Monday, January 14, 2013

my body is my bow, the asana is my arrow

Happy new year a little share.. a celebration: Sutra 4.34 "When the highest purpose of life is achieved, the three basic qualities do not excite responses in the mind. That is freedom. In other words, the Perciever is no longer coloured by the mind" Desikachar translation. The last sutra tells us when the continuous change into a state of freedom will happen. It's when we have fulfilled the highest purpose, Iyengar tells us about how the highest purpose is the four aims in life; dharma -science of duty artha -purpose and means of life kama -enjoyments of life moksa -freedom from worldly pleasures Iyengar tells us that the four chapters of the yoga sutras, reflect these four aims that we need to fulfill. I am grateful to have a course to follow. This means I need to find out what is my duty in life, what gives me sense of purpose, what I enjoy and how to be free from the attachment to pleasures, in order to lead a full life. This holiday I get to see how I have a duty to my students, to show up and give the best class I can, to prepare and take care of my family and loved ones. I feel sense of purpose when I get to help a woman asking for special help, I feel purpose when I unite with a loved one, and everything is such a fit. I get to see what I enjoy, these days it's been about seeing the horizon vaporise into the white light at sea, to see the morning light growing, sitting still in the kitchen, to feel warm and protected with my loved one and to see how much love there really is in my life. To be free, well I feel freedom from the worldly greed in eating loads of bad food these days, I feel freedom from needing to buy more or have more stuff. Of course this is also where I feel most challenged, some of my pleasures are very much things I want to hold on to. But there is progress so I'm happy. Iyengar writes; "One must learn to use the body as a bow, and asana, pranayama and dhyana as arrows to be aimed at the target -the seer or the soul." Now, these are words I can understand and relate to. I've understod these words since I was a little kid. So it's not about for example; asana, asana is the tool with which I shot and aim for my inner seer, or my greater power, and my true being. But at the same time, asana is a special arrow, that only flies far if I give it my full attention as if there was no other target at all. Kaivalya, is what the last sutra is about; complete freedom. Desikachar writes; "serenity in action and inaction.. No obligation to take responsibility or reject it" I only know this in parts of my life, only bits and parts, but these places where there is.. well a form for surrender. There is a good source to check into this for me, I have a person writing very angry e-mails to me, and I get to experience an enormous peace in being free to answer or not answer to this communication. Here ends the last sutra. With the word "iti" meaning "that is all". A great gratitude fills my heart. When I say the Patanjali mantra, I mean it from the bone-marrow and from the core of my being! Gratitude to Patanjali. I have been writing and using these sutras for four years and seven months. Now I either start a new round :-) or.. I start on the bhagavadgita. I feel a bit unsure and surprised, I just got into the habit of this. Yogena cittasya padena vacam malam sarirasya ca vaidyakena yopakarottam pravaram muninam patanjalim pranajaliranato'smi abahu purusakaram sankha cakrasi dharinam sahasra sirasam svetam pranamami patanjalim. Hare om Namasté Jenni
Second last sutra - wow amazing! And landing on my birthday (15/12), cannot imagine something better to do today (listening to fabulous music in the background) - I am grateful!!! Iyengar translation of 4.32 "As the mutations of the gunas cease to function, time, the uninterrupted movement of moments, stops. This deconstruction of the flow of time is comperhensible only at this final stage of emancipation." Time is uninterrupted succession of moments. Moments are instant. "When moments slip away from ones awareness, one lives in movements." We are striving for becoming free from the ever-changing movements and live completely in the moment. Oh Yes I like this!! Very excited about this sutra. So I get that in yoga, as in life, I get to seek the moment, the space when time stops to exist. I had a very clear sense of this space one of the last times we had pranayama with my master, we worked on antara kumbaka, I think the full pranayama session must have been over two hours, but after I told everyone I might have to leave a bit earlier from the next train in order to catch the train. But then he asked when the train left, and I told him he said, "but Jenni, this is now!". I had lost full contact to movement of time, I felt like our pranayama session had been 20 minutes or something like this. This happens often with this master. Time just ceases to exist working with this man. Iyengar writes: " When change comes, it arrives at once in a moment" even though we work on something for very long time, it always arrive in a moment. This are the moments that I sometime get so amazed. Something that seemed impossible the moment before, suddenly happens. This is also something great to experience. Change or transformation always happen or exist in the moment. It is so seductive to believe it is a movement slow and progressive. Of course it is too, but my experience is close to this sutra. It is in the moment it just suddenly have happened. So for this week; working towards the moment. Letting go of past and future. Maybe I will enjoy some more pranayama this week. Probably a good idea, since I just want to sleep and eat these days.. Namasté Jenni

Saturday, December 01, 2012

clear head and pure heart

Sutra 4.31 Iyengar translation: "Then, when the veils of impurities are removed, the highest, subjective, pure, infinite knowledge is attained, and the knowledgeable, the finite, appears as trivial." Iyengar tells me how this sutra is about the unification of the inner seer and our consciousness. This unification is what we are moving towards: "[Her] head becomes clear and [her] heart clean and pure as crystal" I hear Solomon Burk singing "always keep a diamond in your mind". Grateful. So these glimpses of absolute purity, absolutely clean in mind and focused like a ray - I am promised I can live more continuously with. In asana posture practice, this is like a lighthouse or a compass, to aim at, whatever takes me closer to this experience of purity; is the right thing to do. In teaching, I get to pass on my experience with what moves us towards this goal. I know something deep inside of me have collected every word I ever heard about how yoga can cleanse or purify us. Something deep inside me have had a berry-basket and in this basket there are asanas, techniques, experiences and words that have been clues or guidelines on this path towards this goal In life, I was given to share that we don't have to change anything before we are absolutely clear and sure (=clean and pure) we are doing the right thing, we will not stress important life choices. We will rest in knowing that we will act, and when we act, we do so because it is clear and pure in head and heart. Namasté Jenni Saunte

