius, and maximus, the piriformis, gemelli, and obturator internus.
Although it is true that this is not a complete and definitive list, it is enough to get one started, particularly at an easy level where most need to begin to sculpt and strengthen the midsection, which includes the spine. With the dietary guidelines from the previous post that tell you how to eat and not what to eat, one to two weeks of regular exercise and invigorating yoga moves like these will greatly surprise you, and quite possibly those around you. Spine health and abdominal strength are very important for sustaining life, and in the next few entries I will focus on specific poses not yet mentioned here that do just that.

Taking Control of Eternity

December 29, 2011

Time meant nothing to me, except that I was stuck in it. The concept of what one second was had to be altered and then forgotten, dissipated into nothingness. I knew civilization was always going to operate on grids of delineated beginnings and endings and these were drawn with hard, merciless lines that spilled onto pages of personal histories like unstoppable disembowelings, until the entrails of every dream ever dreamt by every innocent child that ever lived composed the unimaginable description of time’s arrow flung with immeasurable emotion from time’s dawn for us to keep watching, witnessing in horror, unable to look away while writhing in agony to somehow wrench our flush faces and blood-filled eyes to some scene of immaculate beauty and serenity where we can feel showered with the golden warmth of being smothered with love until our hearts can agree to beat no longer.

I decided to breathe. Breathing helped. A lot. I realized that by not breathing, the heart kept beating and it started to leave like a train that I had just missed at the station. The only way to get on that train was to breathe, but it had to be the right kind of breathing, otherwise it would just be a pathetic uncoordinated and jagged tumbling forward, like tripping with each step and just watching hopelessly as the gap between me and my heartbeat widened. I took a steady and deep breath. This was the answer, the only answer, and it liberated me from the constraints of my memory, my conditioning, my thinking of what time is and was, and it narrowed the gap, synchronizing with my heartbeat, and the extreme pain that I felt in the arc of the breath lessened as soon as it became greater than I ever imagined it would be. Once the relief came I pushed on by straightening my legs more and lengthening them from the hips to the heels and I took another deeper breath and there. It was gone. All of the pain and difficulty and torturous inescapability seemed to have vanished and I had the strength to stay right where I was forever. Forever until the heart would agree to beat no longer. I did it, I found the serenity and immaculate beauty, not to look upon, but to be a component of, experiencing it directly.

This was my private practice today. I didn’t look at any clocks until it was complete, and about an hour had elapsed. There were no sounds, no speaking, no interruptions, no distractions. There were instead the very unavoidable sounds, words, interventions, and adjustments of being fully alive.

Lidless Sight

December 25, 2011

“All things seen by the eyes are void.” — Bodhidharma, “The Blue-Eyed Barbarian”.

What do you do with your eyes? It’s a simple question that can be mind-boggling. How good is your eyesight? Better yet, how good is your vision? Let’s simplify the answers by talking about subjects and objects, two things that have to be present when talking about eyesight, and then let’s turn reality upside-down to get to the core of what vision is, beyond eyesight, beyond matter, beyond the limits and constraints of time and space.

The logical scientific mind is conditioned to think in dualistic terms of subject and object, but for our purposes it is imperative to understand that objects are not determined things, but possibilities for consciousness to choose from, and this unifies subject and object, eliminating duality. This will make more sense later on as we discern what is and is not the consciousness of possibilities. Science must now encompass both the subjective and the objective, whereas the subjective, or private, used to be ignored, exiled from science.

Seeing through previous barriers, something we have all experienced as an A-ha! moment, requires use of your vision, not your eyesight, and it is not constant but rather instantaneous and then fades away. I’d like to talk about learning to maintain that insight for prolonged periods, with the aim of making it last the same way people talk about living mindfully. I refer to this as lidless sight, like an eye that never sleeps and is always watching. If you’ve ever read J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, or seen the movie adaptations, it is like the Eye of Sauron, which is depicted in an evil light. However, fictional tales aside, a good historical representation based in human civilization is the Eye of Horus. The Left Eye of Horus is the feminine pathway of exploring the human nature of emotions and feeling, both positive and negative, and everything that is not logical. The Right Eye of Horus is the male pathway, the rational and logical. There is a middle eye, the Third Eye of Horus, which is simply life and the source of it all, encompassing all sight across all of time, and this is where we set the stage for what it takes to truly see the world as it is.

Now back to subject and object. Science today is still struggling as a whole to move toward solving all of the paradoxes that have arisen as we ask more questions and have no answers. If you know a little bit about quantum physics or care to learn about the inherent inability we humans have to use quantum physics to explain our reality the way we were able to do with the classical physics of our macroscopic world, you’ll easily stumble upon the brick walls that our materialistic monism has built for us thus far. This means science as we know it is built up on the idea that everything in the universe is made up of matter, and we are now for almost 100 years realizing that this is painting us into a corner, rendering us unable to make sense of questions like why 70% of the universe is made up of something we cannot see or detect, namely dark matter and dark energy, as it is termed. That’s right, I just said that if the universe is made up of matter, which physical science is based on, then matter as we know and perceive it makes up only 30% of what we have seen so far in our observable universe. This is a problem for science.

