Make love the only answer in 2014

Today I had the chance to practice here in Mysore next to Laruga Glaser and feel her amazingly focused energy. It was at the same time sharp and smooth feeling from consciously performed movements. Strong, deep breath. This came to my mind: The Queen of Vinyasa! ¬† ūüėÄ

Walking home from the practice I¬†couldn’t help remembering what Laruga just posted about seekers of truth and how to measure your evolution (read the post here:¬†¬†http://peaceloveyoga.blogspot.in/2013/12/holding-space.html?spref=fb). She spoke about how to love more openly and wholeheartedly.¬†I was thinking about her words and I realized that ¬†it was actually exactly what I’am hoping for the next year. For the whole world, for my family, friends, students and for me.

But how to love more openly? Through many years of yoga practice I’ve come to realize that yoga is love in action and that’s where the practice’s fruit can be tasted. The daily practice gives us clarity, awareness and strength to act. To act in a loving and positive way instead of reacting to our own fear of being rejected. Yoga makes us stronger to show our love to people unknown or even hostile to us.

What if instead of loving secretly in our hearts and keeping this feeling for ourselves, we expressed our love openly? And what if we just did something good and loving to people who don’t probably like us and took the “risk” to get hurt in 2014? Could you take that risk consciously even one time every day? Could you show what comes from your heart no matter what you get back?

It would give an immense strength to ourselves and the whole world:¬† at least 365 loving steps per person to grow in love in 2014. Let’s make the New Year Resolution to express our love more and to put love in action every single day!

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Photo by Minna Nuotio

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Crystallizations

Photo by Bill Brundellblog-silver-gold

Yesterday, strolling in Lakshmipuram we ended up to sit on the stairs in front of¬†the Guruji’s old yoga shala. My friend, Elina, who never met Guruji, asked me: “How was Guruji like?”

The first image and feeling that came to me was a golden cloud. Then an interminable golden river running under the light with bubbles of joy.

Then I had another image. It was about Sharath. Sharath is like a laser beam or a very bright, silvery star. His light is white.

The Christmas Day is the birthday of a luminous being. Same light, different manifestations.

CRISTALLISATIONS

Hier, en nous baladant √† Lakshmipuram, √† Mysore, avec mon amie, Elina, nous nous sommes trouv√©es devant le vieux shala de Guruji. Je m’assayais sur les marches du b√Ętiment avec un brin de nostalgie. Entour√©es de cette √©nergie, nous avons parl√© de de Guruji et Sharath,¬†et Elina m’a pos√© une question: “Il √©tait comment, Guruji?”

Sur le coup, j’ai eu une vision d’un immense nuage dor√©, et ensuite d’une rivi√®re d’or, courant interminablement sous la lumi√®re.

Apr√®s, j’ai eu une autre vision, celle de Sharath. Sharath diffuse une √©nergie d’une √©toile argent√©e ou bien d’un laser bleu.

Aujourd’hui, nous f√™tons la naissance d’une lumi√®re. La m√™me lumi√®re, diff√©rentes manifestations.

VALOT

Eilen lounaan j√§lkeinen minun ja yst√§v√§ni Elinan tie kulki Gurujin vanhan shalan pakeille. Istahdin portaille leppoisaan nostalgiaan. Elina kysyi: “Millainen Guruji oli?”

Se mitä välittömästi koin oli valtava kultainen pilvi ja sitten näin kullankeltaisen lempeästi ja pulputtaen virtaavan joen.

Minulle Guruji oli sulaa kultaa. Sharath tuntuu kirkkaalta tähdeltä, jonka valo on voimakas ja energia on kuin sininen lasersäde.

Tänään on yhden valon lapsen, Kristuksen, syntymäpäivä. Anna valojen loistaa joka lähteestä ja salli oman valosi ilmetä vapaasti!

Narasimha on the domains of awareness

Tasya saptadha prantabhumih prajna (Yoga Sutra, II.27.)