Monday, November 19, 2012

like a rainfall of pure clarity

"The yogi who has no interest even in the highest state of evolution, and maintains supreme attentive, discriminative awareness, attains dharma meghah samadhi: he contemplates the fragrance of virtue and justice." Iyengar translation of sutra 4.29. He writes: "consciousness is washed clean of bias, prejudice and ambition, the light of the soul dawns. This is.. the fruit of the practice of yoga." I know I should be sharing some experience with this. But today my most clear experience is to the opposition of this. I observe how bias, prejudice and ambition, fear and anger (selfishness) sweeps across my thoughts and mind this day. A lot of I want I want and I don't want, I resist, I reject.. So I get to trust, I trust Patanjalis words that this state of clarity will be given to me when I follow "the recipe" of yoga-practice. However, I do have some experience to share regarding what Iyengar writes happens after this cleansing experience. Because I have had moments of clear vision, moments of pure being. "His only ambition now is to sustain spiritual health. He has purity and clarity. His personality has been transformed. He becomes humane, universal and divine." So, first I put in a lot of "she" instead all the "he", so I more easily can relate. I find that when the only thing I try to get is spiritual health, everything else is given to me. I do have experiences of my whole personality being changed, and I have seen this in many others several times. I do find that in my path, god is in the pots and the pans, the spiritual experience can come from something very, very human, like cutting cucumber, failing repeatedly, or having no power left what so ever, and being exhausted. I experience this autumn has been one long change of perspective, proportions and personality, for me and my closest. Things that was the most important in my life, where I only could see one true right way, I suddenly feel soft and open to there might be several possible ways and paths. I appreciate the metaphor of rain in Desikachar's translation: "There arises a state of mind full of clarity concerning all things at all times. It is like a rainfall of pure clarity." I know, how the world can be all clear and sharp after a light summer rain. In the same way this looks to me, it feels to have a really good practice, like being the world a warm summer day and then the rain comes; moist and soft, light rain. Namasté Jenni Saunte

Sunday, November 18, 2012

4.28 to remove past impressions

and a salutation from november 13th... sutra 4.28 Iyengar translation: "In the same way as the sadaka strives to be free from afflictions, the yogi must handle these latent impressions judiciously to extinguish them." Iyengar makes us aware of that; when there is a gap between us and the experience of unity (between the consciousness and the seer), disharmony and disturbance can arise from past impressions. Therefor it is utmost important that we remove these past impressions. Iyengar uses the word to "extinguish them". All this to be in harmony with our inner seer. Iyengar tells us that it is through practice we remove the power from these past disturbances. When I go to practice my master tells me it is through monitor, measure and manage that I get a clear practice. Well in the asana of life this turns into: awareness, acceptance and action. So, when I get aware of an old idea that have popped up, like I suddenly get afraid that I won't succeed, When I am aware of this, I need to stay with this past idea, I need to connect to my awareness and accept that I have this old idea inside of me. In this process of awareness and acceptance, it is my experience that action grows, suddenly I know what to do and the action won't be blind fixing of discomfort, but clear experience-based action. Nice. But just like Patanjali and Iyengar tells us, it is my experience that it is very important to do it right away, not wait, not give it time to grow and create bigger disturbance. Then again, if I let it grow (as if it always is my conscious choice..) well then things turns fine in a slightly different way. What I try to write is that I don't feel like Patanjali is telling me to live a rigid life of perfidy and control issues. In yoga posture practice it reminds me about how, old ideas have been in the way for years or weeks for me. An example, that is easy to talk about, is that I for two years translated the english word "arch" of the foot, into the danish word for the "outer edge of the foot". For weeks and weeks in perfect teaching situations I got the wrong instruction because of an old idea that was very insistent.. Desikachar translates the sutra: "One must never accommodate even small errors because they are as detrimental as the five obstacles." Again I'm supported in taking this seriously and act upon this immediately. Desikachar suggest us to seek help form a teacher who can see us through. This is my experience too, it is essential to move with a guide who has done the walk himself/herself. My mind is tricky and can play games with me. When I have a teacher, a guide I trust and who has my spiritual consent to adjust and respond to me. Then I get a perspective from outside me, and suddenly I get a new dimension. (like all the 3D movies these days are contingent on our two eyes having a distance between them :-) ) It can also be one or several persons I live with, people I love and appreciate and interact with brings me the possibility of a new dimension and I am very grateful to have both these persons and also my loving guide and master with me on this journey. Inspiration for practice, to remove past impressions that cause disturbance is a Main priority. To use the three "M's" or "A's" to seek awareness, acceptance and find the appropriate action, both as a student, as a teacher and in life. This is it for now. Namasté Jenni Saunte
Forgot to post, from 1. november.. :-) When we found a state of clarity, are we then beyond regression? "In the unlikely possibility of distraction from this aim, disturbing past impressions are able to surface." (Desikachar translation sutra 4.27) "Since our actions are influenced by such impressions, regression.. is still possible." 4.27, Iyengar translation: "Notwithstanding this progress, if one is careless during this interval, a fissure arises due to past impressions, creating a division between the consciousness and the seer." One of Iyengars comments; "The force of past impressions may create loopholes.. which.. disturb the harmony and serenity of oneness between the consciousness and the seer." Iyengar also gives us Patanjalis answer to what to do with these fissures - "The uninterrupted practice of yoga unconditionally vanquishes these fissures" Ok, I want to apply this to a relationship I have. In yoga we learn a linking and connecting practice, to move towards a state of yoga, a state of unity or being complete. Yoga is both the goal for the practice in form of this state and it is the movement towards this state (maybe the goal is hidden in this very movement). I think this person is sent to me in the yoga-practice of life, to get to experience this state of being complete and in inner unity (getting in contact with sides of myself through this person). So far I mainly experience the movement towards the staste, but I also experience total unity or just being in peace with me through being with this person. So this could be expressed like a rhythm or a wave-like motion (unity-separation). Applying this sutra; it is in between the experiences of unity, that my forceful past impression can come in between us, and since my past impressions influence my actions, they can create a fissure between me and my higher unity with this person. Applying also the answer of Iyengar; it is by involving in the practice of yoga (our connecting actions, the movement towards our unity) that this fissures vanquishes. Can I relate to this? Yes. It is my experience, that if I focus on the fissure - it grows. For me it works to be aware of it, to tell you all about it, to accept this impressions are there, to care for them and the hurting part of me they affected, and then take action towards moving on towards our unity in some specific way that make sense this day. In yoga I also relate, I just found a new pattern, when a teacher tells me that I should be doing something else that what I am currently able to do. I actually in my mind judge them as incompetent :-) and being wrong! Because if they were right I would be able to just do it. This happened the first time when I met my master, I told him that he was teaching it the wrong way, and that it was impossible to do some of the things, I now enjoy on a daily basis. But you see, as I move in more trust to this tradition I am a part of, these impulses only happen when there is a longer pause, for example if everyone is doing something for a long time I cannot do, or if I am used as a bad example in a long time (more than 20 minutes of a class), my focus on my own practice is interrupted, and in this interruption this past impressions turns into an action (a defense of thoughts) and these actions just... well they can absolutely disturb progression. But I have a new experience with this as well, so I was used as the bad example of how a bad back bends not should look like, my thoughts.-based on past impressions- starts to work up a defense, this defense makes it impossible for me to accept their suggestions, it only makes argumentation and position of fight possible. Suddenly I just found myself observing this.. and starting to try some of their suggestions anyway, in the asana. I almost started to laugh remembering how this is my pattern. I was set free. But the argumentation (the fissure) that had awaken was very seducing, so I have to explore if it is true. I am free to do this, because I now don't have to fight with my teachers suggestions I accept and love them and try them. And I do a small Jenni-research if there is any truth in my own inner argumentation. Namasté Jenni Saunte