Forgetting about science’s problem, let’s move on to what you can do as an individual in your own life and with other people’s lives. It turns out that the solution here is the solution to the current big science questions, and may end science as we know it, and maybe even put an end to religion altogether in one fell swoop. If you’ve followed me so far, you’ll really appreciate this: have you been surprised by strange coincidences that seem to point toward communication of some kind between you and another person or a circumstance that brings new possibility and events into your life? I’m sure you have, and instead of discounting this as strange or just possible coincidence, accepting this as the true nature of reality will bring down the barriers of materialist world view that is limiting and based upon memories and ideas of the past. You can actually figure out what it is that you did to create that communication with the constant flow that is not static and brings with it new choices, new possibilities. You can manifest things seemingly out of nothing, which is very easy to do since almost three-quarters of the universe is actually nothing.

If you’ve meditated before, that’s very good because meditation stills the mind. You need to be able to still the mind for just an instant to manifest new possibilities in your life. Think of it like training for months for a boxing match, and after all your intense long conditioning before the match, you always win with a magical left hook or uppercut knockout. Your brain and thinking won’t get you anywhere with this. This is the world of instinct, or intuition. This answers the question of what to do with your eyes as well. Your eyes are for seeing with the aid of your brain, and that is just a small slice of reality; use them for seeing, but by using your vision instead of sight, by shutting down your brain and going inside instead of outside, here is where the answers lie. Behind our eyes is the eye of consciousness, and that is who we really are. We don’t choose in the individuality of our ego. In the cosmic consciousness where there is no personal individual investment, where there is objectivity and no playing favorites, there is the place where decisions are made, and they are limitless.

Remember that every waking moment you are at risk of falling back into your conditioned way of thinking about what reality is, and everything your eyes see with your brain triggers memories that bring up past experiences in that entire filing system that is your brain. This is not the way to lead your life to make choices, except for mundane and limited choices that you have already experienced. This limited ego consciousness is called local consciousness, and it is what you use to interact with the material world that looks normal and comforting to us, which is fine for everything normal and comfortable — and boring and stagnant. Choice happens from non-local consciousness.

You have to be in an altered state of consciousness to manifest intention, and intention is called non-local communication, or quantum non-locality. See, there was a reason why this entry started with a scientific air to it. The non-local consciousness collapses similar events in two brains, two instruments that themselves are only the processors of consciousness, and this happens because through their intention the two brains become correlated, non-locally, and communication is made without any electromagnetic connection, making it cosmic.

Cosmic awareness is being in the present, and this is a phrase many people use and don’t practice or even understand. Beyond our conditioning is creativity. Outside of our ego we have free will. Intentions do work, but not ordinary ego intentions. Make your intentions based on non-local consciousness, and they can come true. If the intention resonates with the intention of the whole, also called the divine, then the intention will manifest. Now go, and manifest your new, creative world of limitless possibility.

In Part I, we established that the mind controls the body, and that you have complete control of your mind. Whether or not you take responsibility for the control of your mind is up to you, and any and all results ultimately will rest upon the application, use, or neglect that you exhibit. Attitude is the arrow launched after the purpose has been decreed.

The next step takes us outside of the mind to bridge the gap between the intention and the enacted result. This is assessment, and the ideal is objectivity. This is a difficult and shaky bridge for many to traverse because it is fraught with manifestations of personal subjectivity that lead to destructive criticism, lack of confidence, pessimism, self-doubt, and ego battles. If you truly understand that one simple sentence you just read, then you can move on triumphantly over this bridge and watch the bountiful rewards of positive assessment grow to their ultimate potential in this step.

Assessment is a basic, dry, no-nonsense procedure that is ongoing and unweighted. If it isn’t that, it is ineffective. If your two first steps, attitude and assessment, or just one of them becomes inefficient or ineffective, you will be one of the majority of people that call themselves old and try to corral others into talking and agreeing about their collective oldness. So keep it simple, keep it unweighted with thoughts and judgements that are sabotage, and do the following with optimistic joy.

Forget your past history about your physical existence in this body. If you have historical precedents about  what you can’t do and will never be, throw them out now. These will weigh you down and are loot bags for the pity party. When you look at yourself in the mirror, take note of how much space your body occupies from the bones that hold you up to the outer layer of skin that you can see. Make realistic notes for yourself about what the next step is from here so that when you get to that next step and see yourself in the mirror you will be poised for making a new note about the next step after that. These incremental steps should be able to be met by you in timeframes no shorter than a week and no longer than 3-4 weeks. Any other steps that fall outside of this range are either unrealistic or impossible to keep track of and will prove ineffectual and a form of self-sabotage.

Your physical form in this world is a highly malleable one. There are more soft parts on our bodies than hard parts, and all the soft parts can change shape and can be under your control. If you’ve never taken control over your soft parts or never considered it as a power you have, now is the time.