Chitta can have 7 domains of awareness.

Tapas Svadhyaya Ishvara Pranidhana Kriyayogah (Yoga Sutra, II.1.) Рthis sutra comprises the practice of yoga. It is to get away of conditionings and patterns of the mind. What to do to achieve that? Tapas Svadhyaya Ishvara Pranidhana, for the purification of the body and senses.

A human being has 5 senses to go out to perceive the object, 5 senses assisting the object by the Seer + 5 motor organs to know the object better.

The inner conscience consists of Buddhi, Chitta, Manas and Ahamkara.

Ahamkara (ego) is basically genetic, it defines your personality. It evaluates everything with stored experiences. Memory + present sensation = individual reaction.

To know object objectively, senses must be perfect, otherwise Viparyaya (wrong knowledge).

Feeling becomes generic, instead of personal (I want because I like or I don’t want because I don’t like – selfish reasons) -> you accept personal pain, because it’s for a larger purpose.¬†‘I-ness’ is associated with objects. ‘Am-ness’ means you know you exist, but ‘I’ doesn’t exist.

The domains of awareness are:

1. Understanding what brings you pain –¬† and then reject it.

Information when understood becomes knowledge. But to pass from knowledge to awareness is not easy. You know that smoking is not good for you, but still you smoke. Gradually you start avoiding misery.

2. Understanding of what is the source of each misery or of a happiness that ends to a misery. Joining + separation necessary, otherwise misery. Not allowing attachment or obsession. Know how to create harmony.

3. How to withdraw the mind from the senses? The Sadhana Pada speaks about this.

4. You stop the mind running to places. You control it. You take care of consciousness. You are not temptated by external things.

5. You feel self-satisfaction. Your action becomes selfless.

6. Your consciousness becomes¬†Sattvic. Then you can’t be unrighteous. Whatever you do or say is for the evolution of yourself and others.

7. Atmasthiti = the Self is distinct from the body and the mind.  I-ness disappears, am-ness remains.

When you are close to Samadhi, time flies in meditation. When you are far away from it, you have thoughts, you are waiting for time to pass and time feels long.

Any happiness is Sattvic. When you start to analyze it, you lose it. It becomes mental.

Our core center is happiness –¬†Ishvara.¬†When two happinesses meet, we feel it. Instability makes us look for stability. Once we find the most stable entity in us, we don’t want to go out: Let Thy Will be done.

Intellectually structured patterns vanish and appears¬†what’s the most appropriate solution, spontaneous, right action (Rtambhara tatra prajna, Yoga Sutra, I.48.) and the gap between input and output becomes smaller.

If we go to the source in the Darshanas (spiritual systems), each of them speak of the same thing specifically, from one point of view, not universally (Pratibhad va sarvam, Yoga Sutra, III.34. ). All of them are true. All the religions have same ingredients, but one ingredient is dominating. In Hindou religion devotion and surrendering are dominating.

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Conference notes

NOTES FROM SHARATH’S CONFERENCE ON THE 22TH OF DEC

Tapah-Svadhyaya-Ishvarapranidhanani-Kriyayogah (Patanjali Yoga Sutra, II.1.)

Tapas means austerity. It means to lead a disciplined life.

Yoga practitioners (don’t talk about yogis) should get up early in the morning, follow a vegetarian diet and get early to bed. You should be able to maintain the discpline.

If you party in the night, you will struggle in your practice, because your mind is not focused.

Why should we follow strictly these guidelines? The mind is either focused or distracted. By an undisciplined life, the mind gets distracted and it’s impossible to go further in the asana practice.

Svadhyaya Рselfstudy. You do your practice, teacher teaches and you think the whole day what your learned from him. You do your own research. Yoga books and yoga knowledge help us, but the student should put effort to understand. You can study and never understand even if you come 30 years to Mysore if you just hang around after your asana practice.