Being free we gravitate towards our inner seer.

From 22nd of October - sorry I forgot to post! Sutra 4.26 Desikachar translation: a person with extraordinary clarity, "their clarity takes them to their only concern - to reach and remain in a state of freedom." So, I can use this sutra as a checking point. The question: "am I in clarity?" could be asked like this: "am I moving and focused to reach and remain in a state of freedom?". Every time I feel free, I get an urge to always be free like this. It is the most precious experience I know. I guess I feel close to everyone when I am free. It is surely interesting, how close freedom can bring us, and how isolated dependence, control or bondage can make us. The saying "holding on to love is like holding on to water, you need to keep an open hand" kind of goes for freedom as well. This sutra inspires me to explore all asana and pranayama that brings me to this clear state, some does it more than others, for me. It inspires me to search for this sensation of being free in all I do, even work, in such a busy week like this one. Even in relations where I might feel not worthy, or not good enough.. Well, these are very limiting feelings, this sutra engages me in a search for freedom and clarity also here. I like that Iyengar brings attention to the word "gravitation" in this sutra. It is very useful for me, it is a concrete sensation I can relate to, in every movement I do. I love that "gravitation" describes how we in clarity moves towards our center, our inner seer. Being free we gravitate towards our inner seer. Amazing! When I took sutra-philosophy classes, the teacher told us about dreams. One thing I remember, that relates to this sutra, is; the more content, centered and free we are, the more important will our dreams be. The more distressed, upset and out of balance we are, the less attention do we need to give our dreams. In the light of this sutra, this could go for everything in life, when centered and balanced, all I unfold, all my thoughts and actions will be expressions of my inner most self. When upset and out of balance, what I unfold is just not that important, it is a detour, but a state that needs compassion and contribution. In asana, when out of balance, I need to do whatever to get stable again. Well when in life, out of balance, serenity first. Busy week, but serenity first. Namasté

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

”For one who realizes the distinction between citta and atma, the sense of separation between the two disappears.” 4.25 Iyengar translation. Iyengar gives us a clue, so we know the sign of arriving here, our consciousness will realize it is not all-knowing but an instrument for the soul. Beautiful. Maybe this state can come and go? Maybe we can realize this with our consciousness to then loose it again in the whirls of life (and rebuilding of ego)? Anyway, Iyengar and Patanjali gives us some promises in this sutra. Yogapractice will bring us to this state. All moods and modes ending. Precious neutral state. But not a state that excludes our humanity, not a state that takes us from nature (citta) to the soul (citi) but all differences, or all distance dissolves and there is unity, or the unity becomes clear. Desikachar writes about how the end of curiosity comes, when we have met our true nature. We will not be wondering ”where am I?” ”who am I?” and ”What will I be?”. These questions are products of obstacles, and when we have felt our true nature, we get set free from this type of obstacles. In personal practice and in teaching it guides me to move towards sukha, ease, and inclusion or integration. When I find the limitation for me, in an asana, to care for this and explore it, instead of fighting with it and demanding reality different. My master never forced anything out of me. On the opposite he always left it for time and practice to come. My headstand have been really hard for me for years, of course I've been taught again and again how to improve it but not once pushed to be able to do it differently or longer.. When I started to work with him my spine had too big curvatures. I worried because I could see I was not straight when I asked I was told to give my back time it would come. Sometimes I have to choose to work on my shoulders and chest or on my hips and lower back, since I cannot both at the same time. I'm told just to explore and over time work on both. I find this aligned with this sutra because it brings me to a state where my humanity, my limitations are included and I do feel ease and unity between the direction of where I'm moving towards and the position I'm at now. I also experience this happening slowly when I teach, I'm starting to teach more in trust that yoga will do it for the student and I'm just a tool helping them at a short point. I'm not there to change or fix, just to assist whatever process, I can tell, they are in. For example, I sometimes see that a problem I've addressed keeps coming back. Well I don't give them the same adjustment or talk every time (unless it's dangerous) sometime I just let them be and see what happens. It is interesting to see how it changes over time, especially for the students that have a home practice. Namasté Jenni Saunte