Understand that you are what you eat. If you go about this with an eating disorder your body will look disorderly. After assessment you can now empower the direct results by being discerning with the quality of materials you use to build your structure, to create your physical representation of the art within. In the next part of this series, we will discuss being the gatekeeper of the entryway that makes or breaks your physical body.

Hair Metal

September 25, 2011

What’s more Metal than long hair to go with your black jeans, band T-shirts, and guitars and amps or drums? Yes, hair can be a source of power in Metal, and even though these days short-haired rockers are being accepted in all genres of Metal probably because they don’t look good in long hair (too curly, pouffy, frizzy, etc.) or they’ve simply just gone bald, I remember the days when you had the long hair or something just wasn’t quite right (you weren’t really Metal). Let’s face it, if your hair is anything like Justin Timberlake’s and you think you’re in a Metal band, and you may very well be, nobody is going to say anything but we all know it–you just don’t have the look.

Where am I going with all of this? Believe it or not, it goes back to Yoga, stressing not the physical, but the mental. Yoga is a mental discipline that allows you to lead the body with the mind. Through this, there is a spiritual awareness. Yoga brings strength to the practitioner.

In the biblical narrative of Samson and Delilah, Samson inevitably loses his strength after he mistakenly, probably with trust, tells Delilah the secret to his strength. What he didn’t know killed him. He didn’t know that Delilah was hired to win him over and find out exactly that secret. Samson was definitely not a Yoga practitioner.

I am a lot like Samson. My long hair is not the source of my strength. At this point in time, my hair is the longest it has ever been. My hair is exactly as long as I have been practicing Yoga. In that way, my hair defines my yogic experience without having to make it blatantly obvious to anyone. At the time just before I discovered Yoga, I had a haircut known as a Mohawk for three years. At the end of that hairstyle run, I had become deeply aware that those three years marked how fresh and exciting a Mohawk was when I first wore it, and then how ridiculously played out it had become, and I had to eliminate it from my persona. I shaved my head. Samson took the Nazirite vow of dedicating his life to the full-time service of God. One requirement was that his hair never be cut. I vowed to grow my hair as long as it would get. I started learning and experiencing Yoga.

My hair continues to grow. I’ve been told it is beautiful. Women are envious of my hair, its texture, its color, and other things I just don’t understand. I’ve had longish hair since about 20 years ago, and people who haven’t seen me in ten years say I haven’t changed a bit, not knowing I had regular, Non-Metal, short hair for most of that time. I always felt a spiritual awareness and peaceful understanding throughout my life for as long as I can remember. These Metal Yoga days are just a deliberate focal progression of who I was, confident in who I am. Yoga was not something I needed to find to heal me or guide me to the other side out of some crisis. Yoga was there, however, at a time when I decided to heal myself physically out of poor food habits and a high body fat percentage. I already knew how I was going to do what I needed, and Yoga was thankfully an added bonus that I could revel in and experience without any judgement or expectation. I am fully aware of everything that Yoga did for me then, and what it does now.

I attribute my great feats of strength and endurance to Yoga. When I was on a weight loss cycle (I am now on a weight gain cycle) I got down to 150 lbs. I considered this my limit and didn’t want to lose any more weight. My metabolism was running so efficiently, however, that if I worked too many hours and didn’t eat well enough to feed my body with healthy food, I’d end up losing weight. This is what happened when one week one summer I dropped from 155 to 150 lbs. Even so, at this weight I was able to do things like deadlift sets of 15 reps with increasing weights of 135 lbs., 185 lbs., 225 lbs., and finally 275 lbs. The really amazing part was that Yoga gave me this mental acuity of how and why we are all here, and an easily accessible dialogue with what some call the Cosmic Intelligence. Being very strong and therefore making my body physically thrive in every way (and I mean in every way) was just an unexpected extra. Let’s face it, there’s nothing special about lifting heavy things in a gym; lots of people do it all the time, and are better at it than I am. The difference is in what you don’t see.

People tell me all the time that they have found God, or Jesus is in their hearts. What they are actually saying is that they have realized how to be the best person that each of them could be. Religious rituals mean nothing when one makes such a statement. The proof is that if you haven’t had the realization, participating in the rituals of any religion will have no effect on fulfilling your life’s destiny. Samson’s destiny was to deliver Israel from the land of the Philistines. The more he strayed from his destiny, the more suffering he endured because of it, and his ego was the source of it. Delilah was the last harlot that his selfish lust brought him to before he had all sense of self taken from him. This, ironically, was what saved him and his destiny.

Luckily, if Delilah cuts off my hair or even obstructs my Yoga, I won’t be defenseless to my attackers who aim to put my eyes out and bind me with fetters of brass in a prison house. But if she aims to be in direct conflict with my dharma, life will be a detention facility where I will remain powerless, reduced to something I was never meant to be, criticized and demoralized for giving away my secret to the wrong person, the one person I thought I could trust the most. How Metal is that?

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.

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.