Asana brings calmness to the mind. If it’s not done properly, can bring aggressivity. We study the three limbs,¬†Yama, Niyama, Asana¬†to get rid of the disorders of the mind. That’s the purpose of doing asanas.

Ishvara Pranidhanani¬†– Surrender to the Divine. Difficult for many people. When this is established, it’s Kriya Yoga. When practiced and established, you can go to Samadhi. When you surrender, nothing can hurt you. You become part of the Divine.

We think we are great and that’s why it’s difficult to surrender. The ‘I’ is always first. ¬†When the ‘I’ is greater than yoga, the problems start. We act like we are everything even if we are just a tiny dot in this universe.¬†Think someone is above us – Supreme God.

You should follow 4 things (when ready for Pranayama),¬†Yama, Niyama, Asana¬†and¬†Pranayama, then automatically the rest (of Ashtanga) will happen.¬†Dhyana¬†(meditation) – you can see people doing workshop advertizing with pictures where outside they are like Buddha, but inside the mind is running. ūüėÄ

STUDENTS’ QUESTIONS

Q1:¬† How to develop faith? When I practice at home I don’t feel so inspired. It would be nice if something happened, but don’t believe anything happens through my practice.

A: You just do your practice. Your duty is to do. Fruit will come. God gives.

By coming to Mysore makes changes in you. It’s already an effort itself. If you don’t believe in this practice, try not practicing for a month and you’d understand the value of the practice.

Q2:¬† How to maintain spirituality if you’re not spiritual?

A: You are spiritual, but you don’t know it. You have to build a correct foundation. If the foundation is not correct, also the spiritual practice will tumble.

Spirituality has nothing to do with religion. Religions started often like this. You believe someone else’s experience instead of finding it inside of yourself. Fundamentally we are spiritual. Many things disturb us so that we don’t realize that. The change that comes through yoga is that first everything seems to be outside of us and after we find everything inside.

There are yogis in all the religions as there are non-yogis in yoga.

Spirituality is like growing a flower. You need to nourish the ground and the flower will blossom. In yoga you nourish with Yama, Niyama, Asana.

When you have children, educate them to respect the mother, the father, teachers, others and you become spiritual. It’s more spiritual than going to the temple and then do bad things after.

Q3: How do you share the experience of yoga with someone who doesn’t believe in God?

A: By practice. Once people come to yoga, they’ll come to know the spirituality. At least 30%-40% of them.

Q4: Do we need to do advanced asanas to reach Moksha?

A: No. Proper understanding is needed. Advanced asanas not a guarantee. It’s more how you do your practice that counts. You can have¬†Dhyana¬†state when doing asanas. Someone can be very flexible and so can do asanas easily, but the mind is not there. It’s not yoga.

Q5: Should we count in the practice?

A: Counting is important to know the Vinyasa.

Q6: So many asanas, some are stronger than others. In Yoga Mala Guruji speaks about Sirsasana and you seem to put a lot of importance on back bending.

A: You do so much forward bends, so it’s important to compensate that.

Q7: What should be the room temperature for the practice?

A: You must do efforts in asana practice to bring sweat from inside. If the sweat comes effortlessly (heated room), no use. It only dehydrates you and makes you weak.

Q8: Can you say something about the lifestyle business?

A: People learn 15 days in teacher training and then they say: “I’m a yoga teacher.” They are spoiling yoga and the name of yoga. How many of those “teachers” are dedicated to yoga? How many of them dedicated their whole life to yoga? These people give bad fame to yoga. It’s about¬†Sa-tu-dirghakala-nairantaryasatkarasevito-drdhabhumih¬†(Patanjali Yoga Sutra I.14.). You have to practice long time without interruption and with devotion.

Some people do many workshops with different teachers and then they put this list on their website. From yoga’s point of view not good to do different workshops. Do the same thing and maintain the dignity.

Students can feel the teacher’s energy. If the foundation of the teacher is not good, whatever they teach, is not good.¬† If you don’t practice, how can you teach others?