Monday, October 08, 2012

detatchment and freedom

Sutra 4.24 "Though the fabric of consciousness is interwoven with innumerable desires and subconscious impressions, it exists for the seer on account of its proximity to the seer as well as to the objective world." (Iyengar translation) So, my consciousness is not only tied to all my likes and dislikes (to nature), because this I can see, my state of consciousness affects how I experience the world, and my experiences affects the state of my consciousness. But it is also tied to my inner seer (to spirit). When my consciousness is filled up with nature, it is filled up with longing for pleasures, the inner seer is not interested in dualities regarding pleasures. When we get to know our inner reality through practice of yoga, consciousness is transformed into serving the inner seer with detachment. How can I relate. Well right now it strikes me to be a guideline to search and experience detachment and freedom. This is very welcomed focus! In my own practice as showing up on the mat including whatever. Holding asanas and experience all feelings and impressions that comes along. But maybe also the opposite, to experience freedom from trying to practice with control and a stiff mind. Today I am tired, and today I did take a class. So I will leave it at this, and not pressure more out of this fine body. When I teach, this sutra guides me to do my best in the teaching situation, give it all away and then leave it and walk on, move and not carry what happened with me. Free hands, no luggage. It also inspires me to relate to having this consciousness interwoven with desires and resentments, and take it all in as part of practicing yoga, make it clear this is part of the path, we are not meant to be Buddha-calm when we start, just like we don't have to be flexible to practice yoga. This is as good as it gets today. Namasté Jenni

Sunday, September 30, 2012

towards meditation and stillness

sutra 4.23 "Consciousness, reflected by the seer as well as by the seen, appears to be all-comprehending." So first of all I need to pass on an instruction, Iyengar tells us it makes sense to read sutra 4.22-25 as a group. So I did. I hope you will too, because they really are very sense-making as a group. The very first two sentences makes me stop and think. 1. "Consciousness, being in conjunction both with the seer and the seen, appears to an average individual to be all-pervading, omniscient and real." The state of all-pervasion is the best I ever felt, when everything makes sense and everything fits and my sight is completely clear - I feel so blessed like and enormous expansion. This just explains my great need to experience a "shared reality" with other people. When I feel like we're on different pages or I feel like I don't understand or they don't understand, I feel a longing for a shared reality. On the other hand, when I meet someone who I just have a level of intuitive understanding and someone I share a common experience of the world with, I easily feel a spiritual expansion, like my limits just dissolve and the "I" becomes unimportant and something bigger arises.. Hard to explain. I am landing at this place of "it all comes together" again :-) 2. "When one is cultured and purified, one realizes that consciousness has no existence of its own but is dependent on the seer." So we're on a journey to become more real. Instead of identifying with the ego or the consciousness we are on a journey to get to know something more real, more stable, more authentic. But as a loved one pointed out, it is not a journey that takes distance from or leaves ego and human desires and fear behind, it is a journey that is all-inclusive. In these days I find that I have very few words to pass on my experience or my knowledge, I am at a place where I thrive being a beginner and a novice. I am the most loved and contributing novice I've ever been :-) and I love being new and I feel loved being new.. Iyengar explains the relation between consciousness, nature and soul. It reminds me of an explanation a loved one told me about how ego, self and soul are related, just different use of concepts. See, I'm used to that the different teachers my greater power sends me, uses different words or concepts. The important thing for me, is the usability of what I understand, I seem to be done with trying to compare or try to find out who is right... In this field at least :-) I just see connections and contributions. I sense what is most close to my inner truth and most useful to bring light to the puzzle of my life. Anyway, Iyengar tells me that the consciousness is the bridge between the nature (our changing, limited and pluralized human existences) and soul (free from influence, the seer, changeless). The purification process is one that takes the consciousness from being disturbed/identified with (reflecting)all it sees and senses, to being identified with (reflect)the inner seer. Iyengar uses the picture of a stormy water, where the waves are identifying as single waves, but when the storm is gone, the pure nature of sea unfolds as one big being, without the nature of waves or motion ever was wrong or should be judged.. They just were, and now they are still in a new clear, pure form. This sutra means a lot to me. I hear my yoga-masters words so clearly in Patanjalis words. This is what I hear him tell me again and again. I feel a movement towards meditation and stillness. I feel a movement to live in and to express the truth of my heart. I am so in love, in love with it all. It is overwhelming. Namastè jenni

Friday, September 28, 2012

how to be more fully everything

Sutra 4.22 opening up here, together with you. "Through accomplishment of pure consciousness comes knowledge of the unchangeable seer who rests on his own intelligence and nowhere else." (Iyengar translation) Iyengar describes how consciousness has two facets, one is pure and divine -our sacred heart, the other is changeable and transient (love this word). I love that he tells us that when we rest in our heart, we will hear the inner voice and intuitively understand, this is my experience. I have always loved to walk by the water, to see the unending movement of the waves, Iyengar tells us this is when the two facets of consciousness comes together, the "probe" consciousness that gather informations of an external world, and the unchangeable consciousness that is a reflection of the inner seer. I think sometimes I can watch the dishes, and dirt grow, and gets done, grow again and gets done.. just like these waves that rise, crest and falls.. these are happy domestic moments where Jennis consciousness cooperates both with my inner seer and external domestic, profane life. In the same way I am sometimes set free from my relations and can look at them from a different perspective and get to see how they... breathe, rise - intensifies, crest and fall - moderate, just to rise again.. I feel very free when I get to see this movement anywhere in life. Desikachar relates this sutra to the sutra 3.55, this explains it to me; "Freedom is when the mind has complete identity with the perceiver." I can relate to this idea with some experience. When reading this I thought I am going to search for clarity this week, to be as close to my inner seer as ever possible. Well, my first action, became unexpectedly strange.. When I apply the wisdom of this sutra to my current relations and practice. I get to stay close to inner seer and reality, as clearly as ever possible. I am moved to tell my students about what I see in their practice and in their bodies, I catch myself touching different parts of the spine on different students, to tell them; "this is your challenge - get to know it". In life, I am moved to unfold transparency, so that people surrounding me know who I am. This sutra also tells me to be fully and honestly with all I interact with. To not hide, escape, avoid, but try to let my family and friends know me as I am - all of me. I take the journey from the head to the heart to get to know my own inner truth more fully. Only when doing this I can let them know me as I really am, only doing this, I can be theirs without games, fears and roles. When my inner seer can shine through me, this is the most I ever can give you. So I guess this sutra tells me how to be more fully everything, including yours. Namasté Jenni

Sunday, September 16, 2012

the heart, from where my true being expands

Sutra 4.21 Iyengar translation "If consciousness were manifold in one's being, each cognizing the other, the intelligence too would be manifold, so the projections of mind would be many, each having its own memory." Iyengar uses his comment to describe how plurality would lead to madness and confusion. But then he describes how the experience we have of plurality arises from our scattered consciousness of pleasure seeking and pain avoidance. Our consciousness is one, like the trunk of a tree, and then it branches out. The branches of the tree we sometimes talk about as; vrittis and the klesas. The branches of the tree of consciousness is our head and the trunk of the tree is our spiritual heart. You need to go get the book :-) I can in no way make justice to this great, short writing about these philosophical ideas. Sometimes I've arrived at a place, in life, where I reached a bottom. I have no energy left to keep on trying to avoid or pursue a "branch" of my tree. For an example; I have tried to be in a relationship where I suddenly were just done. I could not keep on. I needed space and time to find myself and my quite inner seer. This relates especially to the last paragraph of Iyengar: "After experiencing a variety of pain and pleasure, the secondary consciousness changes it's modes, identifies its true nature, reconsiders and returns to rest on its source of mind. This return of consciousness from the seat of the head to the seat of the spiritual heart is purity of consciousness, divya citta. This is yoga." For me, I sometime experience that when I stop trying to fix things, they just get aligned in a way that makes everything a bit more easy and.. still. This sutra inspires me to work with this journey and with silence. Silence not only as "no sound" but also silence as stillness, no motion, no thought, no agenda. In every practice I, in some way, take the path from the head to the heart. It starts with bowing my head down after singing the invocation to Lord Patanjali. And it ends with the contact to the heart in the bow saluting the sacred heart, with gratitude in the end of class. I believe all love sent to me, any day! is to remind me of the seat of the heart, from where my true being expands. I have a clear personal vision for what my path from the head to the heart contains in these months. Do you know yours? Today I had planned a class with pranayama, and restorative yoga. But there were so many new students (most) so I changed my plan. Instead we did more active and introducing yoga-work. But, we still had this fine contact to silence - I enjoyed this a lot! Namasté Jenni Saunte

Friday, September 07, 2012

the seer and itself

Sutra 4.20 "Consciousness cannot comprehend both the seer and itself at the same time." (Iyengar translation) And Desikachar adds: "An object existing independently of an observer can be perceived." This is the short form, where a great deal of western philosophy is just put to rest. I read it like there is a reality also outside the small "I". The two states of perceiving and fabricating cannot exist simultaneously, for consciousness. I relate to this with some experience. Two different states, like fabricating and perceiving or restlessness and restfulness -cannot exist at the same time IF I am identifying with the mind/consciousness (depending on which translation I use) - but when I am identifying with the inner seer, I often can experience to have several different states going on at the same time. I can for example feel both happy in love, worried and overwhelmed, in complete trust and at peace with it all at the same time. Without any problem. How does this guide me as a teacher and in my daily practice... I guess it supports me in helping the students move deeper inside, to get to be more free and able to observe what really is (and is not - thank you). I think I am still working on stability, and this relates to this sutra, because stability helps me (us) to observe more clearly what is going on. There is also always a sense of center in stability, and this center resonates with the inner seer, for me. Namasté Jenni Saunte

Thursday, July 26, 2012

keep supporting the observing process

Sutra 4.19 "Consciousness cannot illuminate itself as it is a knowable object." Iyengar translation. (All translations I use agree.) Iyengar explains the relationship between our inner seer and our consciousness as being similar to the sun and the moon. Our inner seer has light of it's own and when our consciousness is close to the inner seer it reflects this light more strong, like the moon reflects the light of the sun. I can relate to this when I think of how much my state of consciousness is a part of me sensing the world. Yoga gives me the possibility to observe in what state my consciousness is. Yoga have given me the experience to observe this state, and sometimes "observing" sets me free from the state. This is great. In personal practice this is brought to me when I suddenly have kept showing up on my mat in all kind of moods (states of consciousness) and I get to see that the state effect my practice and what I sense, is observable. It inspires me to keep showing up on the mat. In teaching it inspires to keep supporting the observing process in every student, in every asana. Namasté Jenni