Q9: If yoga increases sensitivity and perception, how does it not weaken oneself?

A: You have to think and find what is good for you. The strength and perception comes through practice. It’s a process. It comes by time. You will have better clarity and understanding. If it doesn’t happen, your efforts are wrong.

2013-12-21 17.10.00~ Blossoming in Mysore ~

Conference notes

NOTES FROM SHARATH’S CONFERENCE ON THE 8TH OF DEC

SWEAT

nowadays many types of yoga. in Hot yoga they make you sweat by pre-heating the room. it’s not the same sweat as in Ashtanga yoga. Hot yoga is not good. in Ashtanga sweat comes from inside through effort and hard work (tapas) and brings about light body & strong stamina.

PRANA

prana means inhale, apana means exhale.  in Ashtanga we use free breathing which means prana goes freely to the body and not only to the lungs.

there’s been a confusion with the name of the breathing that goes back 20 years.¬† somebody asked Guruji ‘is it ujjayi breathing?’¬† and Guruji replied ‘yes, yes..’ and the name remained. but¬†ujjayi pranayama¬†is a different pranayama technique. it’s like if you were breathing with a strawl and pinching it at the same time. this kind of breathing during the asana practice is dangerous.

you have to hear the sound of the breath – others don’t have to hear it.

inhale and exhale should be even.

don’t squueze the throat. breath like a cobra.

keep the mula bandha all the time.

when the prana is in balance, it’s in anahata chakra and there’s only 1 sound in the heart. that’s the divine sound.

LEARNING

today students come to see a teacher and they say: “I know. I know.” go to a teacher to learn what you don’t know. only “I don’t know” leads to learning.

STUDENTS’ QUESTIONS

Q 1: is putting music during the practice ok?

A:  mind goes to music and attention is diverted. put the attention to the asana to learn to concentrate and to learn from the asana.

Q 2:  how to get the motivation for practice?

A: motivation comes from within.

Q 3: what to do with doubts?

A: without doubts no learning. answers come sometimes by your doubts! from ajnana to jnana (from ignorance to knowledge) only by a Guru.

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Sharath and Guruji by Bill Brundell

Alex’s Bhagavad G√ģta discourses

Alex Medin is giving discourses on the Bhagavad G√ģta in his house every evening for two weeks here in Mysore.

He’s amazing. He’s a great yogi. His speech from the heart and beyond touches everybody. He’s pouring the nectar of the G√ģta on us. We are all so grateful.

This touched me today especially.¬†Alex said that our innermost essence doesn’t belong to us, but to Divinity. When we understand that and surrender to that, when we don’t want to own that part of ourselves, that’s Ishvara Pranidhana – surrendering to our own nature.

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These eyes were looking through me last week.

Narasimha on mysticism

My question to Narasimha today was about what he had said before on the differences between Hindouism and Abrahamic religions. Two things were puzzling me in this structure:

Christianity РThe God created the world and remained outside + division in Heaven and Hell vs Hindouism РThe God created the world and remained in it + division in Heaven, Hell and Liberation.

I was wondering if Narasimha had been talking theologically or experientially and if  the Christianity had the same liberation possible in terms of Mercy. I also asked if the Christ consciousness was equivalent to Atman, God inside of us.

Narasimha said that the mainstream in Christianism is very dry. Some mystics brought light to it through their experience. These mystic experiences among Christians were not in conformity with the religion and thus are not officially part of the religion.

Hindouism has a fluid structure, is very much alive and can absorb anything, like all the new achievements of the science.

Christianism  looks good, but clearly is not satisfying the need of mystic experience today. People search these mystic experiences through other religions.

Narasimha suggested that we do some research on the Christian mystics, like Teresa of √Āvila and her writings on the ascent of the soul to see if we can find similarities between Christianity and Hindouism on the experiential level.

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Photo by Minna Nuotio