Sunday, April 29, 2012

"Mental activities are always known to the perceiver which is non-changing and the master of the mind" Desikachar translation 4.18. The mind cannot function without the power of the Perceiver. I guess this is good news. That the stable is driving, or empowering the unstable. "Purusa is ever illuminative and changeless. Being constant and the master of the mind, she always knows the moods and modes of consciousness." Iynegar translation of sutra 4.18 So, this is what I understand. I do not only get to perceive more clearly, but I also get to perceive what in me is perceiving and in what state this observing position is. In yoga I get this great promise, that I will get to know and experience this stable and constant master deep within. I'm showing up, doing my daily in this way this week. This is as good as it gets today. I relate to this from my practice, when it's stable I get to know the consistent force within. In asana, when I got in there and all parts get together. The I get to experience another sense of stillness and stability. In class we worked on openess, in shoulders, chest, groins and hips. In my personal practice I'm doing a lot of navasanas to work on my stability. I'm currently doing some sunsalutations to wake up (been tired a lot). Namasté Jenni Saunte

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

existance of a greater reality 4.16 and 4.17

an object exists independent of its cognizance by any one consciousness. What happens to it when that consciousness is not there to perceive it?
an object remains known or unknown according to the conditioning or expectation of the consciousness

if the object were indeed the conception of a particular individuals mind, then in the absence of her perception, would it exist?
Weather an object is perceived or not depends on its accessibility as well as the individuals motivation.

Trying to keep it simple here.
Desikachar supports my view that there is a greater reality that exists independent of me as an observer. I'm motivated by many different things, and if my motivation for doing yoga is to get more strong or flexible, then this is what I will get. But it doesn't mean that this is all I can get. My master tells me to look deeper and ask for more (well he didn't say to ask for more, he just told us there was more, and this inspires me to search for more).

In supta swastikasana I'm told, that it most certainly can be about stretching the groins or about staying alert, but there is more, much more to find. And this is just one example - there are so many treasures to find.
So this inspires me to go for the subtle. To examine the neutral observer position.
Jenni Saunte

Sunday, March 11, 2012

finding stability, balance and neutrality

Sutra 4.15; Desikachar translation: "The characteristics of an object appear differently, depending on the different mental state of the observer."

I can relate to this in several different ways :-) For example when me and my sister discus things that happened when we were kids, we often have very different ideas of what happened, we have been in the same situation but our stories couldn't differ more. But I also recognize this in me myself. A situation can appear clearly hopeless in the evening and when I wake up the next day it seems like nothing and no problem at all.

So in asana practice this brings me to observe the mental state, that I'm practicing with, the glasses of the day, just to see through which filter am I experiencing the asana today. But it also means that I need to stay in the here and now. My teachers have from the first day I came into a yoga room, banned the words "I cannot..." and "I will never...". They've told me it's ok to not do an asana or an suggestion today, but leave it here and see what happens tomorrow; tomorrow.

A loved person in my life told me he couldn't enjoy the beauty of Grand Canyon, because his mental state were obscure from having an argument with his girlfriend. I guess that's why so much in yoga is about finding stability, balance and neutrality, so that we can experience the reality and not just our minds stories about reality.

Jenni Saunte

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

move towards my center

Here I am :-)

4.14 Iyengar translation: "Unity in the mutation of time caused by the abiding qualities of nature, sattva, rajas and tamas, causes modifications in objects, but their unique essence, or reality, does not change."

Where I'm at, right now, this means: time and whether nature in me is active or passive, heavy or light, in clarity or unclear... hmm all of this creates the characteristics of me, my character.. - it can change, but not my true being. My inner reality does not change.

Iyengar writes: "This sutra is a good guide for us. In our practice of asana and pranayama, we are the subjects, the performers. The different asanas and pranayamas are the objects we try to perceive grasp their true essence... Patanjali says that dualities disappear when asana is preformed perfectly.. when subject and object emerge into one."
I know this. I have experience of moments in time, when I was not doing the asana, neither was I the one observing the asana doing me. Just a nothingness, where there is ease and truism (a bit uncertain of this word in English) no arguments about anything..

So, mind and characteristics of matter is bound to time and nature (i.e. the gunas) and are changing, but through yoga we can come to see the essence, the unchangeable kernel of everything. This tells me that when I'm unstable; to go for the kernel - not the opposition. For example, when "too lazy", not to go for "excited", but to move towards "awake" or "alert". When I haven't done any of the things on my "to do list", not to go for doing it all at once, but maybe start with one and see what happens. In asana practice, when I face an obstacle; like hips that will not open, or shoulders that are too weak :-) well, not to do 5000 hip-openers that day or loads of shoulder work at once. But to move towards embracing this fact and see where in my practice this already is taken care of and build upon this place..

In life, it tells me that the solution to being afraid or anxious, is not to do major brave things, the answer is still; to move towards my center, my inner reality and the outer reality will get balanced.
As a teacher and a practitioner, it inspires me to go deeper and to make time and space to connect to the inner reality in every asana.

Jenni Saunte

Friday, February 10, 2012

heavy-light, active-passive, clear-unclear

Iyengar translation: 4.13 "The three phases of time [past, future and present] intermingle rhythmically and interweave with the qualities of nature [sattva, rajas and tamas]. They change the composition of nature's properties into gross and subtle."

At the first look at this sutra I'm both a "Yes" but also a "blank". In the last ten years I've got a new childhood, and as I recall; I also got a new childhood when I was 22. It's a bit long to write about, but my past can change, and this experience is what positions me into a "yes" -place. The past is interwoven into the now and rhythmically changing. But when I try to see what the consequence is, I get into to the "blank" spot. Here Iyengar helps, he writes: "The effects of our actions of yesterday are the cause of today's; and the experience of our actions today becomes the seed of our actions tomorrow."
This is what my yoga-master told me this summer and again some weeks ago.. to reach my goal I need to change course here and now, not in a great statement kind of way, but just a slight change, so that the cells and the neural pass-ways gets reprogrammed so something new can happen. So they start remembering and passing on success instead of old failure. This is also to long to write shortly about, but it makes sense to me -haha so you just have to fill out your blanks in a way that it all makes sense to you too.
The composition of nature, is often called the gunas, Desikachar translates the three gunas into; heaviness, activity and clarity. All apparent characteristics are different combination of these three basic qualities.
This is where I'm at this week with these qualities: 1. I'm heavy, tired and sleepy. 2. In every day I go from something close to extremes with dullness to hyperactive back to dullness again. 3. In the beginning of the week there was a lot of unclarity, but during the week I have through contact found stability again and now it all seems pretty clear again - So I'm happy.
My this is a meditation point for this weeks teaching, to check if we're heavy-light, active-passive, clear-unclear.
Yes this is good.

Monday, January 30, 2012

clear, clean and free...

Sutra 4.12
"The existence of the past and the future is as real as that of the present. As moments roll into movements which have yet to appear as the future, the quality of knowledge in one's intellect and consciousness is affected." (Iyengar translation)
So the "past and future are woven into the present". This I can relate to. They are real, but they are real now, not at another time. Everything that happens or have happened is here and now as a form of a dormant state.
Iyengar writes that "The understanding of time, releases one from bondage", and when I go along with this suggestion; that past and future only have existence in the now, I'm free to have an other childhood, past experience or future at any given moment. I consider this one expression of ultimate freedom.

Time has both positive and negative effects. It can allow development or acquisition of knowledge to take place, a broadening of the horizon. But intellectually it can be used as a story of being robbed of spiritual knowledge and time can be used to position us into pride (asmita). Emotionally it can create attachments to pleasure and aversion to pain, and instinctively it can bring us a clinging desire to live.
Iyengar writes that this sutra gives us the promise that we can be set free from this and rest in the present and become "clear of head, clean of heart and free from time".

It inspires me to work with the "set a side - prayer" (great reality, let me set aside everything I think I know, so that I may have an open mind and a new experience)and searching for a new experience with an open mind in every asana and every class.
It inspires to explore being new, because in being new, however frustrating this is for the pride-position :-) it's the most clear, clean and free I know right now.
Jenni Saunte

Sunday, January 15, 2012

into an other dimension

Iyengar translation of sutra 4.11:
"Impressions and desires are bound together by their dependence upon cause and effect. In the absence of the latter, the former ceases to function."

This reminds me of Van Morrison singing "it's not why, why, why - it just is", (yes I've quoted this before, but it's a personally important wording of an experience for me). So when the "why" disappears the effect disappears too!!! This is my experience.
When the story of why I'm being mad/angry/sad/victim... disappears, the state of being ... also disappears. (I can't help all the exclamation marks, this is personal strong spark - propelling forward in a divine direction.)
The stories are ego-stories, built to be limited and thereby destroyed. The new direction that builds within is a divine direction that has no cause and no effect in jenni-words. It just is. As I told you - I've been asked to notice what is and what is not. Well this is one of the "is's" :-)

I know I'm fortunate, because I've been given back to life, from an experience of dying, so I don't have to use my intellect to decide whether there is a greater power or not, that can release me from the chain of cause and effect.
I'm one who can use the path that includes help from God; Desikachar writes "There are many ways, including the help given by God." But he also states that the atheist who cannot use God for help, can find help in the first three chapters of the yoga sutra.

In yoga asana work, I also have stories about why I can or cannot do certain things.
I know that; even though I might not be able to do a specific asana from one day to the other (even if this sometimes happens), I can get set free from the story of "not being able because...". This makes me absolutely present in the moment. When the stories of "why I cannot do a certain thing", lets go, then I can do/act/be at the place I'm really at right now.

Relating to the last weeks sutras, it's about being set free from dualities, or polarities. About moving from "good and bad" into an other dimension of actions that are "pure" or "something else". I find help in a greater power here, I put the judgment over in the hands of great reality, and thereby I'm set free from the judging position. In the yamas and the niyamas, we're asked to do a daily inventory of our conduct and life. I find that this inventory practice brings me into this "other dimension", this is such a paradox! By judging my day, reviewing it, evaluating or inventorying it - all judgment ends.

Jenni Saunte

Sunday, January 08, 2012

longing for imortality

Both Iyengar and Desikachar gives me a cosmogony, when they unfold their understanding of this sutra. I get to read about a world view that describes how we humans came about and were... put together..

Here is the sutra 4.10, in Iyengar's translation:
"These impressions, memories and desires have existed eternally, as the desire to live is eternal."

Desikachar writes that this eternal desire to live is "what inspires the instinct for self preservation in all of us" . Just like our eternal longing for immortality, so is the memories and our desires eternal.
Since there is something destructive in the urges that are built upon these impressions and memories, I relate to this sutra by my life experience. I have both the destructive and the constructive powers in me. Iyengar writes about how yoga can set us free from oppositions (black and white actions) polarities of pleasure and pain. Hereby we will not be driven by past memories and the fears and desires they lead to and we will get free from experiencing joy and sorrow. Maybe destruction and construction end here, like time ends here?
Ok, I'm gonna let me go there :-) maybe the circle of destruction - construction - or karma, if you want - gets so close that we suddenly cannot see a beginning or an end and suddenly there is no time any longer, the autumns chestnut falling of the tree is the birth of spring.

This is a great meditation, to try to rest in the pause between breathing in and breathing out, to try to find the exact moment where one breath is transformed into the other. Impossible and great meditation.
I also love the meditation to experience breath as a giving and a receiving. As soon as I think I've got it figured out (for example; "inhalation is giving") it turns up side down and into it's opposition.

Ok, this sutra inspires me to search for freedom from being driven by "wants" and "fears" in asana work, to go for neutrality. But it also inspires to work with whatever brings vitality to me and pass this on. Right now it's to work with chest full and abdomen hollow. Rotations and chest openers brings vitality to me, so this is a focal point.

Happy new(?) year :-)
Jenni Saunte

Thursday, December 22, 2011

continuous process

sutra 4.9
Desikachar translation: "Memory and latent impressions are strongly linked. This link remains even if there is an interval of time, place or context between similar actions."

Iyengar translation:
"Life is a continuous process, even though it is demarcated by race, place and time. Due to the uninterrupted close relationship between memory and subliminal impressions, the fruits of actions remain intact from one life to the next, as if there were no separation between births."

Iyengar tells that the theory of karma is explained to the sadhaka to inspire movement towards non-white and non-black actions. Since these desireless actions makes it possible to explore "the kingdom of the soul".
In my world this turns into; as Jenni is not driven by fears and/or wants, I get free to see what actually is and relate to reality more intensely and become.... more real :-) In asana words; when Jenni don't avoid an asana because I'm afraid what I might meet in me in this challenge and/or when Jenni don't do the asana to show off (to get your approval) -then I'm free to see what this asana really brings me. What really is there, and connect with this. NICE.

My master has told me to let go of this intense judgment, I have, of my lack of strength. I face it in some asanas (for example the virabhadrasanas). Instead he tells me to do less, either fewer of them or shorter time, so that I can experience ability (instead of failure) and work from this point. So the next time I go to these poses, my memory is not a failure, but a stable starting point. My possibility to start up new from where I'm really at.
Love and light - in the darkest day of the year..
Jenni Saunte

Monday, December 12, 2011

Iyengar translation of sutra 4.8:
"These three types of actions leave impressions which becomes manifest when conditions are favourable and ripe."
He writes that we have four types of actions, the first three leaves impression and memory, that builds a base for desires or disturbance (such as anger, lust, greed, infatuation, pride and envy). The desires and disturbances can rise right a way, but they can also become dormant.
But Patanjali describes a way out; even when in desire or in disturbance, if we turn our consciousness towards the inner seer, through the path of yoga, we can practice the fourth type of action that have no desire and no disturbance.

I relate to this through the instruction to recreate serenity in the inner environment by softening the face, throat and abdomen, and letting breath be smooth and even. To stabilize the mind and be able to see more clearly, more neutral again.
I also relate this to one of the good things by showing up and taking classes. Just follow the lead of a teacher, sometimes this brings me more neutrality from my disturbances about wants and don't wants. (sometimes not)
At least I do what I don't want in a class situation - at home I sometime just skip the annoying or provoking asanas:-) that might be good for me.

I know this in getting over grave challenges- it all (old crap)surfaces again (have tried so many therapeutic and self-help techniques), unless I give it to great reality (path of yoga).

So my guideline is to show up and go for neutrality, soften face abdomen and throat and smooth even breath.

Friday, December 09, 2011

A yogi's action are neither white nor black

"A yogi's action are neither white nor black. The actions of others are of three kinds, white, black and grey." (Iyengar translation of sutra 4.7)
Iyengar points out that "The unmixed action of the yogi are beyond sattva, rajas and tamas. They produce no positive or negative reactions in the consciousness and hence are free from duality". I get to be the one to see how duality expresses it self in yoga sometimes, and I'm Not attracted to it (this and this teacher say so and so,,, and this and that is right and wrong). It is really uncomfortable to sit in - so I move along. And feel release. I guess this is being safe and sound and not be part of the duality game (this time).

Desikachar points out that the "state of yoga" can lead us to "the highest state of clarity and detachment [we] can be beyond motivation" . I remember the first time I heard the stories of Mahabharata (11 years old) the meeting between Arjuna (my personal hero) and Krishna, made a lifelong impression on me. This is where Krishna tells Arjuna to be a warrior and go into battle, not to win, not to loose, not because of right or wrong, but just because this is what he is, and I think the word duty was used :-) and I could just return to this moment again and again. Today it connects to the thinking of "what's true will last" to me it's an encouragement to be what I am (it's a really smart shortcut to reality).

First thing I think, when I read the sutra is; this is an instrument to measure "what is and what is not"- yogic. If my action is neutral and undisturbed, it's probably part of living the yoga-state.
So in my asana work; if I'm undisturbed (this doesn't necessarily mean not shaking or not sweating), and not in judgment of my asana, just being and experiencing, well then it IS yoga. If I'm in judgment (comparing me to the others, or showing off or being ashamed) -then the yoga-state IS NOT.
My master just thought me that it's not about good or bad, or right or wrong, it just IS or it just IS NOT :-) so I'm complying to this suggestion.

My experience can only confirm this sutra is. And just as I wrote last week, I still long for more neutrality. Neutrality feels like heaven.

In my personal practice neutrality is often a part. I almost always feel more neutral and free when alone with asana than in a group setting. With my master the neutral yoga-state almost always is a part. When neutrality-blessing is there, I usually don't even think about it. I show up in my warm, tight woolen underwear, that really don't suit me :-) but it's easy, I live spiritual consent with my master to adjust whatever I do on my mat, so he better be able to see what's going on, and I need something warm, so... wool :-)
Last time I really could feel I lost the "state" was in Stavanger, where I just got so tired of being weak. All my expression, work and mind got unstable, by judging me as weak. It's non of my business and I get free by remaining neutral.

In the beginning (some ten years ago) I was very picky on who did what and how, but today this neutrality is more extended, sometimes things happens (body-adjustments), change appears over time, instead of trying to pull every little bit out this one class, I can see is this an expression for how this student shape is today or is it a part of a development, a change. It also works much better for me to welcome people that are late than to yell or ban them - I know most yoga-teachers do the opposite, it just is Not efficient in my experience.
In my personal practice my effort is neither black nor white but I get to be stable, by showing up on a daily basis, I get to have a daily practice by showing up every day. I get to be loving by loving my practice unfolding. I get to be amending and caring, by showing up in my practice. So, sure all three gunas are there at times, off course I'm sometime overly excited, sometime lazy (often) and sometime balanced and harmonious - but just by showing up - I'm blessed and grateful.